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Integrated lighting control allows a building to take advantage of all possible lighting strategies.

Gina Elliott
Smart Buildings

Article as published
Smart Buildings News
February Issue

In the old days, lighting in buildings was limited to manually controlled on/off switching and if more advanced, a timed on/off switch. If a light burned out, facility managers waited for someone to report it. If a space or light were inefficient, there was no way to know. To determine usage, you read the meter for that building or that floor once a month. If a space remained unoccupied but the lights stayed on, there was no notification or automatic shut off and the energy usage continued. Tenants had less control of their lighting. Building owners had very little control of energy usage. Integrated Lighting Control (ILC) changed all that.

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Integrated lighting control allows a building to take advantage of all possible lighting strategies. These control strategies include occupancy control, scheduling, task tuning, personal control, daylight harvesting, variable load shedding, and demand response. ILC also provides real-time reporting, notification, and administration of the lighting controls. Although the advantage of improved functionality and management is one proponent of ILC, the most important aspect is the lucrative energy efficiencies and savings.

Integrated lighting control

Benefits of Lighting Control

Lighting is a key to the productive environment of a building, and building safety and aesthetics. It is also a significant part of the building's energy consumption and cost. Here are some additional ways a building should choose ILC:

Ability to adapt lighting for multiple uses of a space, such as a conference room or gym
Ability to adapt lighting according to space needs such as hoteling and hot-desking
Mood-setting for restaurants
Personal control for personal comfort of employees
Some employees may require more or less light, depending on their individual needs and environment
Enhanced aesthetics and image
Compliance with tenant requests
Compliance with state and national energy codes
Tenant/worker safety
Equipment longevity
Obtaining utility rebates and incentives
Meeting regulatory codes

Reliable Controls Types of Lighting Control

Lighting control provides the right amount of light where it is needed and when it is needed. There are several types of control, including the most well known, the on/off switch. From there, we move on to dimming, photo sensors, occupancy sensors, switches or timers, and centralized controls. No matter the control device, its function can be managed manually or automatically.

Dimming adjusts the light for ambiance or based on need. These controls are manual or automatic, centralized or local. Dimming can also be used in conjunction with other devices such as sensors.

Photo sensors can turn lights on or off or dim based on the amount of natural light present. Used in conjunction with daylight harvesting or solar energy, photo sensors are imbedded with a photocell that convert radiant energy into electrical current.

Occupancy sensors also have the ability to turn lights on, off or dim based on the detection of motion in a space. Occupancy sensors can be based on passive infrared sensors which react to the movement of a heat-emitting body. Ultrasonic sensors emit a sound pattern and react to changes reflected in the sound pattern. Dual technology sensors use both passive infrared and ultrasonic sensors.

Switches are timers that turn lights on/off based on a predetermined time.

For information on integration, fact and figures, vendor selection, tax deductions, and LEED, click here..

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