Office Lighting Controls Optimized for Occupancy

The other night — somewhere between midnight and 1 AM — I woke up and 
couldn't get back to sleep. Figured I might as well burn a little 
midnight oil and make productive use of my insomnia.<br><br>Our hallways
 are lit with tiny LEDs embedded in the power outlets to cut down on 
stubbed toes. In the kitchen, soft lighting over the stove and sink 
allow even sleep-encrusted eyes to find the ON switch to my coffee pot.

Steve Maurer, IME

The other night — somewhere between midnight and 1 AM — I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Figured I might as well burn a little midnight oil and make productive use of my insomnia.

Our hallways are lit with tiny LEDs embedded in the power outlets to cut down on stubbed toes. In the kitchen, soft lighting over the stove and sink allow even sleep-encrusted eyes to find the ON switch to my coffee pot.

With hot coffee in hand, I made my way down to my office. Unfortunately, that's where the "smart lighting" stopped. Flipping the switch, the sudden glare from the overhead fixture blinded me... just for a second or two.

But a second or two was all it took to send hot coffee pouring down my nightshirt.

Ouch!

I've been amazed at the new energy efficient, user-friendly controls developed and already in place for open office areas.

According to recent studies done by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the U.S. commercial sector consumes more than a third of the total end-user electricity. And 26 percent of that is burned up in lighting. Fluorescent troffers account for more than 50% of installed commercial fixtures.

While more efficient than incandescent lighting, there are ways to cut back on energy consumption (and its monstrous energy price tag) by up to 75%.

Of course, LEDs already produce lower power consumption. But to get the most bang from your energy bucks, controlling them efficiently is key. Smart luminaires make this a reality, thanks to innovative wireless tech.

Fixtures enabled with wireless receivers can be programed individually or as a group. Combining dimming features with occupancy sensors, these smart fixtures light the way for your office workers as they enter and leave the office space.

But...

Unlike my home office, these fixtures are eyeball friendly. For example, when an office worker enters, the lights brightens up to "background" level, approximately 20%. Plenty of light to move around safely. Areas where workers are located ramp up to 100% or full lighting, while unoccupied stations remain at the background stage.

Now, you'd think that the lights jumping up and down would drive you crazy. However, the best systems have a delay, also called a dwell time, that allows people to walk through an area without ramping up the lights. When they do increase, the levels rise slowly enough to allow eyes to adjust.

No hot coffee burns from unexpected flashes of blinding light!


To save even more money on energy, some systems integrate with outdoor lighting, providing a balance between the two. Called "daylight harvesting," this maintains optimal lighting levels at minimized energy costs.

Need to program a customized scenario? Not a problem. The systems can be optimized with either a remote control or smartphone app.