Lighting controls for a changing world

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Nick Van Tromp, Controls and Connectivity Manager at Fagerhult Lighting discusses how lighting controls fit into a constantly changing world, and where Fagerhult Lighting fits in terms of sustainability, smart buildings and data collection.

Right Light, Lowest Energy

The over-arching mantra of the lighting fraternity has always been, the right light, in the right place, at the right time. Lighting controls have always been a key enabler, helping regulate light levels in response to natural light, occupancy and time. But traditional control systems have often been hampered by overly complex commissioning processes and unintuitive user interfaces that have resulted in worthy design intentions, and energy savings, not being fully realised. Additionally, one report suggested that as much as 75% of control-capable lighting in Europe actually isn’t controlled in any meaningful sense.


In recent times, the adoption of LED technology has caused a significant downward step-change in the amount of energy required to light a space. Moreover, the latest lighting controls help maximise these benefits, offering seamless and instant transitions between light levels, and with a far more granular response to the lit environment. Rather than requiring complex commissioning, simple ‘plug and play’ enables core functions, but with easily scalable automation, bringing significant potential to reduce the gap between intention and realisation.


Powerful Data

Within a smart building environment, lighting can play a fundamental role in the collection of data, bringing powerful building usage insights due its prevalence and density throughout the premises. These rich datasets can be shared with other building systems and integrated within a central network, helping building owners make informed decisions based on space utilisation and where and when energy is being consumed. In combination with simplified commissioning software, facilities teams can maximise their building performance on an on-going basis.


Well Buildings

Running parallel with energy awareness is the ever growing WELL movement, referred to as the second wave of sustainability, where providing the right light is key.


Lighting controls integrated into the wider smart building eco-system, and easily accessible via building specific apps, enable users to adapt their own lit environment, with proven benefits. Purely on a biological level, as we age, we require more light to undertake exactly the same task as when we were younger. In areas where there can be elasticity of demographics, a combination of set ambient light levels and adjustable task lighting can ensure the space is tailored to a users’ needs and personal preferences.


Several research projects have highlighted that empowering people with the ability to define their own environment not only increases productivity but can also reduce the amount of energy consumed. And as many workspaces move away from fixed seating positions into more shared spaces, personally adaptable lighting is key.


Shifting Emphasis

As we move towards more renewable energy sources, our focus will shift from the energy used in the operation of lighting to the reduction of virgin materials used to create our lighting systems in the first place. A number of current refurbishment projects have pro-actively recognised this shift by taking existing luminaire housings and updating them with the latest technology, which helps recycle the embedded carbon. In addition, with the latest wireless lighting control technologies, even in the most complex circumstances of a listed building for example, it is possible to update lighting and incorporate sophisticated controls on a point-for-point basis. Another example of how technology enables us to create buildings that coexist within our environmental limits, while helping to meet the diverse needs and personal well-being of occupiers.


About Fagerhult

The Fagerhult company began on a cold winter’s night in December 1943, when Bertil Svensson designed and built a lamp for his mother, so she could continue to knit once the dark, Nordic nights set in. Today, the Fagerhult Group is one of Europe’s largest light manufacturers, producing professional lighting systems for public environments, both indoors and outdoors, with over 2,200 employees in 22 locations around the world. By working with a number of leading academic institutions and industry bodies, Fagerhult has positioned itself at the forefront of understanding the impact of light on our lives. Staying true to its Scandinavian design roots, Fagerhult manufactures products that are the result of extensive research and testing. With a long-term focus on energy efficiency via intelligent lighting controls and advanced LED technology, Fagerhult is constantly working towards flexible solutions that last.

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