Lighting Controls in the Time of Low Lighting Power by James R. Benya - Energy Watch News

Lighting Controls in the Time of Low Lighting Power by James R. Benya

There was a time when lighting was not controlled well, if at all, but that was 1973. With current technology and new construction codes, the primary causes of poor lighting control today are bad design, unenforced codes, and worst of all, improper commissioning. By requiring certified controls acceptance testing, California’s Title 24 significantly improves the likelihood that controls will be built per code and work as designed. Now what? Meanwhile industry, looking ahead to develop new products that can offer irresistible benefits, still defaults to the efficiency drumbeat. But with the current codes this means trying to save only a few milliwatt-hours of energy per square foot, because the big savings are already being produced by occupancy/vacancy sensors, manual switching and dimming, and daylight harvesting. It’s reasonable to doubt that additional savings can be achieved cost effectively, especially when lighting power density will soon be less than 0.35 w/sf for most non-retail space types. If you can’t save energy and controls already can easily dim and change color, what other new tricks can “smart” controls perform that building owners understand, care about, and will pay for?

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