Lighting-Control Systems Evolve with Technology: Improved Connectivity and Growing LED Choices Drive Sophisticated Solutions

By Lorenzi, Neal | Health Facilities Management, November 2018 | Go to article overview

Lighting-Control Systems Evolve with Technology: Improved Connectivity and Growing LED Choices Drive Sophisticated Solutions


Lorenzi, Neal, Health Facilities Management


The capabilities of lighting-control systems have evolved beyond adjusting output and turning lights on and off. Today's systems can adjust light-source color, including shades of white light, and generate data by measuring and monitoring. They also offer a digital pathway to new "internet of things"-enabled services and are part of many building automation systems (BASs).

The advantages of lighting-control systems are well-documented. By reducing lighting time, intensity or zoning, lighting controls reduce both demand and energy consumption. According to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, lighting-control strategies produce 24-38 percent energy savings, which reduces building operation costs.

In fact, the majority of state commercial-building energy codes require a wide range of lighting controls in new construction. In existing construction, the controllability of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting results in an ideal pairing with controls, combining to minimize energy costs, according to the Lighting Controls Association (LCA), Rosslyn, Va.

Special challenges

Hospitals pose special challenges to suppliers of lighting-control systems, ranging from stringent code-compliance requirements to a wide variety of lighting types, depending on the room usage. There also is the challenge of determining how lighting-control upgrades impact a hospital's business strategy. Lighting-control systems must be able to adapt to evolving technological needs.

The newest systems can help health care facility managers meet these challenges and keep up with the ever-evolving needs of patients and staff. Among new lighting-control systems available to hospitals, the SmartCast Intelligence Platform from Cree Inc., Durham, N.C., provides LED lighting, automated control, data-enabled analytics and an integrated building solution.

"The platform turns data from the LED lighting system into actionable insights that solve major issues faced by facility managers," says Tom Hinds, director of intelligent lighting at Cree. "This includes reducing the lighting energy spend by more than 70 percent and identifying unoccupied rooms for nurses and doctors."

Another innovation is the LumaWatt Pro wireless connected lighting system from Eaton, Peachtree City, Ga., which helps hospitals maximize energy savings by incorporating a distributed network of smart LED lighting fixtures with wireless sensing capabilities. The system captures real-time data on lighting energy performance, space utilization, asset tracking and building system integration.

"The Enlighted Space application, powered by data collected via LumaWatt Pro sensors, allows facility managers to understand how their space is being used, improve productivity and optimize their actual building usage by ensuring that rooms are used to their maximum output," says Jaiganesh Balasubramanian, product manager of lighting solutions--systems at Eaton.

Eaton also offers a distributed low-voltage power (DLVP) system that combines power, LED lighting and controls into one energy code-compliant solution. DLVP is suitable for health care facilities that have repeated spaces and matching configurations such as doctors' offices, urgent care and rehabilitation centers.

Color control

LEDs allow facility managers to adjust lighting color and correlated color temperature (CCT). For example, tunable white LED products--featuring separately dimming arrays of warm- and cool-white LEDs--allow users to adjust a light source's CCT. Other colors may be added to enhance the available color spectrum and ensure good color rendering.

Two other approaches are dim-to-warm (LED products that dim to a warm white similar to incandescent dimming) and full-color tuning (separately dimmable red, green and blue LEDs plus amber or white, and other potential colors).

With tunable white-lighting technology, the lighting system can be programmed to mimic a 24-hour cycle in an indoor space, according to Rahul Shira, senior marketing manager of lighting controls, software and internet of things systems, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Somerset, N. …

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