June 2013
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Lighting Control

Look to make lighting control part of an integrated system as part of the BAS for improved coordination, support and efficiency.

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

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Engineered Systems 
June Issue - Column


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Both new and existing building projects should have lighting control provided, either as part of a standalone system, or ideally integrated as part of the BAS.  But we often find that there are many reasons automated lighting control is not provided ranging from simple economics, to frustration with the programming and support of these systems. But recent and upcoming code changes are going to make this a requirement, so it is important to be up to speed on what is involved with the design and use of lighting control. 

There are several basics to lighting control in a commercial building these include:

We prefer to use a lighting control architecture that is highly distributed, and readily integrated.  These systems generally have a controller that is mounted in the zone, often in a junction box or directly to a fixture.  This controller is capable of doing local control functions (occupancy / vacancy control, daylight harvesting, bi-level control) as well as time of day scheduling and status through the BAS integration.  Options for connecting include wired, wireless and power-line carrier.  Most of these systems will readily integrate using open protocols such as BACnet. 

The current codes in place in most states have limited requirements for lighting control, which applies, primarily to new construction. As states change their energy codes to follow ASHRAE 90.1 2010 (or equal) the requirements for lighting control are going to become more stringent.  There are added requirements for automatic shutoff, daylight harvesting, and occupancy sensing as well as the control of exterior lights and even those in parking garages.  Other requirements include control of plug loads as well.  What is most interesting about the code changes is when it is mandated.  Changing as little as 10% of lights and ballasts will now require adherence to areas of the code related to automatic shutoff.  This is going to drive the need for fairly sophisticated lighting control in new projects and at least basic lighting control for existing buildings.

Reliable Controls The Energy Information Administration estimates that lighting accounts for 21% of energy use in commercial buildings.  Providing effective control can provide an important tool in improving energy efficiency, and will soon (if not already) be required in your state energy code.  Look to make lighting control part of an integrated system as part of the BAS for improved coordination, support and efficiency.


About the Authors

Paul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com  We also invite you to contact us directly at Paul@buildingintelligencegroup.com or ira@buildingintelligencegroup.com


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