Millions of dollars are lost annually in the U.S. because the lighting is left on in unoccupied rooms or overnight in unoccupied buildings. An automated light system can save a company substantially in lighting costs and are an integral part of any building automation system. Here we outline some key points to consider when choosing your lighting controls.
How much we’re spending on lighting
At least 40% of any building’s electricity bill is for lighting, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy consumption by commercial buildings is set to rise another 22% by 2035, according to IBISWorld. More broadly, 20% of the world’s electricity consumption is for lighting, with commercial lighting systems accounting for 50% of that total. If we’re looking for an area to create savings and improvements, lighting is it.
It has been speculated that we could save an estimated 60% of energy costs in commercial and industrial buildings by implementing commercial lighting controls. In addition to the savings over time, there is the benefit of being environmentally friendly at a time when the environment needs friends. Lighting controls are the first step in system integrators to make a commercial building fully automated.
Related: Picking the Best Lighting System for Your Business
One case study:
A CFO (Chief financial officer) of a real estate trust implemented commercial lighting controls in their buildings. In addition to the positive environmental impact, there was a savings of $4 million to $6 million a year, which went directly to the company’s investors. This made the investors happy; it reduced its carbon footprint and made the CFO look like “a hero.”
How to begin
A company needs not worry that their first steps toward commercial lighting control have to be big. Lighting control systems don’t have to be elaborate to have a good return on the investment. Begin by changing from old light bulbs to LED bulbs, which saves on costs immediately.
Another benefit of having a more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly focus is that it begins to translate into other measures throughout the whole company. Eventually, a healthier and more productive workforce is the result.
At Edison Power and Controls, we can design and install your automated system. Do you want to save big on energy costs and lessen your company’s carbon footprint? Contact us today. We can help.
An integrated system
The commercial lighting control system may be integrated into the building’s management system. This enables the building operators to access and manage the lighting controls and further manage the time of day and days of the week lighting control within and outside the building. This can all be controlled by a centralized time clock that manages each lighting circuit in the facility.
A lighting control system may use scheduling, occupancy sensors, manual control, or photosensors. These may be used singly or combined.
Occupied areas of the building or facility may have lighting during certain times of the day or evening. Areas (or zones) may have individual schedules for weekdays, weekends, or special events.
Even with automation, manual controls are still vital. Employee productivity depends on being able to use the lighting to suit their changing needs. Having manual switches available may also make a difference in how the lighting control system is accepted. Manual dimmers can save energy and allow workers to feel a sense of control over their environment.
One benefit of a lighting control system is that it can share information with other building systems. For instance, if an office is occupied after-hours, the lighting system can communicate that to the other building systems. The temperature may be adjusted in that office, the floors’ hallway lighting turned on, and the security office alerted.
The two types of photosensors are for switching and dimming. The sensor used for switching communicates by binary signal to the direct digital control network when the amount of light changes. The control system can then reduce or turn off the lights altogether. The sensor used for dimming communicates a continuously variable signal reporting on the amount of detectable light, allowing the building lights to brighten or dim accordingly.
Related: Measuring Electrical Consumption in Building Automation Systems
Having an integrated lighting control system in the company building isn’t just about lighting; it’s also about security. Not only can this system save in energy costs, but also saving in losses due to burglary, theft, damage, and personal protection.
The safety and security of corporate facilities and workers are of critical importance. The lighting control system can provide security by using motion sensors and light level sensors to indicate when a person has entered an area. If this is a secured area, the light will let the intruder know that they’ve been detected, and motion-sensor cameras can then record any activity. The lighting control sensors can also recognize the changes in daylight and adjust the lighting accordingly in designated areas of the facility. Well-lit doorways and passageways deter intruders and will ensure workers feel safe.
A smart system
A smart commercial lighting control system can manage lighting in any specific area of the facility. Lights may be turned on or off according to the system’s programming, for instance, during after-hours, the weekend, or a public holiday. The sensors could turn on lights if a person (authorized or unauthorized) enters the building. Building operators can program the system for their unique needs, whether on the property or off-site.
Related: 5 Ways Building Automation Saves You Time and Money
An intelligent solution
A building’s mechanical, electrical, and security control systems may be unified into one system that may be operated on or off-site via an online automation system.
Modern systems may be centralized but are more often a distributed control systems. This means that the systems’ hardware and software are distributed as a network of microprocessors-based control modules and computers. The modules communicate with one another to act as one intelligent whole. This is accomplished with direct digital control technology, which is infinitely expandable. All of the lighting in a facility may be controlled by one system. That system also controls and monitors the building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), smoke detectors, security, elevators, and much more.
If something goes wrong with some area of the building, operators can access information from occupancy sensors and the software and hardware components to initiate a response.
Do you still have questions? We can help you create a smart system for your company that would be cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and secure. Call Edison Power and Controls today!
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