Illuminating Efficiency: How Lighting Controls and LED Lighting Are Transforming Spaces

Posted by Brian Thumann on

Lighting plays a crucial role in our daily lives, affecting not only our comfort and productivity but also the bottom line for businesses and building owners as they grapple with higher expenses including energy costs.  In recent years, advancements in lighting controls and the adoption of LED lighting have revolutionized the way we illuminate our spaces, enhance workspaces and ergonomics and bolster the value of a building or facility. Let’s explore how these innovations are revolutionizing the way we live, work, and play.

Advancements in Lighting Controls

Smart Lighting Systems:  Modern lighting controls have evolved into intelligent systems that can be programmed and automated. These systems use sensors, timers, and occupancy detection to adjust lighting levels based on the specific needs of the space and time of day.

Wireless Connectivity:  Wireless technology has made it easier to install and manage lighting controls. Building managers can remotely monitor and adjust lighting settings, reducing the need for physical interventions.

Integration with Building Management Systems (BMS) or Building Automation Systems (BAS): Lighting controls can seamlessly integrate with BMS/BAS, allowing for centralized control of various building functions. This integration enhances overall building efficiency.  In the workspace, conference rooms can be reserved, and the lighting needed can be scheduled for that time period.  In the work from home or flex work schedule, lighting controls can help building owners, energy managers, facility managers and property managers adjust the lighting system throughout a single building or campus to provide the optimum lighting needed for occupancy and security requirements.

Saving Money and Reducing Maintenance Costs
Energy Savings: The ability to dim or turn off lights when they are not needed significantly reduces energy consumption. LED lighting, in particular, consumes far less energy (kilowatts) than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.  Longevity:  LED lights have a longer lifespan rating compared to traditional bulbs. This means fewer replacements and lower maintenance costs, service calls for building owners.

Enhancing Occupancy Comfort and Productivity
Personalized Lighting:  Lighting controls enable users to customize lighting to their preferences. In office settings, employees can adjust lighting levels at their workstations, leading to increased comfort and productivity.  People are different.  Some may thrive in a brightly lit area while others prefer more task-based lighting.  Furthermore, if outside light is an option, lighting controls can take advantage of natural light to create a more harmonious working environment.  Human-Centric Lighting:  Some lighting control systems mimic natural daylight patterns, which can improve mood and well-being, especially in spaces where people spend extended periods.

Optimizing Energy Efficiency
Daylight Harvesting: Lighting controls can automatically adjust artificial lighting levels based on the amount of natural light available. This optimizes energy use and reduces glare.  Demand Response: In commercial buildings, lighting controls can participate in utility demand response programs, reducing peak energy demand during high-use periods and saving on energy costs. Demand response program vary by utility, so building owners or property managers should check with their servicing utility on what options are available, what costs advantages may be available, the lead time or notice given by a utility that they will be curtailing an end user’s energy use.  Further, there are advantages and disadvantages that a customer must weigh when participating in a demand reposed program. 

Increasing Property Value
Sustainability Credentials:  Buildings equipped with advanced lighting controls and LED lighting are seen as more sustainable. This enhances their market value and attracts environmentally conscious tenants or building buyers.  Buildings with lighting controls and LED lighting tend to show better to prospective tenants or buyers.  Lighting is often uniform in its appearance (as opposed to different color lighting hues or flickering lighting).  And, by have a lighting control system already in place, that technology is seen as an important “Value add”.   Touched on earlier, Energy Efficiency is often achieved via lighting controls and led lighting.   Certifications like U.S. GBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) often require efficient lighting systems. Achieving these certifications can significantly boost a property's value.

Advancements in lighting controls and the widespread adoption of LED lighting have transformed the way we illuminate our spaces. These innovations not only save money and reduce maintenance costs but also enhance occupant comfort and productivity. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in optimizing energy efficiency and increasing property value for building owners. As the lighting industry continues to evolve, it's clear that the future of illumination is not just brighter but also smarter and more sustainable.  PBJ is pleased to offer a series of FREE Lighting Control training courses to help you better understand the technology and their advantages.  The Lighting Control series consists of three easy to understand courses: Introduction to Lighting Controls | Introduction to Dimming | Daylight-Responsive Lighting Controls.  PBJ is proud to be a training provider of the Lighting Controls Association.  These courses are just a sampling of the full lighting controls series available through Lighting Controls Association which attendees may take and opt to register and sit for the NALMCO’s Certified Lighting Controls Professional (CLCP Certification) exam.