Sunday, June 23, 2024

Lighting: A Smart Approach to Energy Use

The installation of a smart lighting system has the ability to deliver huge energy savings in buildings of all uses and sizes. In this article we speak with Chris Anderson, Technical Manager at Ansell Lighting who highlights the many benefits of the technology, exploring its ability to revolutionise energy use throughout the built environment.

Accounting for almost 40% of all energy used in commercial buildings in the UK, lighting is a significant source of energy consumption and can have a huge impact on organisational sustainability and operating costs.

Given its considerable effects, efforts to enhance lighting installations with the latest, efficient technologies are paramount in today’s world, if energy use is to be optimised and buildings efficiently run.

Alongside the use of LED’s, which use 80% less energy than traditional bulbs alone,
when it come to the pursuit of more efficient and sustainable lighting solutions, smart lighting is a must. Harnessing the power of automation, connectivity, and intelligent control, it has the potential to reduce lighting energy use by up to two thirds, providing energy-efficient, sustainable, and adaptive illumination at the touch of a button.

At the core of its offering is the fact that smart lighting enables every single detail of lighting, both indoors and out, to be programmed and automated, ensuring that energy is used only where and when it is needed. From the timings of operation to the colour, brightness, intensity, and combinations of lamps in use, smart technology allows organisations to programme and control the output of every individual light fitting in their building down to the most minute detail, meaning that energy use is controlled to this exact level too.

Its agility and controllability mean that smart lighting can be used to illuminate any type of space from offices and classrooms, to storage areas, car parks and outdoor recreational spaces.  It is particularly effective where lighting requirements change regularly and in buildings that are being used sporadically. Here, fittings with motion or presence/absence detection sensors can be seamlessly integrated into smart lighting systems, enhancing functionality further in areas where lighting needs are more responsive. Such technology eliminates any reliance on human intervention, making issues such as unnecessarily leaving lighting switched on, a thing of the past.

Smart lighting systems can also offer real health and wellness benefits to staff and other building users. Light is one of the biggest influences on circadian rhythm, which controls the natural 24-hour cycle of sleep, wake, hunger, alertness, hormone release and body temperature experienced by humans. By setting ‘scenes’ to mimic the pattern of natural lighting indoors, it can be used to enhance circadian rhythm – our body’s natural internal clock – resulting in improved focus and productivity during the day and fewer sleep disturbances at night.

Despite it being an advanced technology, another major benefit of smart lighting is that it is incredibly easy to fit and install, causing minimal disruption to ongoing operations. Operating wirelessly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, systems are controlled and hosted on the cloud, so there is no hub or wiring required and most units are simply installed like a lamp or switch. These user-friendly interfaces and intuitive installation processes ensure that businesses can seamlessly transition to smart lighting without significant downtime, making it an ideal option for a wide range of settings.

Smart lighting systems are also incredibly easy to use and operate and are controlled via remote control, app, voice or by using an ecosystem such as Hey Google or Amazon Alexa. They also provide real benefits when it comes to measuring and monitoring energy use. Controls such as dashboard monitors provide a visual display of a building’s lighting system in real time, supporting organisations to monitor usage and identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary wastage. They can also be used to carry out maintenance testing. Instigating tests automatically and wirelessly, they can highlight remotely whether an individual luminaire or driver is operating outside of expected operational parameters.

When it comes to energy optimisation in the lighting arena, smart lighting is an exceptional technology and its benefits clear to see. Offering substantial consumption and cost reductions, it is an essential choice for organisations seeking to improve sustainability, reduce environmental impact and maximize energy efficiency.

Further Articles