Seven Energy-Saving Lighting Control Strategies

EC&M Magazine recently published a short article identifying seven proven energy-saving lighting control strategies.

Check it out here.


LCA TV: Daintree’s Building Energy Management as a Service

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2015 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces the building industry to Daintree Networks’ Building Energy Management as a Service.

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GO Ajax Parking Facility Wins 2015 Lighting Controls Innovation Award

The Lighting Controls 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 Controls Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective application of lighting controls in nonresidential spaces.

This month, we will explore the lighting control solution applied to a GO Ajax parking facility. Lighting control design by Chuck Beamish (IBI Group) and Sunanda Perera and Al Medeiros (MCW Consultants). Photography by David Turner (MCW Consultants), Kerry Shaw (Kerry Shaw Photography) and William Conway (William Conway/Progress Photography). Controls by Acuity Brands, Inc.

This six-storey parking structure featuring over 1000 parking spaces had to meet strict lighting requirements while meeting owner’s expectations for energy savings, and ensuring transit commuters’ safety.


The lighting design had to create a visually safe environment for commuters at all hours of the day and had to complement the stylish architecture, while developing an integrated energy efficient system.


LED fixtures were selected due to their long life, durability, energy efficiency, ease of control and maintenance.


Lighting controls are used extensively throughout the building. Due to its complexity, multiple relay control panels with timers and sensors (on/off and daylighting) are used to create a safe, functional lighting system with various time functions based on time of day use for the facility. Spaces with different functionality (e.g. the parking spaces, the tunnel, the exterior
platform) all require different lighting control strategies.

In the parking area, the lighting strategy is to turn off 50% of LEDs in each fixture during the off peak hours. In order to achieve this, the fixtures have been selected with dual circuit inputs. Lighting comes to full brightness during “on peak” hours and during off peak hours, when it detects movement in the garage. The design considers the occupants safety as utmost important. The perimeter fixtures are on separate relays and are controlled based on available daylighting.


The programming sequence in the underground tunnel reduces the light level by 50% during non-peak hours.


Daylight sensors are used to control the lighting around the perimeter of the building and in the glass stairwells to turn off fixtures during daylight hours.


This award winning building was completed on budget, has been well received by the community and the transit authority has adopted the lighting control strategy as the standard for all their future facilities.


White-Tunable LED Lighting

LED lighting can generate virtually any perceivable color as well as any shade of white light, all digitally controlled and selectable. Color output can be adjusted by mixing color LEDs, mixing white-light LEDs of different color temperatures, or a combination of the two. The key to achieving these effects is dimming.

This allows, for example, white light to be tuned for mood setting, to match seasonable displays in retail, and to simulate or blend with daylight. It allows spectral output to be tuned to support plant growth, aquatic farming and wildlife sensitive to color in coastal regions. It enables the delivery of white light and color effects from the same lighting system as well as the ability to calibrate luminaire color output to a uniform standard initially and maintained over time.

Mixing color LEDs can generate millions of colors, including white, simply by mixing red, green and blue LEDs in varying degrees of relative intensities via dimming. However, RGB mixing can result in gaps between each discrete color, resulting in errors in white light color accuracy. By mixing colors and white, a wider range of whites and near-white colors can be achieved with greater fidelity and depth. Another approach is to mix cool- and warm-white LEDs, which provides a range of white light shades selectable between these two points.

Again, the key to adjusting color is raising or lowering the relative intensity of the source’s color components via dimming. This can be accomplished by using pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) or through pulse-width modulation (PWM) dimming. PAM and PWM controls operate at a very high frequency, adjusting current flowing through the LEDs to create predictable dimming performance needed for creating color mixes and achieving uniform dimming.

One capability of white-tunable lighting is ensuring consistent color output luminaire to luminaire and over time. All LEDs experience lumen depreciation and color shift as they age. Over time, phosphors coating white-light LEDs decline in their ability to generate warm colors, causing a gradual trend toward a cooler color tone. This occurs more rapidly when the LED operates at higher ambient temperatures. Color shift may be mitigated using an onboard color management system that uses special LED mixes of yellow-green and red-orange to generate white light, continually balanced by feedback loop computer control to maintain high color rendering and the desired shade of white light.

Luminaires that use mixed-color LEDs require sophisticated control and individual drivers for each color to maintain the set color temperature as LEDs age and ambient temperatures fluctuate. Through the use of continuous closed-loop optical feedback, the balance of RGB output can be balanced to maintain the specified color mix, thereby increasing color consistency and stability.

For user-adjustable control, adding color to intensity control is more complex than intensity control alone. Addition of a second white to provide warm/cool balance and blending to intensity, for example, would require at least two dimmers. A solution is a microprocessor-based controller that can manage the color mix based on various inputs, and offer presets that can be stored and recalled similarly to a preset dimmer using various interfaces.


This microprocessor-based controller may use DMX512A or a proprietary protocol. DMX512Ais based on a Class 2 RS485 serial bus that uses XLR-Style 5-pin connectors or CAT5 Ethernet cabling with 8P8C connectors (similar to RJ45). Luminaires are connected in a series daisy chain. Each connected luminaire is assigned a unique address either using software, RIP switches or dials in the luminaire, or via an electronic addressing module in the luminaire or system. The software allows group zoning of luminaires that will respond to identical settings.

To avoid performance problems, all components must be compatible with the system, requiring confirmation from manufacturers to ensure installed systems perform as expected. After installation, inspection will ensure that all wiring is installed properly. Color- and white-tunable control systems require a higher level of setup and programming than intensity-only controls, requiring programming of dimmers, scene presets, color modes, color set-points, and intensity and control interfaces. Some systems offer automatic addressing of luminaires, wireless remote control and programming, and software-based control, simplifying startup. As this technology matures, it will likely be the preferred solution.


Color control provides a new lighting tool for LED lighting previously not practically approachable using conventional lamp technology. Before the proliferation of LED lighting, control was limited to intensity. Now color control, from adjustable saturated color to shades of white light, can be applied.

PLC Multipoint Introduces LCM5

PLC Multipoint has introduced the LCM5, an enhancement to the company’s C-Series line of contactor-based lighting control products, which are well suited for large spaces and outdoor lighting.

After the company was approached by a large operator of gas stations with a need for a simple controller that would be the same in every location, PLC Multipoint responded. The gas station operator required contactors to control the canopy and site lighting as well as photosensor capability for proper lighting in any weather condition. The customer also wanted the ability to provide their station managers with simple overrides that would not require any training.

A custom C-Series panel was created to meet their needs. PLC Multipoint subsequently standardized these features into the LCM5 so that other customers can take advantage of this simple and economical solution. The LCM5 ships with standard Time-Clock, Photosensor and Override Switch control. Typically, with a little planning, the program can be pre-configured to the customer’s needs, reducing installation and setup time at the job site and helping eliminate common errors during programming of these types of systems.

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One World Trade Center Wins 2015 Lighting Controls Innovation Award

The Lighting Controls 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 Controls Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective application of lighting controls in nonresidential spaces.

This month, we will explore the lighting control solution applied to the spire topping One World Trade Center in New York City. Lighting control design by Claude R. Engle, lighting designer, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Nicole Dosso, architect. Photography Michael Lee and Scott Hali.

The massive spire atop 1WTC is illuminated along its full 408-foot span, culminating in a rotating beacon at the top. That beacon, designed to be reminiscent of a light house, was originally anticipated to feature xenon lighting, as LED technology of the time was insufficient.


However, the lighting team ultimately collaborated with manufacturers to develop an LED solution that increased energy efficiency and allowed for safer, more cost effective maintenance. Together they delivered a custom beacon array featuring 50w LED modules designed to fit inside a glass capsule sitting at the top of the 1776-foot spire.


The slew bearing motor assembly within the capsule allows the mirror to rotate 1.5 times per minute and output over 300,000 lumens on two opposing directions.


Along the spire as a whole,The final uplight design includes (124) state of the art LED color-changing fixtures. These feature onboard status monitoring and diagnostic capabilities.


The fully integrated control system includes a web based graphical user interface capable of monitoring the self diagnostic lighting fixtures, motor assembly, relay panels and weather station.


The conditional logic monitors weather conditions and overrides the time clock when necessary. Real-time reporting messages are emailed to the building maintenance staff eliminating the need to climb the 408-foot spire for troubleshooting.


The centralized computer provides various color selections which range from single color to dynamic color sequencing, as well as a “strobe on command” capability.


This energy efficient design features the only LED beacon in the world, and incredibly innovative RGB LED uplight fixtures, and has become an iconic part of New York City’s skyline.


Of the design, Anthony Wood of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said, “… the spire which holds the beacon light, shining out at the symbolic height of 1776 feet, is especially poignant.”


LCA TV: Envision by Philips Lighting

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2015 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces the building industry to Philips Lighting’s Envision connected lighting system and Envision Manager software.

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PLC Multipoint Appoints Gabriel Ledezma as Estimator

PLC Multipoint has added an Estimator to its team–Gabriel Ledezma, who brings a strong background in electrical engineering and estimating to the position. Ledezma can be contacted at Quotes [at] PLCMultipoint [dot] com.

Hubbell Building Automation Adds NX Intelligent Daylighting

hubbellHubbell Building Automation NX networked lighting controls now have added daylighting capability. The NXDS daylight sensor auto-configures with the NX Room Controller.

The NXDS daylight sensor is designed for open loop operation, measuring daylight entering a space through a window. It communicates with the recently launched NXRC series Room Controller, which directs switching or dimming of the lighting. The NX system advantage includes controlling multiple lighting zones within a space. The devices connect via standard CAT5 cables.

Ideal for for spaces that require room-level control, such as personal offices and classrooms. Energy code compliance right out of the box. Auto-configuration that simplifies setup.

Click here to learn more.

LCA Education Express to Migrate to New Learning Management System November 23

On November 23, 2015, Education Express will be migrating to a new learning management system.

The new system contains greater development functionality and will be more stable, resulting in fewer technical issues among users.

While your registration will remain secure, we will not be able to transfer your course and test history.

Please download any education credit certificates you need before November 23, 2015. On November 23, there may also be a brief interruption of service.

Thank you for using Education Express!