Interesting word, smart. It means so many things to so many people. Obviously, we naturally think of intelligence. When used with lighting, energy control, and commercial building use, intelligence certainly fits.

Commercial Smart Dimming Strategies

Steve Maurer, IME
Interesting word, smart.

It means so many things to so many people. Obviously, we naturally think of intelligence. When used with lighting, energy control, and commercial building use, intelligence certainly fits.

However, intelligence also carries many nuances of meaning. Some of them are:

  • Intelligent use of resources, including monetary and natural resources
  • Intelligence when allowing people to work productively
  • Intelligent use of building space, an interesting way of configuring workspace
Another term — IoT or Internet of Things — provides even more insight into the "smart" implementation of lighting and resources in the three instances mentioned above and so many more.
In fact, I've come to view IoT in another "light" or frame of reference: The Intelligence of Measuring and Monitoring.

Intelligent building design or redesign
One interesting benefit of IoT in measuring and controlling lighting use is that of monitoring and controlling building space use as well.

By monitoring how often a room’s lighting is turned on and off, commercial and retail building owners can use that information to calculate a room's actual usage. It could be that a conference room, for example, isn't used for meetings as much as anticipated. In fact, it could be that the room might be better reconfigured for a more useful purpose.

In effect, using lighting solutions that incorporate IoT allow us to design or redesign smarter building spaces that are more efficiently and profitably used. View video

Human-centric lighting: a key player in worker productivity
The study of human centric lighting is still ongoing. But there is evidence that by giving employees more control over their personal environment, you give them the potential to increase their personal productivity.

Lighting design shouldn't take a "one size fits all" or cookie cutter approach. Personal lighting preferences may fall into various categories and for various reasons, such as:
  • The type of work being done (complex or intricate assembly vs simpler tasks)
  • Where the work is being done (work on a computer monitor vs on paper)
  • And the age or physical attributes of the person doing the work (think "young" vision as opposed to "old" eyes, like mine)
As mentioned, the research is still ongoing. But according to one European study, individual worker productivity can be improved to the tune of one or more hours per month. That may not sound like much.

But extrapolated over a company's entire workforce, the results can be astounding. A holistic, human-centric approach is definitely a "smart lighting" choice for improving worker productivity and cost effectiveness.

That approach must include smart dimming strategies as well. And a smart dimming strategy lends itself well to the first concept mentioned: intelligent use of resources, including natural lighting.

Smart dimming strategies work with, not against, "Mother Nature"
In what seems like the "distant past," lighting control was binary: either on or off. With the invention of the first dimming switches, control became more linear, more adjustable.

With today's technology, lighting control has become almost intuitive and self-aware. As a result, it's possible to collaborate with "Mother Nature" in controlling light and, as a result, controlling our energy consumption. You no longer raise or dim the lighting because of natural light levels. You control lighting levels in cooperation with them.

Using hardware and software solutions such as those provided by Lutron, for example, smarter dimming strategies can be deployed. Strategies that not only increase worker productivity, but also improve our use of free natural lighting and thus decrease our utility bills in the process.

Smarter dimming strategies and lighting control: the future of intelligent use of natural resources, building space, along with a human-centric approach for increased employee productivity and comfort.

The IoT lighting control options and smarter dimming strategies enable more intelligent, cost effective energy consumption while enhancing the end-user experience.

View article: The Remarkable Business Case for Human Centric Lighting
Photo courtesy of Lutron Electronics
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