Smart Lighting Effectively Reduces Energy Consumption

Lighting costs account for 10 to 12% of national energy usage and up to 30% of your home or business’ electricity bill. So abundant has energy usage associated with lighting become that most countries are moving towards adoption of CFL and LED alternatives and a cessation to the production of the much-loved incandescent light; a move that saves the EU between €5-€10 billion annually. Even so, leaving lights on (especially in large office and warehouse spaces) accounts for an enormous amount of wasted energy each year. The solution? Smart lighting.

Industry and office solutions

Smart lighting is a complete lighting system designed for energy efficiency. In North America, 22% of energy consumed by industry is dedicated to lighting. In order to reduce the lighting costs associated with industry, a holistic approach looks at all aspects of lighting in industrial and office settings. All areas of the work space are analysed to ascertain lighting requirements. Brighter lights in work areas are augmented with lower wattages in hallways and storage areas. Energy efficient lighting options like CFLs and LEDs are utilized throughout the building and combined with load shedding. Natural lighting is used whenever possible. New building designs incorporate as much natural lighting as possible combined with energy efficient windows to preserve high levels of insulation.

Smart control technology is a form of building automation that centralizes control of lighting. Light sensors are used to dim or increase lighting as the natural light changes throughout the day or with the weather. They also allow for scheduling so that lights can be turned off after hours. Motion sensors or passive infrared sensors register occupancy and adjust the lighting accordingly.

Motion sensors measure movement while passive infrared sensors register the change in temperature when a person enters the room. Both of these devices have their limitations if their range is obscured by furniture or other items. In this instance, ultrasonic sensors work best. These ingenious sensors emit frequencies of sound beyond those of human hearing. The device sends out sound waves and monitors the time it takes for them to return. Breaks in the pattern, for instance when a person enters the room, turn the lights on or off. Ultrasonic sensors have a 360° range and can be hooked into the HVAC systems as well. Shutting down HVAC systems after hours can save huge amounts of energy for large industries and office spaces.

Home solutions

Place motion sensor lighting in areas that get little traffic like the basement. When someone forgets to turn a light off in these areas, it can stay on for days. If you place motion sensors in busy hallways or areas that get a lot of traffic you will be saving about 90% on each light bulb. That means if the average light costs you $16 a year in energy, adding a motion sensor will reduce that cost to only $1.60. Your light bulbs will also last longer. With the average motion sensor kit costing about $15, you will get your money back in just over a year.

The ecoENERGY initiative is an Ontario government fund which reimburses home and business owners for energy efficient home improvements. You can receive an ecoENERGY retrofit grant for improvements to your lighting.


Energy Efficiency

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