Edward Lees, Senior Product Line Manager, Lighting Controls, Feilo Sylvania

We have been using basic lighting controls to effectively reduce energy bills for a while. Dimming lights with presence detectors and using daylight sensors to reduce light levels are both popular options to prevent wasting energy. Although these offer a simple entry into lighting controls, the systems lack interactivity with end users.

This type of lighting control is also often difficult to install requiring lots of new controls cabling or require extensive, complicated and expensive programming such as DALI. Once installed, the problems did not end there either. They offered limited flexibility to space changes thus becoming redundant in a relative short time which can lead to a poor user experience.

However, this is changing.

There are new solutions available today known as an intelligent, de-centralised lighting control. Such options place the lighting controls inside the luminaire at the point of manufacture and utilise wireless controls to not only control the lighting but also auto-commission the luminaire. They will provide an unparalleled controls experience without the need for extra cables or extensive programming, simply connect power and that’s it. This makes them a perfect choice for contractors as the installation can be completed efficiently and with minimal disruption to the client.

Feilo Sylvania is leading the market in de-centralised intelligent controls with its SylSmart enabled luminaires. With such luminaires, end users can save a further 68% on their energy usage compared to a non-controlled lighting system and represents significant on-site savings, as well as a much smoother specification, design, installation and commissioning process. Such systems also have the capability to adjust to changing surroundings, such as reconfiguring an office space with new partitioning, without any further programming.

With an array of sensors installed in the luminaires all across a building, we have a unique opportunity to extract data from each sensor to understand the operation of the building and the actions of the occupants within the building: their presence, movement patterns and typical behaviour. This data can then be collected on a secure cloud based platform where, using a web based browser, end users can gain insights into the actual usage of a building. The data can be turned into meaningful information empowering users to make further cost efficiencies across their estates on lighting consumption but then extend this beyond lighting to affect other systems to reduce energy and costs in other areas and provide insights into effective ESOS strategies for many years to come.

The benefits of having sensors built into the luminaires are also highlighted when it comes to maintenance and diagnostics. This type of lighting solution will speak to you and let you know when there is a problem. If a luminaire fails it will tell you why and, more importantly, it will tell you where it is in the building. This all happens in real time using notifications so maintenance can be undertaken and issues rectified quicker.

By installing this type of system, installers and contractors are not only saving energy for their clients but also reducing installation and on-going operating costs. However, the story does not end there. Contractors can also offer further savings to their clients beyond a simple reduction in energy consumption.

If building owners have access to real-time data on the occupancy of the office they can open and close entire floor areas where no presence is detected. According to AWA Research, this could equate to a 30% reduction in floor space and thus not only reduce lighting related energy use in that space but also that of any other using service in that area which could help reduce total energy consumption of the building by up to 30% compared to 7.5% by only installing the most energy efficient lighting. The same data can be used effectively to affect ancillary service costs such as cleaning, security. With no need to clean unused areas and less need for a security guard to patrol buildings, McKenzie research reports that savings of between 20% and 50% could be achieved.

It is estimated that the data acquired by a de-centralised intelligent lighting system can potentially deliver cost savings 7 to 12 times larger than lighting energy savings alone and allows end users to make decisions based on facts whilst also delivering maximum operating efficiencies.

For lighting controls to be adopted they must be easy to install and cause minimal disruption to the application area. To deliver true savings for the customer, the system should also ensure a respectable payback period, be intuitive and be easily customised without complex software or hardware.

For a simple, effective and intuitive system, installers and contractors should look for integrated controls. This streamlines the process, and delivers great results for the client.