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Lutron EcoSystem™ Lighting Solution Provides Personal Control with PC

Lutron EcoSystem™ Lighting Solution Provides Personal Control with PCPersonal control of an office worker’s own personal lighting environment can now be achieved simply and easily using an ordinary personal computer with the introduction of LiteByte™ from Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

LiteByte is an addition to Lutron’s EcoSystem™ product line—an advanced, digitally addressable lighting control system which is driving Lutron’s aggressive strategy to transform office environments around the globe.

LiteByte gives office workers control over one or more EcoSystem lighting fixtures using an ordinary personal computer. LiteByte includes Windows-based control software and a USB-based device that attaches either to the side of the monitor, to the desk or to a cabinet. LiteByte communicates from the PC software through the EcoSystem IR receiver to allow users to choose their desired light levels. LiteByte converts the PC commands into infrared signals that are transmitted to the EcoSystem IR receiver on the ceiling, which controls a pre-assigned group of light fixtures. LiteByte requires no special server software and poses no network integration complexities.

EcoSystem and LiteByte were designed with the principle in mind that each office worker’s lighting preferences change from task to task throughout the day. With personal controls at their fingertips, office employees can make instant adjustments to the lighting level at each of their workspaces.

With EcoSystem in place, building occupants can also control light levels with PDAs, with hand-held remotes and/or with wall controls. Different workers may desire different light levels for the same task, and the same worker can require different light levels when switching from one task to the next. EcoSystem accommodates these situations easily and simply with just the click of a mouse or the push of a button. Such flexibility contributes to increased productivity and occupant satisfaction. Independent studies, including those commissioned by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER), find that natural light improves office environments. Research indicates that people are four to seven percent more productive in their preferred light level. This equates to 10 to 17 extra workdays per employee per year, a sizable economic benefit for any office.

Lutron’s EcoSystem fluorescent lighting controls transcend existing technologies, including the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) protocol. It provides office buildings and other commercial applications with a system that improves worker productivity, saves energy and gives building owners, managers and occupants unrivaled simplicity and flexibility in its use.

EcoSystem is a sensible lighting control solution both because the system senses changes in lighting needs based on the amount of natural light entering the building throughout the day—and because it reacts dynamically to those changes it senses by modifying the work environment in ways proven to improve productivity and reduce energy costs.

EcoSystem monitors natural daylight via sensors, and then dims or brightens the electric lighting as needed to maintain consistent light levels. It comprises a network of digitally addressable ballasts that emphasizes flexibility, ranging from precise control of one’s personal work space to building-wide control. Lighting scheme changes within rooms, floors or an entire building can be accomplished with a programming menu and without re-wiring. Energy is conserved by using available daylight, by reducing light in unoccupied areas and by allowing personal control in individual work spaces.

It is estimated that roughly 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the U.S. is used to light commercial buildings. Lighting is a commercial building’s largest source of energy consumption, accounting for 44 percent of energy use in office structures alone, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The figure jumps to 56 percent for education buildings. The amount of electric power used for lighting is greater than that used for all other building systems. Lutron maintains that, when used in tandem, Quantum and EcoSystem can lower lighting energy consumption by up to a whopping 60 percent.

Lutron’s EcoSystem, designed for a number of commercial applications including offices and schools, redefines fluorescent lighting control as easy to design, install, maintain, and reconfigure. Any combination of sensors or wall controls can be connected to the system’s specialized ballasts, depending on the building or room’s lighting requirements. Because there is no need for interfaces or power packs, sensors and wall stations can be removed or added with simple Class 2 connections at any fixture. Maintenance is also greatly simplified as replacement ballasts and bus supplies speedily “learn” their programming when they communicate with already installed devices.

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