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Integrating Lighting and Building Control
by Craig DiLouie
Building automation systems (BAS) provide automatic
control of electrical loads, such as HVAC, lighting and electric motors, and
functions not related to energy management, such as security and fire safety
systems. Energy management systems (EMS) provide automatic control of electrical
loads to manage energy consumption either as a stand-alone system or as part of
While EMS may be capable of provide automatic switching of large blocks of lighting loads, only a fraction of installed EMS actually control lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (2003). EMS that control HVAC are installed in about 5.6% of commercial buildings representing 24% of commercial floorspace—most commonly >100,000 sq.ft. office and education buildings—while EMS that control lighting are installed in 1.3% of buildings covering 7.4% of floorspace.
One reason for this may be traditional fragmentation of the construction process, with lighting control specified by electrical engineers (Division 16) separately from EMS specified by mechanical engineers (Division 15). But this is changing due to rising energy costs and the proliferation of energy codes requiring that interior lighting be turned off when it’s not being used.
When designing a new building, the are basically two choices:
• specify lighting, HVAC and other systems as stand-alone control systems; or
• specify a single whole-building system that provides all desired functionality.
The whole-building approach has a distinct advantage in that the building operator theoretically can control the entire building’s electrical loads from a single workstation, and not have to learn and use multiple software programs.
Prepared for Lighting Controls Association
Lighting Controls Association : Your Lighting
The Lighting Controls Association (LCA), administered by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), is the association dedicated to educating the professional building design, construction and management communities about the benefits and operation of automatic switching and dimming controls. These benefits include energy savings, flexibility and higher-quality building environments.
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