Automated lighting features are becoming more prevalent in buildings, especially green structures striving to reduce environmental impact. But reduced energy use is not the only value factor to consider when upgrading to smart lighting.
Here are five benefits you may not have thought about:
1. Lighting Aesthetics
Lighting can have a powerful effect on perception and mood.
The restaurant industry has known this for decades, lowering lighting at night to set the mood for intimate dinners. But dimming a light is not the only way to change the aesthetics of a space.
Smart lighting installations can include sensors that monitor how much daylight is filtering into a building. On bright days, lights can automatically turn to a lower tone that is relaxing and cooling for occupants. The opposite can be true on dark and gloomy days.
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Lighting levels can also be put on a time-of-day schedule. In the early morning and after lunch, when energy levels tend to drag, the lights can be bright and energizing. During frenzied peak work hours when most people are staring at computer screens, lights can become a more soothing tone that doesn’t pull at the eyes but still supports productivity.
Lighting can be a powerful tool to affect how building occupants feel and act, and smart lighting systems make it easy for building owners to optimize the impact.
2. Smart Lighting in Retail
In retail spaces, lighting is often used to draw customers toward products. But static spotlighting, counter or under-shelf lighting is basic.
Items that are on sale or are generally purchased based on time of day or year can be illuminated with higher lighting levels or even a color. Connected lighting is incredibly flexible and can be altered day to day, but one of the most appealing features of connected lighting systems for storeowners is scheduling.
Spotlights, color tone and dimming can all be adjusted ad hoc or according to set schedules. Schedules ensure lighting appears at desired design levels consistently, without relying on employee interactions.
3. Safety with Occupancy Sensors
Connected lighting installations rely on sensors to monitor a store and detect when lighting should be adjusted based on scheduling. These sensors can serve multiple purposes and deliver benefits beyond lighting control.
For starters, occupancy sensors in storerooms and offices can ensure that employees always enter a well-lit space, providing further protection from slips and falls.
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Bathrooms equipped with occupancy sensors make the space feel safer for customers or employees who don’t have to fumble for a light switch. Eliminating the switch also reduces potential for germ transfer, a particular concern for employees who might be handling food and beverage products.
Sensors can also inform a storeowner of customer traffic trends and keep a watchful eye over the store outside of business hours.
4. Occupied Space Management
An additional safety benefit of connected lighting systems is the ability to monitor where people are in a building at any given time.
During an emergency, building schematics can be pulled up in the app for a room-by-room report of what spaces are occupied. This information can be invaluable for first responders and help with efficient evacuation and creating a response plan.
Over time, a history of what rooms are used at what time of day can also help building owners maximize energy cost savings by tailoring lighting, HVAC and other system schedules based on when spaces are being used.
5. Lighting Upgrades are Easy
Unlike many building renovations that require days – if not weeks – of construction work, upgrading lighting systems to connected lighting controls is relatively easily. Many installations don’t require any rewiring and can be linked to existing wifi networks.
Sensors can even be installed on existing fixtures, eliminating the need for entire lighting overhaul. Switching out a traditional light switch or receptacle takes just a few minutes. Within a day, a small commercial space can be completely upgraded to a more flexible, customizable, cost-saving lighting control system.
In an age of smart homes, building occupants will be quick to adapt to and likely appreciate buildings that embrace technology.
Connected lighting is a smart decision for building owners who are concerned about reducing energy usage, want the benefits of cost savings as a result and who are interested in how technology can influence and even improve sales, employee production and the overall building experience.
David Parrett, director of product marketing at California Eastern Laboratories (CEL). During his more than 20-year marketing career, David has operated in all areas of the field while honing unique expertise in go-to-market planning and product realization for intelligent devices that enable connected homes and buildings.
Prior to joining CEL, David held leadership roles in marketing and product management with Hunter Douglas where he led the conception and management of the largest-ever global launch of a motorized product line, PowerView. David has a BS in Business Administration/Marketing from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.
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