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The Role Of Lighting In Smart Buildings

Oct 19, 2020

Lighting plays an important role in building infrastructure, and with advances in smart building technology, energy efficiency and lighting control are easier than ever before. Building Automation software (BAS) enables facility administrators to set lighting schedules, while dedicated lighting control systems also enable dimming controls and "daylight harvesting". When the outside light is high enough, close the lights near the Windows. These are the most common ways to try to manage lighting in buildings to save energy, but there are many more USES for lighting in smart buildings.


Internet of Things platforms such as Enlighted provide lighting controls that enable buildings to sense occupancy patterns and become more intelligent. The new lighting control has a small smart sensor that can be installed in lights and other places. Sensors can track movement, power use, ambient light and temperature and act as bluetooth beacons. In addition to the obvious benefits of energy savings, occupancy monitoring provides many more functions.

If every light in a building has a sensor, the captured data can help building managers make more informed decisions. Data from motion can show the frequency of use of space, the typical path through the building, and changes in ambient light and temperature throughout the day, helping to make smart buildings smarter.


How to use lighting technologies such as Enlighted and BAS?


Asset tracking


Beaconing technology can help track the way objects or people move through space. In an environment such as a hospital, caregivers may spend most of their time trying to find medical equipment. This can be significantly reduced by using a Bluetooth transceiver embedded in the lighting control, which tracks the type and location of the asset, thereby bringing staff to the nearest required items.


Covid-19 Solutions


In the current pandemic, there are multiple use cases that support smart lighting. The technology allows people to enter and leave buildings in a contactless manner, helps analyze movement patterns, and shows congested areas or paths that are often used. Staff tracking can also be supported to anonymously track people. The system can track all the people who have come into contact with an infected person and then send them alerts about potential risks so they can be tested.


Construction and maintenance


Being able to track occupancy can save money on cleaning services. Instead of cleaning each table at a set time, the data collected from the lights can inform you of which tables or areas your lighting staff will need to clean. This also applies to bathrooms. Send an alert for cleaning after a certain number of USES, rather than following a set schedule for cleaning.

User comfort


Measuring and improving control of all aspects of the indoor environment to make the building's inhabitants comfortable has become a top priority for building operators. User comfort is related to temperature, humidity, air quality, natural lighting and safety during a pandemic. Lighting controls that measure temperature and ambient light levels can help create a more comfortable environment, while also adjusting to a more environmentally friendly environment (mimicking the natural environment) based on circadian rhythms. As mentioned earlier, these sensors can also help inform residents about activities around them, so that they can safely maintain a distance from society, or know if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.


Better integration brings operational and energy efficiency advantages

Like all other building services installed in the building, lighting and its controls have historically been dealt with in "isolation" as a separate contract package with little regard for integration with other systems in the building. Even today, many lighting control systems offered for large commercial projects are fairly proprietary, but at least now use at least a standard lighting Facility level protocol called DALI, and provide an open standard protocol interface for BMS. It's usually BACnet IP. However, using a single point of interface between systems creates bottlenecks and increases integration costs. In the case of lighting control, there may be a delay problem (triggering events, such as the perceived delay between pressing a light switch and the required action taking place). An alternative is to integrate lighting controls with HVAC at the room level, such as those provided by Siemens DXR or Distech Eclypse controllers. This approach has many advantages and avoids a single system gateway.


Some lighting control vendors do offer more flexible integration options. As far as Enlighted is concerned, its products support REST-based apis that support GET, POST requests, XML, JSON responses, and BACnet integration. The value of tightly integrated lighting control is that the data from PIR hogs sensors and BLE beacons are now standard on smarter systems, which can then be used by other building systems to inform them of their behaviour, leading to operational and energy saving advantages.


Beyond the lighting


It is a mistake to treat lighting purely as a renovation project or as more efficient LED lighting. Internet of Things sensors could offer more. The future of lighting is not just automation, it expands the role of lamps as a means of communicating and collecting data. By taking advantage of the lighting infrastructure and combining it with the powerful BAS, your buildings can become more intelligent and your lighting can bring more perception to the interior space. In the future, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity will enable lighting to meet unlimited applications and data acquisition requirements.