The commercial lighting controls market has exploded in the past decade. Building
managers have experienced firsthand the numerous bottom-line advantages lighting
controls bring to any space: flexibility, comfort, safety, efficiency, and,
perhaps most important, energy savings. Naturally, this has forced lighting
controls manufacturers to stay on their toes, continually re-thinking, re-designing,
and re-evaluating in hopes of coming up with that one product or technology
that completely alters the course of commercial lighting control. And, very
quietly, a system has emerged recently that may just do that: integrated lighting
A legitimate breakthrough in lighting control solutions for commercial buildings,
integrated lighting automation is the industry's first web-based lighting control
technology. It was designed to address five distinct lighting-related needs:
employee comfort, office space flexibility, personal security, fire- and life-safety,
and operational efficiency. Combining cutting-edge technology with a unique
software design, integrated lighting automation easily augments and interfaces
with any type of building automation or management equipment.
Specifically, the technology provides automated on/off light switching and
full-range dimming capability, precise real-time monitoring of a building's
entire lighting system, load shedding for peak energy demand reduction, and
seamless integration with card access security systems. That means the system
can automatically turn on office lights when someone walks into a room, monitor
overall usage and life expectancy of individual light bulbs, and automate lights
through locally stationed PCs or remotely through the Internet.
In addition, the technology allows numerous devices - like lighting, HVAC,
life-safety, card access, and security systems - to share and communicate information,
thereby reducing duplication of effort, increasing accuracy and efficiency,
and reducing initial costs associated with the installation of multiple devices.
Plus, its intelligent embedded software connects analog devices, making them
"smarter." This means building owners and managers get the best of
both worlds: use of existing analog components (retaining reliability and reducing
operational costs) along with the added value of digital technology.
The technology also offers a highly intuitive, web-based graphical user interface
that is based on Internet protocol technology, which means it can be operated
from anywhere in the world. In effect, a building manager could log onto his
home PC before going to bed at night and see what lights are on in the building,
how much power being consumed, and even how long it will be before certain
bulbs need to be changed.
Okay, so all of this sounds great - but what's the bottom line? What can integrated
lighting control technology really do for your building, and how does it actually
address the five lighting-related needs for which it was allegedly designed?
• It improves employee comfort with virtual switching and dimming functionality
and accommodates any individual's long hours or irregular work schedule.
• It increases office space flexibility by allowing point-and-click lighting
• By seamlessly integrating with interior and exterior lighting schemes,
it enhances the total performance of personal security and fire- and life-safety
• Its web-based automation is specifically designed to cut labor and maintenance
costs and reduce energy consumption, which increases operational efficiency.
• Each of the above, then, ultimately improves a company's overall profits.
William Sandoval is Lutron's Digital microWATT system product manager at Lutron
Electronics Co., Coopersburg, PA, a leading designer and manufacturer of lighting
control systems markets. For more information, contact Lutron's Digital microWATT
website (www.lutron.com/digitalmicrowatt) or the Lutron hotline at (800) 523-9466.