The Benefits of Advanced Lighting Controls

Advanced commercial lighting controls offer impressive benefits and energy savings. Once the purview of programmers and engineers, most of today’s networked lighting systems can be customized by anyone who knows how to use a cell phone. While these systems aren’t cheap, they allow connected light fixtures to be dimmed, grouped, monitored, and diagnosed remotely—saving time and resources for more important projects.

Give Me the Remote

A high school facilities manager finally sits down to relax on the couch after a busy week, when she gets the call. The school dance just started, and the lights aren’t low enough. Instead of rushing back over to campus, she puts her vice principal on speakerphone and pulls up an app that lets her adjust the auditorium’s light levels remotely. With a few swipes of her finger, she’s saved the day and still has time to enjoy her evening.

Controls and Sensors: Better Together

Lighting controls and integrated sensors are like peanut butter and chocolate: better together. The sensors on each fixture detect motion and daylight levels, and the controls let you program lighting changes in response. Newer models go far beyond “on/off” to let you customize light levels—useful for staff who don’t like bright overheads, or as a security deterrent for alleys that need a bit of illumination at all times. You can also assign lights to different zones if you want groups of fixtures to respond in the same way.

  • Reduce energy bills with occupancy and daylight sensors
  • Optimize light levels to improve productivity or security
  • Group fixtures for a synchronized response
  • Defer maintenance and extend the life of your fixtures

Watch the Lighting Controls Overview Training presented by Efficiency Vermont.

Become an Instant Energy Expert

Did you know that most people won’t register a 20 percent reduction in lighting levels? Or that you can program networked lights to turn off faster after someone leaves a room? Advanced lighting systems let you use these and other tricks to save on energy costs that add up over time. Energy savings reports tell you how much energy your building has saved year-over-year. Heatmapping features let you study which spaces are being utilized and which are lying dormant. Advanced systems can “talk” to your HVAC systems to minimize ventilation when areas are unoccupied, saving even more energy.

  • Test small changes in light output for big results
  • Run reports to compare year-over-year usage
  • Sync lighting and HVAC systems to maximize energy savings

Track ‘Til the Cows Come Home

One of the lesser known features of an advanced lighting system is its ability to manage other business assets, which can provide benefits in a variety of ways. A Vermont cattle farm could use networked lights to track bovine runaways. By linking the lighting system to tracking devices in your cattles’ collars, you can locate cows based on their proximity to individual light fixtures. In Arizona, airport facilities staff used networked lights to track wayward wheelchairs, saving over $2 million a year.

  • Link your networked system to asset management systems
  • Quickly pinpoint lost assets to recoup costs


How to Choose the Right Lighting System

Before selecting a new lighting controls system, you’ll want to consider your organization’s goals, timeline, and budget. For advanced systems, you’ll also need to discuss plans with your contractor and internal stakeholders such as IT. Efficiency Vermont can help you review your options to determine the best fit for your organization’s needs.