This piece was originally published in the September 2017 issue of electroindustry.
Eric Lind, Vice President of Global Specifications, Lutron Electronics Company, Inc.
Lighting retrofits have long been associated with code compliance and energy-saving initiatives, but increasingly, smart technologies and wireless lighting control solutions add even greater value by creating more comfortable, productive work environments that take care of a company’s greatest asset—its people.
Installing advanced control strategies that take advantage of the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) also makes it easier to maintain and support these benefits over the life of the space.
Software Simplifies Management
Building systems have had powerful software capabilities for some time now, and digital lighting control solutions ensure that systems can effectively participate in the IoT to improve building operation and maintenance. Intuitive new apps and graphical user interfaces can turn your smart device into a potent resource to help unlock the system’s full potential, whether the project is retrofit or new construction.
Automated control systems can seamlessly integrate and manage lighting and shade control in response to predefined building settings, scenes, timeclocks, or user-defined events. Data collected from smart lighting systems can help a facility’s team understand so much more about how buildings are used, what spaces are occupied, and when and where a building is using most of its electricity. System settings can be quickly and easily adjusted to optimize building performance and improve building value.
With the right control system, building managers can be connected to the entire system from anywhere, improving building efficiency and responsiveness to occupant concerns and requests. Digital control can enhance comfort, sustainability, and energy savings and can often help achieve requirements for certifications such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the WELL Building Standard™.
Benefits for Existing Buildings
Especially in retrofits, wireless control systems offer significant advantages, including faster installation compared with wired systems, reduced materials cost, and access to data anywhere, at any time—even pre-installation.
New lighting control systems often include occupancy and daylight sensors that automatically adjust electric light in response to daylight. Wireless protocols make it easier to adjust placement and setup of these controls. The importance of this kind of flexibility is often overlooked. Once installed, sensor performance can be affected by bookshelves, shades, partitions, and other variables once the building is fully occupied.
Wireless controls allow sensor installation without rewiring, tearing out walls, or further disrupting the workspace. Another benefit of wireless sensors and controls is their ability to be utilized before system installation to help accurately map how the space is used and even predict the lighting control system’s energy performance. The data gained can be used to inform system design, and the right strategies can be effectively specified and installed throughout the project.
Smart Solutions, Better Buildings
Smart lighting control technologies increase system efficiencies and optimize performance without sacrificing personal or productivity. That’s positive news for the people who work in these spaces and excellent news for a sustainable future.