4 FM quick reads on lighting
1. Lighting Controls: Daylighting and Dimming
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is strategies for daylighting and dimming.
Daylight is a highly desirable light source and provides opportunities for energy savings. When sufficient daylight is present, control systems can turn off or reduce lighting in steps or through dimming in a slow, continuous manner.
Studies reveal occupants who are stationary and perform critical tasks, such as open offices, prefer dimming to happen slowly so they do not notice it. Stepped switching can be jarring and break a person's concentration, but it can work well in public-transition spaces, such as lobbies.
Not every light source is dimmable, so managers need to coordinate the lamp type with dimming options. The appropriate ballast or driver can dim most fluorescent and light-emitting-diode, or LED, sources. Some metal-halide lamps are also dimmable, but they usually have a smaller dimming range with more color shift, so they might be inappropriate for some spaces.
Technicians can install photocells on ceilings, walls, light fixtures or the building's exterior to control the flow of electricity based on the amount of daylight measured as reflected from task surfaces or entering the space at the daylight apertures, such as windows. Managers need to consider the location of photocells carefully to ensure they read the available daylight at a meaningful location.
Photocells also require calibration in the field to make sure they trigger lights at appropriate settings. Most products have factory presets, which technicians can adjust in the field or remotely, in the case of some digital control systems. Technicians also should test them periodically to see if adjustments are necessary.
2. Successful Lighting Retrofits
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, successful lighting retrofits.
Commercial and institutional facilities measure the success of building retrofits in a variety of ways, including cost savings, reduced energy use, and improved occupant productivity and satisfaction.
One important indicator that is difficult to quantify is the level of interest from peers outside the organization. A prime example of this dynamic is occurring at the University of California, Davis, where lighting retrofits are garnering a great deal of attention.
The university's Smart Lighting Initiative has turned the campus into something of a lighting laboratory, thanks in large part to the university's relationship with the California Lighting Technology Center, a demonstration and education facility on campus that develops energy-efficient technologies. Chris Cioni, the university's associate director of utilities, uses lighting center staff as a sounding board when considering cutting-edge lighting technology for retrofit projects. Cioni, his team, and the lighting center joined forces in retrofitting fixtures in campus parking structures and surface lots. Their next set of projects will focus on pathways, roads, and fixtures on building exteriors.
The opportunities for savings are great, considering the number of exterior fixtures on campus — 2,300 fixtures in parking structures and surface lots, as well as 700 fixtures on roads, 1,300 on pedestrian and bicycle paths, and 3,000 on building exteriors.
The university spent almost $1 million retrofitting fixtures in its surface lots and parking structures, which generated about $300,000 in utility rebates. The projects have resulted in a host of additional benefits, including energy savings, reduced maintenance, and improved safety.
3. Daylighting and Cubicle Walls
If daylight sensors in a lighting system are part of your plan to reduce energy costs, consider lowering the height of the workstation wall panels in an open office environment.
To take advantage of as much natural daylighting as possible, panels should be no higher than 42 inches. This allows for the maximum amount of daylight to reach internal areas of the space, and allows access to natural views for more occupants.
If occupants are concerned about loss of privacy sometimes associated with lower wall heights, consider other options for privacy issues, such as compensating for lower speech privacy with acoustic ceiling panels or offering modular or removable panel extensions that can be used when more privacy is needed.
4. Lighting Systems: Six Maintenance Tips
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is maintenance tips for lighting systems.
Comprehensive maintenance of lighting systems can provide hidden treasures for institutional and commercial facilities. Managers can schedule technicians — not the commissioning agent — to perform several key procedures to ensure the optimum performance of the lighting system, including:
Use correct replacement lamps. While all four-foot fluorescent tubes might look alike, they can have different performance characteristics.
Clean fixtures annually. A fixture's output can diminish by 10 percent a year just from dust accumulation, even in a relatively clean environment.
Verify other replacement components match the original. New ballasts, transformers and drivers at least should have the same performance characteristics.
Ensure all ballasts have a published ballast factor. Maintenance and engineering managers can use it as a multiplier to determine whether a lamp actually will produce the predicted amount of light.
Check dimming pre-sets periodically. This step can help verify they meet original performance requirements.
Check scene pre-sets to assure they meet original requirements. Dimming systems have pre-sets that, once set, rarely need changing. If that is the case, locking them either mechanically or electronically will prevent system problems.
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