FMJ - May/June 2017

Case Study: Wireless Technology Shines a New Lighton Older Buildings

Eric Lind 2017-05-12 02:30:10

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, 60 percent of commercial buildings in the U.S. were constructed before 1980, representing a tremendous need for energy-efficient, high-value retrofit solutions. Combine the existing, less capable control systems in these buildings, a growing opportunity with LED lighting, and the ongoing contractor labor shortage, and the result is a high demand for time- and labor-saving retrofits that conserve energy and improve the building environment. Lighting retrofits are often associated with code compliance and energy-saving initiatives, both of which are critically important to schools and universities that can take those energy savings and redirect them into student-centered programs. But lighting retrofits can also play a major role in creating a more comfortable, conducive learning environment. Smart lighting control systems, particularly wireless systems, support these goals by doing double duty — helping to meet and exceed building codes and sustainability goals while offering quick installation, simple setup, flexibility and controls that allow the facilities team to monitor, manage and adjust lighting from any smart device, anywhere. Furthermore, studies1 have confirmed a significant correlation between positive appraisal of the lighting in a space and overall satisfaction and engagement, suggesting that appropriate lighting conditions promote desirable work and learning behaviors. THE UNIQUE CHALLENGE OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS Aging buildings, and especially historic structures, pose particular challenges when it comes to lighting upgrades. Outdated design and building layout, the inability to access wiring in the walls or ceilings due to the historic nature of the building, or concerns with asbestos remediation all contribute to the advantage of installing a wireless solution. Colleges and universities around the world often face a combination of these issues, including the many beautiful, 200-year-old institutions in the U.S. Northeast. Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvanian, USA, is a prime example. Pat Henry, an electrician from Franklin and Marshall College explains, “On a campus where some of the buildings date back to 1792, it’s just not always feasible to have to fish wires through the walls.”2 A historic college like Franklin and Marshall is peppered with a mix of historic and modern buildings. For their facilities team, those beautiful, historic brick buildings add a layer of challenge when it comes to facility updates and maintenance. Lighting and lighting control has come a long way in the last five years, with LED technology largely replacing traditional fluorescent lighting fixtures. As a result, renovations in any office, classroom or dorm almost always include complete lighting and control upgrades. Just a few years ago, updating a lighting control system was a much more daunting task, but wireless control technologies are breaking down many of the barriers presented by wired solutions. CHOOSE A WIRELESS SYSTEM THAT PROMOTES DESIGN FLEXIBILITY Utilizing wireless lighting control technologies provides a cost-effective installation — fewer wires reduces materials cost, especially in building retrofits. • Wireless products mean less need for conduit, wiring and other materials that add to project costs. • Wireless installation can reduce labor costs by up to 70 percent, and the work typically causes less disruption to the people in the space compared to wired systems. • Connectivity to digital networks ensures access to data anywhere, at any time — even pre-installation — making setup and adjustment fast and easy, and helping the facilities team to better understand how the space is being used. Wireless protocols also make sensors more effective. Almost any new lighting control system includes occupancy sensors, and many also include daylight sensors that automatically adjust electric light in response to daylight. But getting these sensors in the ideal location can be tricky. Once a space is fully operational, furniture or other unanticipated factors can affect sensor performance. Wireless solutions make it easy to adjust placement and setup of sensors in just minutes with no need for expensive rewiring or opening of walls in historic buildings. Occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting and automated dimming control automatically adjust lighting in response to occupancy, and reduce lighting levels in response to daylight, making better use of natural light and reducing unnecessary energy use. Additionally, including individual fixture control as part of a lighting retrofit helps ensure energy savings while accommodating personal lighting preferences for the task at hand. This strategy saves energy at each fixture, and creates a flexible space that easily adapts to the character of the building and the shifting needs of the students and staff. In just a few minutes, occupants can adjust the lights to the perfect level for any project, task or event. Individual fixture control can also be implemented on several levels, depending on the budget, performance needs and space profiles. With all these different strategies and load control options, it’s important to choose a wireless lighting solution that lets you add the right amount of control in every space to improve lighting efficiency and occupant comfort. Flexible systems enable you to use a variety of wireless control devices all within the same system umbrella. Install occupancy-based switching in less sensitive areas, area dimming in others, and individual fixture control where lighting levels need to adjust to the personal preferences of people in the space, such as design labs or other creative spaces. In the case of Franklin and Marshall, the system they chose had to have time-clock functionality, the ability to load shed and provide real-time energy savings. The institution chose a solution that addressed the need for scalable control that’s wireless, easy to install and simple to program. The wireless solution also reduced installation cost and eliminated most concerns about retrofit disruption and wasted time. Pat Henry installed and programmed the controls while the building was occupied and without outside help. His team completed the installation and setup in a total of four days, working from just 6 to 8 a.m., delivering improved lighting control that supports both operational and environmental sustainability. SAVING ENERGY AND MEASURING RESULTS At Franklin and Marshall, saving energy meant saving money — money that could be better spent on its students than its electricity bills. With the existing fluorescent fixtures, the administrative offices were using 130 kilowatt-hours (kWh) during the measured time. After the lighting and controls retrofit, the space is using 60.86 kWh in a comparable period — a total electricity savings of 55 percent, which allows the college to redirect that money to benefit its students. Wireless lighting solutions can also interface with building management systems to provide centralized control and monitoring. Franklin and Marshall installed centralized hubs to ensure that lighting control could be linked across the campus, and to set a standard for future lighting retrofits across campus. Collected data helps the facilities team see when and where a building is using most of its electricity, and control settings can be easily adjusted to optimize building performance. With the right control system, building managers can be connected to the entire system from anywhere in the building, or even anywhere in the world, improving building efficiency and quickly responding to occupant requests. Apps also enable fine adjustments to automated control settings to help achieve optimized energy reductions, and meet and exceed energy codes and mandates, including net-zero and near-net-zero goals. For older buildings looking to achieve green certification, wireless lighting control can help earn critical points toward meeting the requirements for standards such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the more recent WELL Building Standard. Wireless technology is a tremendous benefit, but it must work as expected, without interference. Consider choosing a solution that offers a technical support team that can help you from design through post-installation, whenever you need help or consultation on wireless communication protocols. Installing the latest in lighting control technology can make aging buildings more sustainable, comfortable, productive and smarter. The final piece of the puzzle is making sure all these technologies work together, adapt over time and continue to unlock the building’s full potential. New lighting sources and control systems are not only creating buildings that use less energy; they are creating buildings designed to save energy without sacrificing comfort or productivity. That’s great news for the people who work and learn in these spaces, and great news for a sustainable future. REFERENCES 1) Vietch, J., Stokkermans, M., Newsham, G.R. (2011). Environment and behavior: Linking lighting appraisals to work behaviors. Sage Publications on behalf of Environmental Design Research Association. Online. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 2) Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. (2016). Project Overview Franklin & Marshall College Lancaster, Pennsylvania: University Lighting Retrofit. Consider these requirements, which are factors in almost every project: ƒ• OCCUPANCY SENSORS ensure that lights turn off when the occupant leaves the space. It’s important to choose sensors that are sensitive enough to detect even small motions, ensuring that lights stay on when the space is occupied, but also save energy when the space is vacant. • DAYLIGHT SENSORS communicate with digital ballasts or drivers to dim or brighten lights automatically based on available daylight. Reduce lighting energy use and enhance the workspace with seamless solutions that don’t disrupt the people in the space. ƒ• PERSONAL, WIRELESS CONTROLS provide each space occupant with the ability to raise or lower lights at any time, reducing eyestrain, increasing comfort and potentially increasing productivity. At Franklin and Marshall College, for example, wireless controls are placed at every podium in the newly renovated classrooms, giving professors convenient control of the lights from the podium. And because the controls are wireless, remote and portable, they also allow control from anywhere else in the room, accommodating the more flexible and interactive learning environments that academic institutions are pursuing. ERIC LIND, vice president, global specifications, Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., is responsible for the Lutron interface to the lighting design community and corporate relationships with two industry groups — the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Association of Lighting Designers. He is also part of a team that defines the commercial product portfolio roadmap for Lutron. A veteran of enhancing the quality of life for the people who experience Lutron products, he enjoys being a part of the team — designer, installer, channel partner — that delivers the complete Lutron experience. He provides creative solutions to design challenges, connecting the right people to execute the design vision.

Published by International Facility Management Association . View All Articles.

This page can be found at