Defining the Networked Lighting Control System

Simplify With Networked Lighting Controls

Facility Executive, December 23, 2016

Facility managers have a duty to deliver high-quality, reliable solutions to their customers/occupants in the most cost-effective manner possible. To do so, they must have a broad understanding of the tools and solutions available to maximize the operational efficiency of the buildings they manage. This is often accomplished by streamlining processes and solutions that effectively respond to inputs and outputs from various devices. When it comes to lighting, networked lighting control systems help to achieve this goal.

On average, lighting accounts for nearly 40% of a commercial building’s electrical consumption. Therefore, it is an area that offers the largest opportunity for saving energy and the associated operating costs. Facility managers understand the benefits of networked lighting control systems that offer advanced, flexible, and cost-effective solutions to manage lighting spaces. When implemented properly, networked lighting control solutions can help maximize the overall operational efficiency in buildings.

Until recently, lighting control systems were comprised of relay panels with low voltage switches, connected to some form of scheduling or time clock. This technology limited communication and the amount of data that could be exchanged.

Today, lighting control systems can be network based solutions that are intelligent, addressable, centralized, and feature two-way communication.

Intelligent: It is programmable and capable of decision-making. This allows control strategies to execute various sequences of operation based on certain conditions, such as time of day and occupancy.

Addressable: All controllers are connected within a network, and each has a unique IP address. This allows the controllers to be programmed individually or in groups, with control zones as granular as individual luminaires.

Centralized: All devices communicate with each other through a central server.  From a single workstation, an operator can manage the lighting throughout a building or campus.

Two-way communication: Detailed power and energy usage data is documented, enabling operators to analyze system performance and efficiency, and to fine-tune the system to increase energy savings. Some systems can automatically generate notifications of problems or issues that should be addressed, including maintenance.

These four functions make it possible for facility managers to customize lighting operations based on the makeup and architecture of a building. By nature, lighting control systems are inherently robust. When properly programmed based on distinct needs, lighting control systems offer significant cost and energy savings, improved occupant comfort, and increased functionality for operators.

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