What is a lighting controls system?
You're probably used to seeing light switches that look like this These days, they tend to look more like this
LEDs allow for greater control over lighting. Modern design, technological advancements, and desire for individual control mean that rocker and flick switch controls no longer cut the mustard. They also don’t provide the energy-saving benefits that come with controls systems like daylight harvesting or occupancy sensors. We'll explain exactly what those terms mean and why they matter for your space below.
What do control systems do?
There are different components to a lighting controls system that you can choose to integrate based on what best suits your space type. For example, in an office space, motion sensors are great for enclosed offices or conference rooms that may not be occupied at all times of the day, but time-scheduled systems make more sense for open-plan areas that will likely be occupied for a specific set of hours each day, where you wouldn’t want the lighting to shut off if someone had been sitting idle in their desk chair for 15 minutes.
The most common components of lighting controls systems are:
Occupancy and motion sensors: These sensors are triggered by sound or motion. Controls automatically switch on, dim, or switch off lighting depending on whether or not there are people occupying the space.
Dimmers: Traditional light controls are a simple on/off switch, meaning that whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, the light output of your fixtures is the same. Dimming gives users control over the quantity of light emitted depending on the task, event, or desired mood.
Time-clock controls: Time-clock controls allow you to set the time of day or night when you want your lights on or off and can be achieved with a simple time-clock switch or an app on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Daylight sensors: “Daylighting” or “daylight harvesting” uses a light sensor to measure the amount of illumination in a space and light output from a dimming ballast or driver adjusts to reflect the desired level of illumination.
Why you should implement a lighting controls system:
- Convenience: Automation makes your life easier. You already know you’re wasting energy with lights left on in unoccupied rooms, or lights at full output in a room that gets hours of sunlight a day. Instead of running around your space shutting off those lights, implement a controls system that does it for you.
- Ease of installation: Wavelength only works with control systems that function as they should and are simple to install and maintain. We prioritize functionality and future-proofing. The controls system we work with will last for years to come and will support the needs of your space. Wifi or bluetooth-enabled controls also mean that you will likely not need to run any additional wiring to complete a networked lighting project.
- Energy efficiency: Lighting controls will only further the efficiency of your already highly efficient LED lights by ensuring that they are only powered when they need to be.
- Aesthetics: Controls will enhance the aesthetic appeal of any space with the ability to adjust color temperature, spotlight or dim certain areas, and create lighting scenes based on desired mood.
How controls fit into code compliance:
Most modern building codes require lighting controls for new construction projects. And laws like New York City’s Local Law 88 require upgrades to lighting systems by 2025. The specifics of those upgrades are outlined in the 2016 Energy Conservation Code and include things like high-efficacy lamps (such as LEDs), daylight zones, occupancy sensors, and time switch controls.