02/19/2007

Technological Advances Increase the Importance of Lighting Control

New technologies in whole-building lighting-control systems can help provide greater overall energy savings and improved control

 
Lighting-Control Definitions
  • Keypads. These devices replace typical wall switches and activate individual lights or other room components (like curtains or ceiling fans).
  • Touchscreens. Available in color or black-and-white versions, touchscreens activate pre-set lighting scenes and can control other systems (like audiovideo components).
  • Light-Level Sensors. Many occupancy sensors include an ambient light-level sensor feature that can be set to automatically turn lights on or off based on natural light levels.
  • Dimmers and Relays. Dimmers are used for dimming resistive and low-voltage lighting loads. Relays are similar, but can only turn lights on or off (not dim them to a specified level).

 


Related Companies

Square D/Schneider Electric

By Scott Jordan

With growing significance being placed on designing buildings for increased energy efficiency and reduced costs, lighting control has become increasingly important for commercial building owners and facilities managers.

New technologies in whole-building lighting-control systems can help provide greater overall energy savings and improved control and reliability - even offering the ability to access the system via a common Web browser for easy schedule changes and control of lighting zones. Input devices like touchscreens, keypads, and occupancy sensors have also come a long way and are designed to make lighting control more attractive while providing seamless input functionality for occupants.

Commercial Lighting-Control Overview
In a typical commercial building, lighting is the single-largest consumer of electric power, often exceeding 30 percent of the building’s total energy cost. Simply adding the ability to control lighting during periods when the building is not occupied can reduce lighting costs by as much as 50 percent. It can also help meet new legislative and program requirements that include and encourage lighting control.

Lighting-control systems are comprised of two major components: 1) output devices that work behind the scenes to control the lights by switching them on or off or dimming them up or down, and 2) input devices like switches or sensors for localized control.

A good example of innovation with regard to switching systems is the lighting panelboard. Today’s lighting-control system has transformed this gray metal box into the hub of an intelligent system that provides a connection between the lighting system, lighting control input devices, and the facility’s power-management systems. Such panels now contain controllers that receive signals originating from the external control devices or from internal time schedulers and initiate commands to remotely operated circuit breakers, relays, and dimming modules. In a Web-based system, information can then be accessed via any computer connected to the Internet.

Keypads and touchscreens have grown in style and functionality, and offer a stylish alternative to traditional control devices. Keypads can feature LED indicators that provide illumination and status feedback or allow for electronic labeling of switches according to building owners’ preferences. Touchscreens, which are available in black-and-white and color versions, provide a virtually limitless number of programming options to create pre-set lighting scenes that can activate automatically. These devices can also help avoid the “wall acne” that is often associated with wall-mounted dimmers, projector-screen switches, volume controls, and wall plates.

Energy Savings
These new-generation lighting-control systems really shine when it comes to energy savings. Occupancy-based sensors are now available that communicate directly with the system and provide the facility manager with the ability to tweak settings from his or her computer and avoid disturbing occupants. Smart light-level sensors are available to measure ambient light levels and automatically switch breakers or relays on and off to maintain a constant light level.

Thus, these technologies represent far more than just manual on/off control. Benefits to building owners and facilities managers extend beyond just energy savings and can provide a more comfortable work environment, less stress, and greater productivity.

 

Scott Jordan is product marketing manager at Salisbury, NC-based Square D/Schneider Electric (www.us.squared.com).

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

 


 
comments powered by Disqus

Related Products

Sponsored Links