Can Lighting Control Systems Reduce Energy without Affecting Occupant Comfort or Productivity?

October 1, 2015

This is a claim commonly made by lighting control companies – that a specific lighting control system will save 30, 40, 50% or more on energy costs, immediately, and without any negative impact on building occupant wellbeing.

Overall it is true enough – advanced lighting control systems do deliver enormous and immediate energy savings. However, like the auto industry likes to say – your mileage may vary when it comes to how much a new lighting system will impact occupant comfort and productivity.

I have been an engineer in the lighting industry for 37 years. I have seen a wide range of lighting systems deliver efficiency improvements for building owners—but it doesn’t always turn out well for the building occupants.

Here is a recent story that demonstrates how Enlighted is different when it comes to putting occupant comfort and productivity first:

Recently, Enlighted asked me to photograph the interiors of 3 different building projects. I went to each project, and at each building an employee came up to me and thanked me for the lighting control system. I have been in this business 37 years and no one has ever come up to me and thanked me for the lighting control system.

Each person basically said the same thing. That at certain times of day, the contrast between daylight coming through the windows, paperwork on the desk, and the light from the monitor, was causing people to get migraine headaches. However, by adjusting the lighting configurations only for the areas where daylighting levels were causing contrast issues, the building occupants were able to maintain healthy light levels, and everyone’s headaches went away. The change took about 5 minutes, including logon, with the Enlighted System.

I thought this was great—and it drove home for me, again, the importance of having lighting systems that are highly responsive to the needs of building occupants. Not only did these folks feel better, their productivity levels almost certainly improved as well.

Philip Hall is CALCTP Certified California Lighting Control Acceptance Test Technician and an Applications Engineer at Enlighted Inc.

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