Set Up Outdoor Lighting with Smart Lighting Controls

10/08/2018 | By Kendell Clark

Exterior lighting, especially in parking lots and garages, is a significant aspect of facility operations and maintenance. It’s often controlled independent from other building systems. Innovation in outdoor LED fixtures is not only making exterior lighting smarter and more responsive but is changing expectations for lighting performance.

Smart control is the use of IoT-enabled sensors, meters and controls that gather trackable data and communicate with each other. It has the capacity to improve energy efficiency outdoors, and it presents tremendous opportunities for smart, integrated, data-driven control that makes facilities more secure and responsive.

Smart controls for exteriors
(Photo credit Getty Images)

Smart Lighting Controls Provide Information

Individual fixtures equipped with integrated occupancy and daylight sensors help the facilities team understand exactly how outdoor spaces are used, where fixture groupings can be adjusted or reprogrammed, and how to best customize unoccupied levels to accommodate traffic patterns and security cameras.

Smart fixture data can also inform the appropriate sequence of operations programming for your specific application:

  • Scheduling – adjust light levels by time of day and program lighting to turn on and off based on either occupancy or daylight functionality.
     
  • Reactive events – adjust light levels based on daylight sensor data, program lighting to turn on automatically based on occupancy detection, or reduce unoccupied lighting levels to save energy and still provide adequate illumination.
     
  • Intelligent fixture groupings – Program an entire floor or area to turn on when an occupant enters from a stairwell or elevator or have lighting in the entire lot turn on in response to an entering vehicle.

Metrics are essential and powerful tools in the quest for more comfortable, productive, secure environments. Advanced lighting control solutions can utilize system metrics to improve lighting integration throughout the facility. They can also simplify system management by offering a single sign-on and software interface for all interior and exterior lighting.

Smart lighting control data
(Photo: Limelight by Lutron provides energy usage metrics and system alerts for more informed management of outdoor lighting.)

In a typical building, one team is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the entire facility, so the ability to log into one user interface to access all lighting data, adjust settings and get a broad-based picture of the entire operation is a significant win in terms of time and cost.

Integrated lighting systems can enable alerts to identify potential fixture problems and outages before they cause a security issue or negatively affect employee productivity.

Set up a Successful Outdoor Lighting Solution

Wireless outdoor lighting and control solutions can offer efficiency advantages before the system is up and running.

Reduce design and install time: Reduce both up-front and long-term maintenance costs by using a system that requires a single gateway for all luminaires, and one that can be placed anywhere without necessitating the use of repeaters that add cost and time to the installation. With the right system, design can be as easy as identifying the number of controlled luminaires.

Ensure reliable wireless performance: While gateways that use an ethernet connection may be the most economical solutions in terms of operation costs, options that use a cellular connection can be easier to install since no ethernet drops are required.

[Related: 5 Smart Lighting Benefits You Never Thought About]

Evaluate communications technology: In either case, take time to evaluate the wireless communications technology in the system you select. High Density Mesh, for example, provides extremely reliable wireless performance in outdoor environments.

Evaluate lighting control manufacturer: To maximize the benefits of your smart, outdoor lighting control systems, consider a lighting control manufacturer that can provide end-to-end solutions for the entire property by offering an intuitive user-interface that works across multiple building systems.

Smart lighting is worth a look, as it can provide responsive interior and exterior lighting, simplify the responsibilities of the facilities and maintenance teams, and help building owners control cost while adding value.

Kendell Clark, product manager with Lutron ElectronicsKendell Clark is product manager with Lutron Electronics and is responsible for product strategy, full product lifecycle management and marketing.​


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