Technology Corner: Luminaire Level Lighting Controls

Luminarire Level Hero_2015As energy codes and energy efficiency goals become more demanding, there is a need to maximize energy savings from commercial lighting systems. While traditional lighting control strategies can yield considerable benefits, Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC) show promise of both easier installation and commissioning and deeper energy savings beyond other lighting controls.

Rather than a conventional approach where lighting control zones are defined and controlled as a unit, the LLLC strategy incorporates a complete set of sensors (occupancy, daylight, user tuning, and even air temperature) into each luminaire. Then each fixture becomes a micro zone, capable of responding to small changes in the area under each luminaire. Some of these systems use innovative methods of communicating and self-commissioning such as wireless radio or even infrared signals to create connectivity within the system. This level of granularity can yield significant savings. Other benefits of using LLLC include flexibility, granular control, easier commissioning, and occupant comfort and space utilization. A feasibility study, published in 2012 by Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, demonstrated 30-50 percent energy savings with high levels of end user satisfaction.

The Design Lights Consortium will publish a Qualified Product List in early 2016 for Advanced Lighting Controls, and a special designation on the list will report whether the product meets the LLLC specification. In the wild west of lighting controls, this list should help trade allies to select controls systems with the appropriate and cutting-edge capabilities, and install and commission those systems with new training materials from manufacturers, the Design Lights Consortium and an advanced lighting training coming to the Northwest region in 2016. More details will be posted on the Northwest Lighting Network.

For more resources on lighting controls, visit nwlightingnetwork.com/tools and download our Advanced Lighting Controls System and Luminaire Level Lighting Controls lighting layout guides.