Wireless lighting control

July 18, 2019 by Andrew Lippman, director, international marketing - commercial, Lutron Electronics
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Wireless lighting control

Wireless lighting controls offer an exciting future in the building management industry. While the technology is not knew, with the first wireless patents being filed in the 90s, we are only now realising the range of benefits truly wireless technology can bring to facilities managers.

Building managers have already seen realised real savings of switching to LEDs following the halogen ban, however, this is only the start. The difference now is that wireless systems are now simple and scalable and the savings are more tangible. With the industry increasingly focusing on experience, it’s imperative that manager look for solutions that not only save time and money, but also help ensure that their building’s occupants are comfortable, secure and happy in the long-term.
 
One of the most important developments for those looking to drive efficiency is connectivity, whether it’s in commercial or residential settings. For building managers, connectivity means they monitor, adjust and control their systems from smart devices. They can regulate lighting based on building churn, improve occupant comfort, and crucially improve energy efficiency in real-time. These connected, simple and scalable solutions are now crucial for new and existing buildings. The future is connected, and there is one technology that can support this revolution: wireless control.

Simple to install
 

There is a global trend in commercial and industrial settings, towards comfortable, simple and scalable lighting control solutions. This is driven by wireless communications technologies which are increasingly easy to access.
 
Often building managers are put off installing lighting control systems due to the cost and disruption they assume they will face. However, wireless lighting systems with little to no cabling are now readily available. This saves time and also offers the building managers energy savings of up to 60 percent. There are additional indirect cost saving benefits for building managers, who need fewer materials compared to putting wired connections in place. Likewise, there is a considerable labour saving with wireless systems, freeing up the installers’ time and allowing them to complete more jobs.

Suitable for new and existing buildings
 

A common misconception is that lighting control is only for new buildings. The reality is that existing buildings account for billions of square metres of potential lighting retrofits. With wireless technology, retrofitting is possible in even heritage buildings, where traditional wiring is impossible.
 
As of April 2018, new EPC regulations have came into play for all building retrofits. These demand landlord’s premises meet a minimum energy standard, meaning retrofitted office must be remodelled in the most efficient way possible. Lighting controls can help, however, traditional lighting controls often require extensive new wiring, which is expensive and disruptive to the space.
 

Comfortable for occupants

When retrofitting a space with lighting control, it’s vital to ensure you are not just simply replacing the old system and matching the light levels. Most commercial spaces are actually overlit, so this is the perfect time to ensure that the space – and its occupants – are receiving the right level of light. Overlit rooms alone are hugely inefficient and can account for a significant part of a buildings total energy consumption. Indeed, according to the EIA, lighting is the largest end use of electricity in commercial buildings, and overlit rooms are a large part of that.


Connected and adjustable lighting control is a great way to avoid this, and it will not only save energy and money, but it will also make occupants more comfortable. By having insight into the use of light consumption in each room, energy managers can make informed decisions and reduce energy consumption without any negative side effects.
 

Adaptable, scalable and easy to maintain
 

Another benefit of wireless lighting controls is their adaptability. Functions of spaces are constantly changing, and in environments such as university campuses or offices, these alterations need to happen quickly, without making any physical modifications to the room. As space needs change, the lighting can quickly be modified. For example, if a laboratory becomes a lecture theatre, or conference room becomes an open-plan office, a good lighting control system can be easily adjust with a few touches on a keypad. The ability to create or modify lighting scenes with simple controls can completely revolutionise a space. In addition, as a campus or office space grows, these solutions must scale to fit the need, without additional wiring or installation time.


As lighting control systems adapt and improve, so should the ease of maintaining these systems for the customer. Having systems that give real-time feedback will improve productivity and efficiency, not just for maintenance, but also to help minimise downtime and disruption for the building’s occupants. This level of analysis is also vital for energy efficiency. If systems are working sub-optimally, they can waste energy or cause knock-ons to the rest of the system. Managers need to give their maintenance and energy teams the ability to make changes and improve efficiency with as little time, energy and effort as possible
 
The introduction of wireless lighting control technologies open greater possibilities for energy savings, building productivity, and occupant comfort. Today, managers in building and industry need lighting control solutions that take advantage of these advances to keep their edge and to ensure tenant satisfaction. By doing so they can save time and money, reduce energy consumption, and assure that building occupants are happier and more productive.

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