Energy management for lighting systems is sometimes left to the last minute and is often forgotten. My philosophy has always been to use our energy wisely. My goals include many things in quality lighting design, but it must also include paying attention to the energy use.
This is not only ensuring we reduce lighting loads, but also control the time this energy is “on”. The two ways to reduce our energy use are; reduce the lighting load and reduce the time the lighting is “on”. Reducing the lighting loads is accomplished by carefully designing quality energy efficient lighting systems and a quality energy management systems will control energy use.
Energy management for larger lighting systems is sometimes co-ordinated and included with other building control systems, but for smaller projects the lighting systems are more likely to require their own lighting controls or energy management system. This could be as simple as placing manual controls in convenient places or introducing automatic lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, time-clocks or day-lighting sensors. For medium or large sized projects, automatic (micro-processor based) lighting control systems could be applied effectively. The cost savings is more often positive. B.C. Hydro incentive programs also help.
The outcome will provide a quality lighting system that includes efficient lighting control. Over the life of the system, the Client benefits from a lighting system designed to accommodate their facility, and ensures their energy use is cost efficient.
For larger facilities operating one or two shifts; this is easily accomplished by designing one lighting system for the main operation and a secondary lighting design for key areas, such as pathways or exit routing. The main lighting system is easily controlled and will turn “off” the lighting system when it is not needed leaving the secondary system “on” for security and safety purposes. If HID lighting is used for the main system, the secondary system could be fluorescent and could add extra safety to the operation if there is a power outage.
For smaller facilities; the same principal can be applied, but the design of the secondary system need not be more than a few “night lights”.
All of this is accomplished through circuiting and a lighting control system. This makes the circuiting design extremely important to energy management. Spending time designing circuitry from the very start of a project and carefully co-ordinated lighting control zones will provide effective use of the energy and will provide a quality energy management system.
Carl R. Koehler, LC