Chapter Corner

Intelligent Lighting Control is Eco Savvy

Posted in: July 2014

Eco-Savvy-bulb.gifLighting has a critical function. It allows people to do their jobs well and accomplish the operations of the business at hand. The United States Department of Energy studied various commercial buildings and their energy consumption and reported that lighting is one of the three biggest expenses by as much as 33 percent. Installing an intelligent lighting control system is a simple solution to reduce greenhouse gases, keep employees safe, and continue to be fiscally responsible.

Installing an intelligent lighting system controls is an eco-savvy way to reduce energy consumption while having a positive economic impact on a business and the environment.

The goal of any business is to provide measurable savings with minimal investment. So an intelligent lighting control system makes sense. It is estimated that a control system will save 70 percent on a facility’s light cost. The return on investment is on average three to five years.

When You Need It

The intelligent lighting control is set to the right amount of light where and when it is needed. Here’s how the solution works:

Sustained motion: In the presence of motion, sensors kick in and stay on. Intelligent lighting control in the aisle of a commercial or industrial facility must have the highest quality of illumination when employees are working.

Intermittent motion: When a fork lift rolls down an aisle, the sensors blast a signal down the aisle to all the fixtures in that zone making for a bright clear path.

No motion: The fixtures drop back to a pre-determined dimmed or “full off” setting when there is no need for light.

Ambient light: Fixtures will dim during sunny days to conserve energy or engage to full brightness when it’s dark and stormy. Likewise, the operation of exterior safety and security lights, such as parking lot fixtures, is enhanced with intelligent lighting controls to respond to real-time conditions.

Prior to intelligent lighting controls, banks of on/off and dimmer switches were simple operations, relying on manual engagement. Today, employees still struggle with conserving energy. The Carbon Trust, an independent firm out of London, England, surveyed 1,135 British workers and found that only 52 percent of the group turned off the lights after they left the room. While only 22 percent of the workers said they were confident they knew what to do to save energy, a mere 16 percent said they were sure they had the authority to do it.

Measuring Energy Savings

One big advantage is the continual monitoring of energy consumption. It allows the consumer to measure the savings by an entire system, zone, or fixture. This data can help reduce load, implement demand response strategies, track, and demonstrate savings. A robust intelligent lighting system can even provide ancillary equipment control for off-peak consumption such as fans and fork truck battery chargers.

Added Benefits for Employees

Intelligent controlling of exterior lighting and less-used spaces allow employees, vendors, and even customers to feel more comfortable and secure. The motion sensor will kick on or dim as someone approaches. This means fewer struggles to find a light switch and is one more strategy to reduce accidents.

Consistent proper lighting plays a key role in the physical and psychological well- being of an individual. Using the intelligent lighting system, lighting can be regulated to a constant brightness resulting in increased productivity. This translates into fewer sick days and happier employees.

Wireless Controls

Once the intelligent lighting system is installed, it can be programmable and adjusted through a wireless network. Now, areas can be zoned and adjusted according to motion sensitivity, ambient lighting, and scheduling. All lighting needs are now being met.

Intelligent lighting controls are an incredible tool to manage, control, and save energy without sacrifice or compromise. Even though employees aren’t often privy to the considerable energy savings resulting from an intelligent lighting control project, they often notice an immediate difference in their work environment.

Jennifer McCue is Vice President of Sales Operations for IEC National Platinum Level Industry Partner Orion Energy Systems Inc. in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.