How Intelligent Lighting Applications Improve Building Controls and Services
Intelligent Lighting Applications Improve Building Controls and Services, When it comes to large commercial properties, robust building controls and services are essential for high performance
In recent years, buildings have become smarter than ever thanks to advancements in automated technology that have drastically reduced the costs and complexity of building control systems. Because of these developments, buildings have improved on several important metrics that would have been previously impossible. As building managers can more closely monitor building controls and services, every system within the building becomes easier and more efficient to manage. That includes all internal controls within a commercial space including lighting, HVAC, plumbing, security, and more.
Today, we are going to be focusing on how smart lighting applications improve building controls and services as the technology continues to improve. From wireless controls to network controls, we are exploring just a few of the ways that smart lighting control systems make building management easier, less expensive, and more efficient.
What Are Intelligent Lighting Applications?
Used to improve building controls and services, lighting controls are used in most new and renovated buildings
Building controls and services are used in a variety of different applications to ease building management. Lighting applications just happen to be one of the fastest-growing and most exciting development areas out there when it comes to building automation and management. Previously, there was a big need for both energy, money, and staff to properly manage large building controls and services. Now, the need for labor and energy has greatly decreased thanks to the energy and cost-saving benefits associated with advanced building automation.
When it comes to lighting, these advancements have been critical for new buildings and renovations.
Intelligent lighting applications for large commercial projects stem from the proliferation of LED technology. Before LED technology was widely used, buildings and building managers relied on either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs were not only inefficient, but they were unable to be easily connected or controlled. Since LEDs have become industry standard along with PoE (Power over Ethernet) and IoT (Internet of Things), lighting controls have become far more sophisticated and can execute commands, gather data, and apply that data to optimize operations in the future. Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the different ways that these lighting control technologies make management easier and improve building controls and services.
Using sensors placed strategically in large scale buildings, luminaire controls provide effortless and adaptive lighting
The first lighting control system we’re going to tackle is luminaire controls. This lighting control system relies on light sensors that are placed throughout a building to operate individually. In practice, this control system can create ideal lighting conditions for spaces like office buildings—all while conserving energy. As natural light shines into a space, the sensors placed in the building can register the lighting level and make adjustments to the LEDs installed. Using PoE technology, the sensors can individually communicate with designated LED lights to ensure optimal lighting is provided to all parts of the building at all times.
This type of control system can be used only in specific areas of a building, or it can be used to control the whole building’s lighting landscape depending on the size and the intended use for the space. Luminaire lighting controls are an excellent way to improve building controls and services for spaces that get high levels of natural light every day.
- Centralized Multi-Building Control Systems
Using a single point of access, building controls and services can be managed across a whole campus
Previously, lighting control systems were limited to a single building. That is no longer the case thanks to the major developments in lighting technology that we have seen recently. Now, using multi-building control systems, building managers can control, monitor, and collect data all from a single operating system. Instead of having several building managers that have to coordinate to run a campus properly, all lighting can now be controlled by a single person.
It is also important to note that many of the previous limitations on building controls and services no longer apply. Before the advent of LEDs and PoE technology, there were limits on the amount of energy that could be used to power these systems and all of the included lights. For example, without LEDs, there were distinct limits on the number of different lighting controls available to each space like dimming. These limitations were determined by the total number of energy required to operate these different lighting features. Now, LEDs have almost no limitations when it comes to lighting controls, making these multi-building control systems viable.
- Wireless Controls
Wireless controls offer easy building controls and services for existing properties
If installing a fully-fledged PoE system of low voltage wiring isn’t an option, as the cost can get prohibitively expensive, there is another option to optimize lighting controls. Wireless controls have become more popular recently for applications in existing buildings. These wireless control systems can communicate using either WiFi or radio waves to produce the same controls as expected with a hardwired system. By installing a wireless lighting control system, buildings with seriously outdated lighting systems can upgrade their controls with minimal cost and disruption. The only catch when it comes to wireless systems is that they may not be able to provide building controls and services across great distances. There is also always the concern with wireless connection that there is a chance for disrupted connection, which is not a risk when you rely on PoE wiring. Despite these drawbacks, wireless controls have been able to improve lighting controls in buildings where hard wiring is not an option.
- Networked Lighting Controls
By organizing all network control points, managers can access a whole host of advanced building controls and services
When it comes to building controls and services the more interconnected each point of control, the better. That’s why networked lighting controls are one of the most exciting developments that are being widely applied to commercial buildings. A networked lighting control system means that each point of control—in this case, each LED light—has its own address that can be organized and grouped with others. When using networked controls, building managers can control different zones, generate data based on these different zones, control different aspects of lighting segment by segment, and more!
By implementing these networked lighting control systems, building owners and managers are doing more than just making building controls easier—they are also conserving energy. By using networked lighting controls, operators can save up to ⅓ of their yearly energy costs. In fact, the Department of Energy recently began promoting the technology as a viable way to help conserve energy in the future.
- Embedded Controls
Luminaries with embedded controls make intuitive lighting controls automatic
Now more than ever, there are lighting control packages that offer embedded controls. These embedded controls do not require any outside tech or installation to function properly, which makes these control systems perfect for buildings that are looking to seriously upgrade their lighting control. Included in these embedded control packages are sensors and lighting controllers that are able to sense light, occupancy, heat, and other metrics that are important to a building manager. Using these embedded controls, building managers can gather more data than ever and optimize all lighting applications.
- Data Collection
In tandem with embedded controls and wireless systems, many lighting control systems also offer advanced data collection capabilities
Data is key for building controls and services. No matter if you are working with HVAC, plumbing, or lighting, collecting data is one of the key ways to make sure a building is operating as efficiently as possible. There have been a lot of different advancements when it comes to data collection for lighting control systems. For example, using a lighting control system a building manager can pull data on total energy consumption, operating parameters, occupancy, natural lighting, temperature, and more. If you use a lighting control system to manage outdoor lighting, there are even more metrics that can be used to improve building management. Recently, sensors that are able to track metrics like snow and carbon monoxide in the air have become more commonplace as a part of lighting control data collection.
- Wide Range of Colors
Before LEDs, commercial lighting was very limited in terms of color and quality
Intelligent lighting is improving building controls and services through greater control over lighting color options. Before LEDs, even dimming features required manual controls and would affect the wiring and voltage levels required to light a space. Thanks to LEDs changing lighting color, hue, and quality happens automatically. LEDs can work together to produce a wide range of colors that help make interior spaces friendlier and safer for all inhabitants. Using the data pulled from the sensors, your lighting control system can be programmed to automatically adjust lighting levels to match occupancy, outdoor lighting, and interior temperature. Since lighting control systems and LEDs allow for a wider range of colors, your control system will adjust to the optimal lighting level for maximum efficiency and energy-saving capabilities.
As you can see, there are so many different innovative options currently available for lighting control systems. We touched on a few of the main ones here, but there are even more advantages of using intelligent lighting applications for building controls and services. Before long, these features will become industry standard and all commercial properties will be able to benefit from advanced lighting applications.