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Advanced lighting controls play role in 'smart' buildings

Image of brightly-lit modern office
Advanced controls can be used together to create specific lighting scenes, zones where fixtures are controlled to optimize the lighting in a space specific to the needs of its users.

Canadian version of training course comes to B.C.

As connected buildings and businesses become more commonplace, advanced lighting controls are becoming increasingly important. Learning how to install these systems for your customers is vital to maintaining a competitive advantage.

The Canadian adaptation of the Advanced Lighting Control Training Program is a 50-hour comprehensive course that will train you how to install these complicated systems with confidence. The course is being set up in B.C., with specific dates to be announced soon.

Check the Electrical Joint Training Committee's course page for updates.

Beyond the basics: controls can collect and share data

Light fixtures can be controlled in a variety of ways. They can be turned on and off with a switch, lowered or brightened with dimmers, or triggered by movement with an occupancy sensor.

A controls system becomes advanced when multiple control types are used together to create specific lighting scenes, zones where fixtures are controlled to optimize the lighting in a space specific to the needs of its users. Advanced lighting controls are also capable of capturing data such as electricity use, occupancy patterns and system performance, which is central to their value to connected buildings and businesses.

One of the defining features of a connected building is the ability to allow formerly disparate systems such as lighting, HVAC, and security, to share data in order to gain increased intelligence of building operations. The ability to share data, combined with the advent of solid state lighting with individually addressable fixtures, will provide new opportunities for energy management.

"Building operators will be able to understand how each fixture in a building contributes to the building's overall energy consumption and peak demand," says BC Hydro program manager Graham Henderson. "This will allow them to ensure lighting is active only at the appropriate time, as well as potentially quantifying capacity reduction initiatives in the future."

Which controls work best in advanced lighting control systems?

Just as specific controls are well suited to a specific lighting need, bi-level dimming controls work very well in stairwells, for example. Certain types of advanced lighting controls are best for use in connected systems.

Here are some examples:

  • Scene control gives users the ability to control individual, or several lights, to create complex lighting scenes. This is great for warehouses where fixtures can be spread over a very large area of the building.
  • Addressable controls comprise a central part of intelligent control systems when paired with ethernet addressable luminaires. Allowing for maximum flexibility to dynamically set control zones, dimming scenes and schedules, they are well suited to populated areas like open offices that otherwise could not be controlled by occupancy sensors.
  • Personal controls offer a manual override option when paired with addressable lighting control systems and empower users to customize their lighting environment to best suit their visual needs in office settings.
  • Load shedding controls provide a type of demand response functionality, dimming or shutting lights off during periods of peak demand to avoid higher charges for electrical power while minimising the impact to users. They're a good option for high-electricity users such as manufacturing plants and warehouses.