An advanced lighting control can be as simple as a wall-switch
occupancy sensor connected to a room controller or as elaborate
as a whole-room system with up to 64 loads and 48 devices.
“The nodes that comprise an advanced lighting control system can control a single fixture or a whole series of fixtures and
can be controlled manually, with occupancy and motion sensors,
with automatic time clocks, or by connecting to a utility demand-response system or to other building management systems,” said
Gerard Darville, director of project management for Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., Coopersburg, Pa. Darville also said each control
node can be addressed and individually programmed or repro-grammed to meet the needs of the space without rewiring.
“For systems requiring communication between rooms or to a front-end
device, a network bridge would be
installed in the room to allow communication between the room’s Cat 5e
network and the room-to-room segment network,” said Charles Knuffke,
vice president of systems for Watt-
Stopper, Santa Clara, Calif., when
discussing the company’s digital lighting management (DLM) system.
At its core, the intelligence of
advanced lighting controls is attributable to the sensors embedded in each fixture. These sensors determine occupancy,
temperature and more, and software processes this data. The
combined effect achieves a system that automatically responds
to the environment.
Beyond their inherent advancements, however, advanced
lighting controls satisfy code mandates. They are designed to
meet or exceed energy conservation and efficiency codes, which
are most often derived from ASHRAE 90. 1 and California Title
24, according to Aaron Kless, director of application engineering for Digital Lumens, Boston. Recent energy code revisions
incorporate more requirements for testing, commissioning and
certification of systems, continuous dimming, and lighting controls, including daylight harvesting, automatic time switches,
occupancy sensors, automatic shutoffs, overrides and demand-response controls. An advanced lighting control system can help
buildings meet these requirements.
Advanced vs. conventional—it’s black and white
Assuming codes don’t provoke an upgrade, customer demand
may. Advanced lighting controls possess many advantages over
These systems are inherently beneficial because they are
more efficient and offer more flexibility than conventional
ones. For instance, Kless said conventional lighting controls
are limited to step dimming or on/off functionality, which can
adversely affect system longevity and user comfort. In compari-
son, advanced lighting controls, with their continuous dimming,
multiple sensors and software-based control, enable lighting to
become a managed asset rather than a binary load.
“Legacy control systems, since not adaptable over time,
can become cumbersome and frequently get overridden by
the end-users, eliminating the original energy-conservation
advantages,” Kless said.
Knuffke said one reason performance of digitally based
advanced lighting controls exceeds conventional controls is
because they are capable of layered approaches.
“For example, time delays for occupancy sensors can be of
longer durations during the day but
then transitioned to shorter delays at
night,” he said.
Another reason for greater performance of advanced lighting controls
transcends the implications of dedicated lighting technologies and
incorporates other strategies.
For example, Darville said advanced
lighting controls can exceed code
requirements with daylight harvesting
capabilities, along with shade controls,
“End-users can continually adjust and reprogram advanced
lighting controls and readapt the lighting in the space more
easily while maintaining energy efficiency,” he said.
Reduced maintenance costs is yet another benefit because
advanced lighting controls alert the building owner or maintenance staff when a light is about to fail or when other
preventative maintenance needs to be performed.
“Because the building owner is getting real occupancy
information from the system, use of individual spaces can be maximized as part of an asset-management program,” Darville said.
Finally, an advanced lighting controls system has the benefit of being more future-proof. As the needs of a space evolve,
digital lighting controls may hedge the requirements for retrofit
construction or rewiring.
The keys to the future
Achieving an advanced lighting controls system that satisfies
today’s demands is possible, but, according to Darville, such a system enables the end-user to meet changing energy requirements.
A few elements play primary roles in this capability.
Audwin Cash, vice president of Acuity Controls, Acuity
Brands Lighting, Atlanta, attributed this fluidity in purpose to
the software base of the technology.
“End-users may upgrade system operation over time and
continue to improve control performance,” he said.
End-users can continually adjust
and reprogram advanced lighting
controls and readapt the lighting
in the space more easily while
maintaining energy efficiency.
—Gerard Darville, Lutron