Guest post by Brent Protzman, PhD, CEM, LEED GA, LC
Protzman is the Manager of Energy Information & Analytics at Lutron Electronics
Lighting retrofits, layered with advanced control strategies can improve occupant comfort, enhance productivity, deliver greater building efficiencies and often result in lighting electricity savings up to 60% or more. New light sources, specifically LEDs and fluorescents, continue to provide opportunities for better light quality, lower electricity bills and payback in as little as two years.
As you prepare to save all that energy, think about these five tips for making product selection and installation easier too.
1. Wireless. Wireless lighting control systems have come a long way, and even a solution as simple as a wireless occupancy sensor and switch can put you on the path to a 30% lighting energy reduction in just a few minutes. And wireless controls can be installed with little-to-no disruption to building occupants. Wireless control solutions can include occupancy sensing, dimming, daylighting harvesting and even automated shading solutions depending on your budget and energy-saving goals.
2. Apps. Specifically apps that simplify audits, proposals and return on investment calculations. It’s easier to make the right decisions when you have the right tools. Look for new apps that require only basic project information to provide lighting energy audits, lighting control proposals, bills-of-materials and projected ROI. Apps can save time and money and help you confidently choose a system just right for your building.
3. Scalability. Today the conference room, tomorrow the entire building. Look for control solutions that can adapt to your changing needs. Digital control systems typically offer the greatest flexibility, functionality and opportunity for expansion. Look for a lighting and shade control system that can be expanded easily, without replacing the existing equipment and without complex reprogramming. To ensure that the system can accommodate future growth, ask the manufacturer how easily it scales from a single control or small system, to a larger space or building.
4. Data. It’s one thing to plan for energy savings and another thing to actually see the results. Manufacturers now offer a variety of measurement and verification tools that help you understand how much energy is used, where, and when. Look for software tools that have the ability to log data about lighting use, occupancy and daylight. Make sure the software can be installed on any computer in your facility, offers an easy-to-understand graphical interface, and give you full access to the data without requiring you to send information off to a third-party. Effective systems put energy analysis at your fingertips, and improve your ability to predict energy savings.
5. Service. Let’s face it. Sometimes you get by with a little help from your friends. When you are selecting lighting and control systems, ask about available support services, online help, and customer service. Look for a manufacturer that offers 24/7 technical support…just in case. And if you are retrofitting a large space, or an entire building, consider the types of warranty and service options available to ensure that your investment is protected today, and for as long as you own the system.
A lighting retrofit can be greater than the sum of its parts if you plan appropriately, select a system with the future in mind, and have clear goals for system performance and payback.