Healthcare Facility Concerns When Using Wireless Lighting Controls
Healthcare facilities present a different set of challenges for specifying wireless lighting control systems.
Among the concerns for managers are issues that might occur as the result of a lighting system failure and the control systems' effect on other systems inside the building or complex that focus on patient care.
"I've met with some healthcare facilities personnel that are reluctant to use wireless systems for fear that it might interfere with other equipment used in a hospital setting," says Andy Albrecht of GE Lighting. "There is not one simple answer for addressing these concerns, but understanding the needs of a specific environment is an important factor when considering a wireless lighting control system."
Another concern with wireless lighting controls in hospitals is the number of devices necessary to accommodate the number of patient rooms.
"Healthcare facilities, with many small rooms, would have a higher density of devices, and therefore would require a more scalable wireless system than perhaps some that are out there," says Ken Walma of Eaton's Cooper Lighting. "You have a number of devices that are in close proximity, and you would want to make sure the devices could handle the load. In some systems, the wireless architecture of the facility is not capable of handling thousands of devices within close proximity to one another."
Patient comfort is another factor managers must consider when specifying wireless lighting systems for hospitals.
"Healthcare facilities are not as concerned with daylighting," Carberry says. "For patient-care rooms, they don't want to see a lot of lights blinking, things that could annoy people who aren't able to move or change their environment. They don't want all those extra distractions in the room."
Daylight harvesting is a popular practice for managers specifying wireless lighting control systems in commercial facilities to combat the rising energy costs associated with lighting.
"Energy codes are driving this in all applications, but in commercial they're really pushing daylight harvesting in any windowed space," Carberry says. "With LED conversions in an office space, they're going to get controls built in and be measuring the natural and artificial light in the space and adjusting the lighting accordingly."
Commercial office buildings provide different types of savings opportunities for managers.
The design of commercial buildings provides "a little more homogeneity," Yu says, which makes specification considerations easier for managers.