Maximize Energy Savings
with Lighting Controls
SOLID STRATEGIES TO SLASH YOUR ENERGY SPEND
and Analytics at Lutron Electronics, describes
a similar project that helped a Portland,
OR, engineering office deliver energy consumption that was 70% more efficient than
Oregon’s already strict energy code.
Ready to deliver similar savings for your
facility? Start by investigating controls.
Focus on Effective, Non-Invasive Retrofits
You don’t have to launch a wide-scale
remodeling project to take advantage of
lighting controls. Wall switch occupancy
sensors are one of the most cost-effective
“Certain codes and standards, like IECC
and ASHRAE 90.1, serve as resources for what
controls should be used in each space type,”
Arbouw explains. “Over time these codes and
standards have matured and provide tried and
is making sure lighting controls enhance how
the space is operated rather than interfering
Wireless control retrofits are often a
solution for existing buildings, especially in
spaces where traditional installation is difficult, adds Bruce Bharat, Director of Product
Marketing for Acuity Controls. Office, education and healthcare applications in particular
may have hard ceilings or regulations preventing occupants from entering the ceiling.
Avoid Unnecessary Complexity
Don’t be tempted to put in more control
than you need. Protzman recommends
starting with energy code requirements as
a baseline, even if you’re not kicking off a
major renovation that would force you to
bring the lighting system up to current code.
“Even just looking at the code require-
ments for new construction is great for giv-
ing you a rule of thumb on what’s considered
a cost-effective solution,” Protzman explains.
“All energy codes have to go through a pro-
cess to understand the cost viability for proj-
ects, so if they’re recommending occupancy
sensing in the restroom, that’s probably a
Retrofits for many applications utilize the
same few devices, Protzman says: daylight or
occupancy sensors, area- or fixture-level con-
trols and a master device to provide central-
ized control for all of the components. Using
fixtures with wireless-capable occupancy and
daylight sensors built in “removes the guess-
work required for renovation jobs and mini-
mizes the risk of miswiring,” adds Bharat.
Set Yourself Up for Future Success
As you investigate lighting controls, ask
vendors about the long-term maintenance of
the system. Your immediate lighting quality
and energy needs are important, but so is
being able to expand or upgrade later when
space layouts or occupant needs change.
“Don’t invest in a 15-year asset that will
be the same in year 15 as it was on the same
day you installed it,” Bharat says. “Also, ditch
the remote control. They’re expensive and
easily lost, but more importantly, they’re not
the best user interfaces for modern lighting
controls. They provide no security over who
can manage and configure the network.”
Scalability also affords you the chance
to build up your lighting controls retrofit as
your budget allows. Protzman recommends
retrofitting a few rooms or a wing of one
floor at a time, making sure you’re satisfied,
and then expanding as you’re able.
Janelle Penny email@example.com
is Senior Editor of BUILDINGS.
Reducing your lighting-related energy spend doesn’t have to require a big upfront invest- ment or a long wait for a return. Lighting controls are increasingly
easy to integrate, and installing and commissioning them correctly can yield an energy
savings of 30-50% over spaces with no controls installed, explains Terry Arbouw, Director
of Business Development and Product
Innovation at Hubbell Control Solutions.
Paired with a lighting retrofit, that number
can climb even higher. One recent client of
Arbouw’s involved a simultaneous retrofit of
both lighting and controls at Karl Chevrolet
in Ankeny, IA. Retrofitting the expansive
car lot slashed energy use at the facility
by 74%, saving $143,000 a year on energy
QUICK REFERENCE: CONTROL TYPES
Occupancy sensors: Detect sound or motion to determine whether a space is occupied and either dim
or turn off lights accordingly. Similarly, vacancy sensors detect the lack of a presence.
Motion sensors: Simple sensors that turn lights on for a short time in response to movement. Useful for
security and utility lights.
Dimmers: Allow users to adjust lighting levels in a space to fit individual needs.
Light sensors/photocells: Dim or turn off lighting when daylight is detected. Commonly used around
the perimeter of a space.
Time clock controls: Schedule when lights go on and off and set lighting levels for different times of
day. Some also respond to sensors or switches.