Lighting Control Strategies and Retrofits

The Lighting Controls Association’s Craig DiLouie, LC, contributed an article about lighting control strategies and how they apply to existing buildings for FACILITIES MAINTENANCE DECISIONS, which republished it on their website. You can read it here.

Lighting Controls Association Updates EE300: Lighting Control for LEDs

Education Express imageThe Lighting Controls Association (LCA) has updated its popular Education Express course EE300: Lighting Control of LEDs, with all new content describing LED sources are controlled.

Education Express provides in-depth education about lighting controls and controllable ballast technology, application, system design and commissioning.

LED technology delivers exceptional opportunities for lighting control application. However, due to differences in how LEDs operate, controlling LED products differs from traditional light sources. This course provides a working understanding of control methods for LED lighting products and how to integrate these methods into modern lighting design.

Authored by Kevin Willmorth, EE300 is divided into four parts. Part 1 offers an overview of LED drivers and power supplies and the impact of control functions on LED light output, efficacy, life, dimmer expectations and flicker behavior. Part 2 shows how single-color white light LED products can be controlled within conventional wired control architectures. Part 3 explores wireless controls advanced control physical layers and protocols applicable to modern solid-state and digital lighting applications. And Part 4 describes LED color how controls impact color performance of LED products, and methods used to control color and shade of white light.

At the conclusion of each part, an optional online comprehension test is available, with automatic grading; a passing grade enables the student to claim education credit. EE300 is accredited/registered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education System (CES), which recognizes 10.5 Learning Units (LU)/Health, Safety, Welfare (HSW) credits; and the National Council on Quality in the Lighting Professions (NCQLP), which recognizes 10.5 LEUs towards maintenance of the Lighting Certified (LC) certification.

Founded in 2006, Education Express serves more than 25,000 students, who have benefited from more than 200,000 completions of learning modules and more than 130,000 comprehension tests taken online, enabling them to earn education credit.

To take the course, click the Education Express button on the upper right side of this page.

OSRAM SYLVANIA Announces Wireless Area Lighting Controller for ENCELIUM Energy Management System

ALC Final 81f4a2e5-c5a6-4790-b435-990593940221OSRAM SYLVANIA is expanding the capabilities of the ENCELIUM® Energy Management System (EMS) with the new wireless Area Lighting Controller (WALC) which allows a group of lighting devices to communicate via a wireless mesh network based on ZigBee® standards.

The WALC connects groups of 0-10V dimmable luminaires for group dimming or switching applications. The sensor terminal block allows direct connection of dual tech sensors or other low voltage sensors to the wireless network for battery elimination or additional functionality. The GreenBus II port allows integration of ENCELIUM GreenBus II products into the wireless network for tailored lighting experiences, such as GreenBus II wired wallstations, relay panels or phase cut dimming applications.

The versatile 20A WALC is unique in the market with its universal voltage operation (120-347V input), UL 924 emergency rating, and rugged design so it can control a range of applications from emergency lighting to extreme conditions with temperatures as low as -40ºF. It is also available with a damp rating for installations subject to moderate degrees of moisture such as basements and parking garages, as well as partially protected locations under canopies, marquees and roofed open porches. The WALC was also recognized by the IES Progress Report 2015 and can be used for plug loads to meet Title 24.

Individually addressable with the ENCELIUM Energy Management System (EMS), the WALC switches a single-wired zone of multiple luminaires ON or OFF via an integral high current relay while setting the zone’s overall light level through the control wiring of a fixtures’ dimmable ballasts or LED drivers. The high current rating of the WALC allows the system to switch an entire circuit of electrical loads or plug loads, eliminating the cost for using standard power relays or switch packs.

The WALC connects to the ENCELIUM Energy Management System by OSRAM, a scalable lighting control system that enables owners to elevate the cost effectiveness and occupant experience of their lighting spaces with just a click of the mouse. The latest addition of the WALC further expands this award-winning system to hard-to-reach locations seeking less hassle and cost associated with installing wires for digitally controlled lighting.

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Publishes Article on Advanced Lighting Controls

LED_remote_lighting_shutterstock_246613582_0ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR recently published an article about advanced lighting controls, which you can read here.

ENCELIUM Recognized by Industry for Product Innovation

CONSULTING-SPECIFYING ENGINEER’s 11th annual Product of the Year contest is a premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire/life safety, electrical and plumbing systems engineering markets. Finalists were judged by readers of the magazine which include qualified engineering, facility management and building professionals who specify products and systems for nonresidential buildings.

Selected as a Product of the Year in the lighting controls category, the ENCELIUM Wireless PIR Sensor was one of 41 distinguished winners showcased recently in the magazine. The ENCELIUM Wireless PIR sensor, recognized for its integrated photo sensing capability and ease-of-installation, can wirelessly collect info on space lighting conditions and offer Passive Infra Red (PIR) occupancy sensing and daylight sensing in one sleek housing. An integral part of the ENCELIUM Wireless EMS, the Wireless PIR Sensor is the smallest wireless occupancy sensor with photocontrol on the market and allows facility managers to avoid wasting energy when there is enough natural light. The sensor offers three tool-less mounting options for easy installation that do not require removing the ceiling tile, and also offers masking options to maximize control flexibility.

In addition, the ENCELIUM EMS and the wireless EMS have been ranked as a “Top Product Pick for Specifiers” by an independent committee of writers and publicists who cover architectural and building envelope product news year-round. Led by Eberly & Collard Public Relations, the autonomous panelists reviewed more than 350 products and selected the top 20 products shown at the annual AIA 2015 conference based upon three factors – advanced technology, innovative design and aesthetic visual appearance.

Click here to learn more about Encelium’s EMS and accessory controls.

Task Tuning Promises Significant Energy Savings

As adoption of dimmable lighting grows, task tuning, a lighting control strategy, is becoming increasingly viable as a way to save energy while increasing occupant comfort.

Also called “institutional tuning” and “high-end trim,” task tuning involves reducing lighting in a space based on IES-recommended maintained task light level requirements or user preference for individual spaces rather than the originally designed maintained light levels, which may be higher than needed.

Dimmable lighting can still be controlled as usual to implement other strategies such as manual control and daylight harvesting. However, with task tuning, the high-end level is capped, resulting in permanent savings through dimming.

As lower light levels are the tradeoff of energy savings with task tuning, it is ideally suited to overlighted spaces, and works best for occupied spaces when tuning is adjusted based on occupant feedback.

From an economic point of view, it is also ideally suited to dimmable lighting already installed or intended to be installed, as the cost of implementing task tuning becomes marginal depending on the control system being utilized. This includes spaces with dimming ballasts, such as daylight harvesting control zones, and a majority of LED luminaires, which are dimmable as a standard product offering. If the LED lighting is operated by an intelligent control system, task tuning can be implemented with more flexible zoning down to individual tasks.

According to a meta-analysis published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2011, in which 88 papers and case studies were analyzed, institutional task tuning produces an average 36 percent energy savings. LBNL included task tuning controls plus ballasts with a more flexible range of ballast factors, group controls, and lumen maintenance controls.

What’s more, it is understood that dimming reduces internal operating temperatures of LED devices, which can preserve lumen maintenance and therefore contribute to longer service life.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce went farther to evaluate the energy-savings potential of task tuning in commercial buildings. The state engaged consulting firm Seventhwave, which selected 17 office, public assembly and education spaces in Minnesota and Wisconsin for a study.

The firm measured energy consumption and task light levels and isolated seven spaces that were overlighted. In these spaces, Seventhwave measured energy consumption for the existing and lighting and control systems, implemented task tuning based on recorded and IES-recommended light levels, and then measured again to produce energy savings estimates.

% each space was overlighted relative to IES recommendations. Image courtesy of Seventhwave.

% each space was overlighted relative to IES recommendations. Image courtesy of Seventhwave.

The researchers determined that task tuning generated an average 613 kWh of energy savings for every kW of lighting found to be dimmable, or about 22 percent. Energy savings by space, however, varied widely from 5-36 percent depending on the space characteristics.

Distribution of measured energy savings resulting from task tuning. Image courtesy of Seventhwave.

Distribution of measured energy savings resulting from task tuning. Image courtesy of Seventhwave.

Energy savings tended to correspond favorably with overlighted spaces, large dimmable lighting loads with long hours of operation, lighting and control systems that were not commissioned by the owner, and systems that were designed by a contractor and not a lighting designer or engineer. (Task tuning implemented with dimmable lighting designed for A/V presentation spaces, however, did not produce satisfactory savings.)

The energy savings, while significant, are not enough to justify the cost of a dimming control system. In applications where a dimming control system will be or has been installed for other purposes, however, task tuning can be very cost-effective as the cost may be limited solely to the time associated with task tuning. Seventhwave estimated the cost of task tuning in the studied spaces to be $0.03 to $0.06 per sq.ft., resulting in a simple payback of 0.5 to 1.1 years. For this reason, task tuning is ideally suited to new construction projects where a dimming control system is being planned as well as existing projects in which a dimming system is already installed.

As task tuning poses a tradeoff between light levels and energy consumption, time must be taken to ensure occupant satisfaction. The researchers recommended incorporating occupant feedback into the tuning process, though this may require a little more time.

Task tuning is a viable, cost-effective lighting control strategy that can be implemented in tandem with other control strategies for dimmable lighting. As dimmable lighting, particularly intelligent LED lighting, becomes increasingly adopted, task tuning may continue to gain adoption as a means of producing energy savings in overlighted spaces.

For more information about the Minnesota task tuning study, visit the Seventhwave website here.

Madison Square Garden Wins 2015 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award Of Merit

The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.

This month, we will explore the role that lighting controls play at the recently renovated Madison Square Garden. Lighting control design by Steve Peterson of ME Engineers. Photography by Steve Peterson and Barbizon Electric’s Colin Colfer. Lighting and controls by Barbizon Electric and Electronic Theatre Controls.

In October 2013, after three years of construction, Madison Square Garden (MSG) unveiled its $1 billion renovation which featured a state-of-the-art lighting system upgrade.


The MSG lighting control system is the largest of it’s kind featuring a single customized interface that speaks to all aspects of the building including sports lighting, arena seating, retail, clubhouse, private suites, concessions, hallways and even the bathrooms.


57 different lighting panels each driving different load types and communicate via a common bi-directional network protocol.


Traditional arena control systems feature multiple subsystems on a single building management backbone. MSG is unique because there are no subsystem, instead everything speaks the same network control protocol and is fully integrated into a central server.


By providing a central repository for system configurations, logging the complications of any lighting load can easily be managed. With error logging and reporting as well as user notification it’s simple to know what the status of the system is.


Detailed load reporting allows the system to log power usage for historical tracking and real-time monitoring.


MSG is design to support two separate network wiring loops, one upper floor, the other around the ground level creating a fully redundant wiring design when vertical risers pass each other. This kind of backup design is less common in arenas and better resembles designs found in a large theme park.


The large format graphical user interface displays detailed information for each level including real-time error popups for any circuit experience power loss.


Not only is the sheer size of the system unique but the pace in which the venue changes from one kind of event to another is unprecedented. This system support multiple operators programming different kinds of productions in a single day. It’s a one-of-a-kind design worthy of the building title, “World’s Most Famous Arena.”


LCA TV: Philips ActiveSite Cloud-Based Software Application

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2015 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces the building industry to Philips Lighting’s ActiveSite Cloud-based software application.

Click here to learn more.

Lighting Controls Association Offers EE107: Lighting Controls for Existing Buildings

education expressThe Lighting Controls Association (LCA) has published a new course to enhance its popular Education Express program: EE107: Lighting Controls for Existing Buildings.

Residing at the Association’s website at, Education Express provides in-depth education about lighting controls and controllable ballast technology, application, system design and commissioning.

Upgrading lighting systems to next-generation lighting technologies can deliver significant energy cost savings while maintaining or improving lighting quality. By incorporating lighting controls into a lighting upgrade, building owners can generate additional average energy savings of 24-38%, maximize the value of the upgrade investment in labor, and convert lighting into a managed building asset.

EE107: Lighting Controls for Existing Buildings introduces students to lighting control strategies suitable for existing buildings. Authored by Craig DiLouie, LC, it outlines energy code obligations, identifies rebate opportunities, and provides application guidance.

At the conclusion of the course, an optional online comprehension test is available, with automatic grading; a passing grade enables the student to claim education credit. EE107: Lighting Controls for Existing Buildings is accredited/registered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education System (CES), which recognizes 2.0 Learning Units (LU)/Health, Safety, Welfare (HSW) credits; and the National Council on Quality in the Lighting Professions (NCQLP), which recognizes 2.0 LEUs towards maintenance of the Lighting Certified (LC) certification.

Founded in 2006, Education Express serves more than nearly 24,000 students, who have benefited from nearly 200,000 completions of learning modules and more than 130,000 comprehension tests taken online, enabling them to earn education credit.

For more information about Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express, including a complete course listing, visit the LCA web site at and click the Education Express button.

Interview with Acuity Brands’ Audwin Cash

Craig DiLouie, LC recently had the opportunity to interview Audwin Cash, VP Acuity Controls Solutions, Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. The topic: controlling LED lighting.

DiLouie: How are LED sources different from traditional sources in terms of controllability and behavior while controlled?

Cash: LED sources are the first economically viable solid state light source. LEDs, paired with a driver or power supply can be easily turned on and off and dimmed. Given their nature, they save energy linearly with illumination. Paired with digital control systems, LEDs take advantage of daylight harvesting and occupancy control, and personal lighting control more cost effectively than every other source.

DiLouie: What opportunities (and problems) occur as a result of how controllable LED sources are and how they behave while controlled?

Cash: By far, the biggest opportunity with controlling LED sources is certainly the additional energy savings and long-life provided by the system. The challenges with LED systems, on the other hand, are control and driver compatibility. Since there is a wide variety of luminaires and control systems, practitioners look for standards-based solutions, but those can be limited or costly. 0-10V is the dominant control methodology. Controller and driver dimming performance also remains problematic, since dimming range, dimming slope and low-end light levels vary based on the performance of the driver and/or controller. Many opt for controls and luminaires from the same manufacturers where possible, or insist on tested, proven pairings to mitigate compatibility risks.

DiLouie: What are the top three technology trends impacting lighting controls for LED sources?


1. The emergence of the Internet of Things – Sophisticated control systems are needed to connect and communicate with an array of devices within buildings.
2. Wireless technology – Everything is going wireless, and so is lighting controls. Today it is more common to see even the most standard control system operated through phones and tablets.
3. Lighting’s impact on health – People are beginning to realize that light can play a role in our health. Controls are used to mimic natural light, which can provide an environment that aids in the healing process.

DiLouie: LED luminaires are more often installed in new construction, where energy codes mandate a broad palette of lighting controls. This means LED sources and more sophisticated control systems are advancing hand in hand. How has this impacted development of LED products and controls?

Cash: It places more emphasis on the components of a lighting system to be interoperable. Complex lighting and control systems must be able to work together. In addition, the integration of controls and networking within a luminaire is becoming increasingly more common because these luminaires allow contractors to install a nearly code-compliant solution simply by energizing a luminaire.

DiLouie: What should specifiers be doing to go beyond code and take advantage of the controllability of LEDs?

Cash: Specifiers are already finding new horizons with LED lighting. We are seeing increasing amounts of color change lighting such as tunable white, RGB and warm dimming being used to enhance spaces. In addition, specifiers are requesting interesting new lighting forms to take advantage of the LED as a solid state and very narrow source. One area we could see improvement is in standardization and specification of visual comfort; we would like to see a reduction in complaints about LED glare.

DiLouie: LED lamps and to an extent luminaires are being retrofitted into existing buildings. Controls, however, are often left out of conventional lighting retrofits. Has LED penetration into the existing construction market created new opportunities for lighting controls that previously were less available?

Cash: In some cases, the introduction of controls within a retrofit luminaire, as a single unit, has increased penetration of controls in retrofits. At the same time, several municipalities have adopted energy codes that mandate the use of controls even when performing traditional energy renovations and retrofits.

DiLouie: A number of luminaire manufacturers now offer integrated control packages. Is this having an appreciable effect on the lighting controls industry, and if so, what is that effect? What is likely the long term?

Cash: Integrated control packages take the guesswork out of installing control systems. Because they are installed at the factory, compatibility is guaranteed and additional onsite installation time is no longer needed – resulting in lower cost. For the controls industry, we are seeing a rapid increase in demand for tools to make programming and networking of these systems easier. As is often the case, once some controllability is added, customers want to take full advantage of their lighting system and need the tools to leverage all the benefits the technology can provide.

DiLouie: LED lighting presents such a small load that the economic argument for lighting controls is more likely to be challenged. Assuming an LED future, what energy-saving control strategies are considered essential and therefore likely to endure? Will any fall away due to lack of cost-effectiveness?

Cash: At this point, the economics of controls from a strictly ROI perspective becomes challenged as LED luminaires increase in efficacy. The use of controls, however, will not likely retreat given that the ultimate goal is to minimize energy use. In the end, luminaire efficacy puts downward pricing pressure on deploying a control system, from first cost to installation, service and maintenance.

DiLouie: With LED, lighting controls can go far beyond energy savings. Lighting controls can respond to individual occupants and completely transform a workspace. What are these capabilities, and how would you characterize demand for them?

Cash: The most common additional control for occupants is full-range dimming. Demand is increasing as the costs for this capability have decreased substantially: many LED luminaires are dimmable by default. Once dimming enters the space, integration with mobile devices to set and recall preferred light levels is then requested.

We are also seeing that designers are incorporating color-change lighting and controls that allow workers, teachers and healthcare practitioners to select color and intensity for impact, productivity and enhanced comfort.

Finally, some retailers are using LED lighting to send encoded messages to mobile devices to enhance shopping and navigation within stores with hyper-accurate positioning information. Demand for these advanced capabilities will grow as lighting is used as the platform for the Internet of Things.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about controlling LED lighting, what would it be?

Cash: In short, the future of lighting is controllable LEDs, and it is in the mainstream now.