Lighting has always been and remains, to date, a significant player in a building’s infrastructure. Structures are now more advanced than they were back in the day, especially when it comes to utilizing technology. Most buildings nowadays also have more lighting control and are energy efficient. Whereas Building Automation Systems allow facility managers to fix lighting programs, there are dedicated lighting controls. These dedicated lighting controls enable “daylight harvesting” and dimming control.
Those are just some of the ways an innovative building lighting system enables energy saving. Some platforms have lighting controls with occupancy pattern sensors. They feature a sensor that s fitted in the lighting fixtures. The sensors can track temperature, ambient light, power usage, and motion. They also act as Bluetooth beacons.
How to leverage a smart building lighting system
If each building had lighting that had sensors, building managers would be able to make more informed decisions. Data obtained from motion tracking can notify them of the frequented spaces and those that aren’t all day. They are also able to adjust the ambience to a more conducive one.
Here are some other ways smart lighting technology can be leveraged:
- Asset tracking
Smart lighting solutions can easily track objects and people’s emotions. In settings like hospitals, nurses spend much of their time trying to trace medical equipment. This time wastage can be reduced significantly by having Bluetooth transceivers incorporated in that hospital’s lighting controls. With its installation, nurses can now track the location and type of equipment they need.
- Building maintenance
You will start saving money once you begin tracking occupancy. Instead of daily cleaning desks at a specific time, the lights could tell you the desk that requires cleaning. The same ideology can be applied to restrooms. Alerts would be sent to the janitorial staff to clean after a set number of uses.
- Occupant comfort
Ensuring that occupants of a building are comfortable is of crucial importance. As earlier stated, lighting controls can detect natural light, air quality, and temperature. That way, building managers are able to create the ideal environment for their clients.
- Energy-saving and operational advantages
Many lightings were previously handled separately, with very little thought being given to how they can be integrated into the building management system. Luckily, this is a thing of the past as buildings are now being built with the technological future in mind. Another common alternative is to integrate the HVAC with the lighting. Such a system has many different advantages and also avoids one-way gateway systems.
Types of smart lighting controls
Understanding the value and basic functionality lighting controls provide buildings with is critical. Facility managers need to grasp the major lighting controls the building has. Some of the essential lighting control types include:
- Convectional controls: These comprise standalone devices like switches. They control local loads. With traditional controls, centralized panels are used to control large loads.
- Room-based and luminaire controls: These integrate or embed sensors with luminaires, thus enabling them to respond, offering energy-saving and greater flexibility individually.
- Enterprise and building-based controls: When using these, lighting controllers get networked across multiple buildings. Facility managers are then able to program all light controls with operating software. Data is pulled to a cloud-based or centralized server. In this type of control, the best option depends on an operator’s level of skill.
- Embedded controls: Here, luminaires come embedded with sensors and, in other cases, with lighting controllers. This makes installation a breeze and, at the same time, increases control response flexibility.
- Wireless control: Here, control solutions allow wireless control point communication by using radio waves. As such, you will not need low-voltage wiring, and this is a step-up. Installation cost is reduced, and upgrading is less disruptive and simpler. There are some solutions whereby the control points could be networked in a scalable and programmable system. One that can produce valuable information.
- Networked control: More smart building light control solutions link all control points and assign distinctive addresses for group or individual programming. What’s more, those solutions may integrate with other BMS (building management systems) or function autonomously. Such an approach has many advantages like distributed intelligence, in-depth control zoning, zoning via software, data generation, and programmability, to mention a few.
- Data generation: There are smart lighting controls that allow the collection of data from control points that are connected through wireless or wired digital networks. The system could directly estimate or measure energy consumption or even monitor operating factors. Extra luminaire embedded sensors may collect information like temperature and occupancy. The data gets fed to the cloud or server for use and retrieval via software.
- Color tuning: LEDs are an economical way of giving users ways to adjust white light shade or CCT (lighting correlated color temperature). CCT can be adjusted via the separate dimming arrays that have cool- or warm-white LEDs. You can also add other colors to the current spectrum, thus having decent color rendering.
All these are notable improvements in a smart building lighting system controls because they generate novel optical needs applications. Having white light that can be tuned means designers can calibrate the output for source color to render colors in that space optimally.
Facility managers also can adjust the appearance of space colors based on the use of the changing space and time of day or year. Manufactured can also build automatically calibrating products across luminaires. The applications list is quite extensive.
Control systems come with a wide array of benefits. Deployment of building automation systems is almost ubiquitous in complex and large buildings.
However, using a BAS comes with its fair share of costs. You may get system management service contracts that require human involvement or an internal system management team. A BAS would have more value if the outcome were possible with a minor service agreement or less human participation.
The future looks promising as technology might automate and replace tasks. That way, a smart building solution’s value would be delivered with lesser setup, training, and operation investment.