As LED technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the world of lighting keeps on changing. And as more businesses and organizations embrace LED technology, they realize they can save even more money by installing automation and sensor technology in their spaces.
Lighting controls ensure that lights are only on when they need to be on and drastically change the way energy is consumed. When LED technology is combined with lighting controls, energy consumption radically goes down.
In this post, we’ll discuss how these technologies work and why they are ideal for every business, company, organization, and institution.
A Little About Lighting Controls
A good lighting design incorporates lighting controls. These controls play a crucial role in lighting systems as they automatically control the light output. The good thing about these controls is that you don’t have to worry about switching the lights on and off manually, like in the past.
Lighting controls – which include dimmers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, and timers – make your life easy and your lighting more flexible. You can significantly reduce energy consumption by using lighting controls in different rooms and spaces in a facility. You can also use the controls to change the mood and color of lighting. Here are some of the popular lighting controls available on the market.
Dimmers are usually connected to LED bulbs for the purpose of lowering the brightness of the light. They alter the voltage waveform applied on the bulb, lowering the intensity of the light output (lumen output). If you operate a business where the lighting mood and color are of utmost importance, dimmers can give you all the control you need.
Dimmers come in different sizes. There are dimmers as small as domestic light switches and high-powered units used in architectural and theatrical lighting. High-powered dimmers are usually controlled by digital control systems (some of which are used together with ethernet). New models of dimmers can connect to smart lighting systems, giving you the freedom to regulate the brightness of lights via any connected smart device.
You can adjust dimmers whenever you want to create the perfect setting for the activity you’re conducting. You can also use dimmers with timers to ensure your lighting follows a set pattern that fits your business operations perfectly.
When buying dimmers for LED fixtures, you must make sure that they are compatible – so that the dimming feature can function properly. The lighting experts at LED Lighting Supply can help you to choose the best dimmers for your LED fixtures or help you to pick dimmers and fixtures that work well together.
These are motion detecting devices that sense the presence of people and automatically control lighting systems. They switch on lights as soon as a person enters a room and switch them off if no motion is detected after a specified amount of time. They can lower energy usage by up to 45%.
Occupancy sensors are perfect for indoor spaces that are not frequently used like conference rooms, break rooms, bathrooms, stairwells, recreational rooms, laundry rooms, storage rooms, and lounge areas where people gather for limited times during the day. The sensors use 2 detection techniques to figure out if there is someone in a room: ultrasonic and infrared. Ultrasonic detection is based on sound while infrared detection makes use of heat and motion.
You may not know it, but daylight harvesting may be what your facility needs. Daylight harvesting refers to the way buildings are designed to gather and utilize natural daylight in building interiors, when it is available, in order to decrease the need for artificial lighting. And while green buildings are designed to optimize light and distribute it efficiently deeper into a building, daylight harvesting systems can benefit these buildings as well as older buildings.
A daylight harvesting system comprises photo sensors and dimmers to reduce the amount of artificial light needed to adequately illuminate a space. These lighting controls switch on the lights as soon as a facility isn’t sufficiently lit by sunlight, boosting energy savings.
Motion Sensors and Photo sensors (Photo detectors)
To cut down lighting costs, building owners usually install exterior motion sensors on outdoor lights, especially security lights. These sensors switch on the lights when they detect any motion nearby and turn the lights off if a few minutes elapse without any motion. They are perfect for outdoor areas that don’t need to be lit all the time.
Motion sensors are often used with photo sensors (photo detectors) that switch lights off as soon as they detect ambient light (like sunlight) and switch them on at night. These two types of sensors can lower energy consumption by a great margin as they only turn lights on if they detect any motion at night.
They are perfect for use with LED lighting which doesn’t take time to achieve full brightness. Lighting designers and contractors usually install photo sensors on LED night lights and motion sensors on lights located in low-traffic areas. Outdoors, is not uncommon to find a photo sensor installed on a shoebox fixture in a parking lot. Indoors, it is very common to find a motion sensor in a warehouse on a Bay fixture, dimming down the fixture in low traffic areas.
Vacancy sensors are similar to occupancy sensors in every way except that lights have to be turned on manually. The sensors are based on the idea that a person will manually turn on the lights once they enter a dark room. They only turn off lights if a room remains vacant for a specific period of time.
The good thing about these sensors is that lights will never be turned on unless they need to be on. They can be used in spaces that call for occupancy sensors. Vacancy sensors can be extremely useful in lowering energy usage as they make sure no lights are left on anywhere in a building.
Timer Switches (Timers)
Timers operate electric switches and are controlled by a timing mechanism. They can be used to turn indoor and outdoor lighting on and off automatically at specific times. They are useful for businesses that operate for specific hours each day as no one has to worry about the lights being left on. In outdoor settings, timers can be combined with photo sensors to ensure that lights are switched on only at night for a specific period of time.
Choose the Right Lighting Controls
Lighting controls can be very effective when used in commercial spaces, especially if they are combined with LED lighting. You can use one technology or combine several for the best results. If you want a more efficient system, you can invest in smart lighting and manage your lighting controls with ease. With a smart lighting system, you can manage your lights from any connected smart device.
LED Lighting Supply stocks various lighting controls that work very well with LED lighting. Give us a call and talk to one of our lighting designers. They’ll help you choose the best lighting controls for your building or construction project.
About the Author
Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.