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Managers specify lighting control systems to help curb energy costs and improve security in and around facilities. The systems, especially in areas where lights typically remain on for long periods of time, give managers the ability to better control use. Because of the variety of the systems available, it is no surprise some of the more common questions manufacturers hear from managers regarding lighting projects are about the use of controls.
What are the leading considerations in specifying lighting controls for system upgrades?
"Often, we consider full lighting output, or connected load, when evaluating the efficacy of a given lighting system," says Karyn Gayle with Acuity Brands. "However, we know that occupancy and activity in health care and educational spaces don't necessarily require the luminaires to be on at full brightness 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, many facilities can make use of daylight from skylights and windows, reducing the need for electrical lighting when natural light is available.
"To really get the most benefit from an LED lighting system, you want to control them. Controlling LEDs can save you additional energy as lights dim or turn on or off in response to daylight, occupancy, activity, time of day or user preference. Dimming LED systems also extends the lifetime of the source, and certain studies have shown that users are generally more satisfied with their lighting systems when they are able to control them."
Are localized controls or advanced controls appropriate for my facility?
"You want to look at a number of different things," Smith says. "Localized lighting control solutions, which are basically occupancy, vacancy, daylight harvesting, and some timer-type switches, those are certainly the more cost-effective lighting control solutions.
"However, if you have a particularly dynamic space where things are changing constantly, if you have the need to adjust light levels frequently, if you have other kinds of loads that you might want to incorporate into it and potentially use the lighting system to control exhaust fans, loading dock fans, exterior lights, then you might be a facility that is more laid out for an advanced lighting control solution."
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