LED lighting has become a mainstream lighting source over the last few years, purely for its energy efficiency. It is well known that lighting can account for up to 40% of a building’s annual electricity costs, so technology was always going to find a way to make this more cost-effective to manage for facilities managers, but even now there are ways that this can be improved further.
It is one thing changing traditional fluorescent lighting systems in commercial buildings to LED lighting, but if control systems consist of nothing more advanced than an on/off switch, then it is clear that wastage is still occurring and you can adopt technology that allows you to manage your usage better.
Cost savings with LED lighting
Recent usage figures show that replacing fluorescent lighting with LED lighting can bring electricity savings of up to 50%, but wireless technology has enabled lighting control systems to be developed which can reduce those bills still further. Indeed, it is believed that optimising the savings that LED lighting brings by pairing them with a smart control system, can increase those savings from 50 to 75%.
Oxford Brookes University is perhaps the clearest example of how these savings can be generated. As a university campus that can trace its origins back to 1865, of course it has had to move considerably with the times, and has enormous energy costs across five campuses to manage. However, the university has invested in wireless control technology to manage its new LED lighting in two of those campuses, and that additional investment has resulted in projected savings of £13,000 per annum.
Naturally, university sites need to provide an environment that is productive and enjoyable for its student’s study. Oxford Brookes University also prides itself on seeking to reduce costs and carbon emissions and through gaining greater multi-site control has become a pioneer in this new solution.
Adopting the wireless technology system
Harvard Technology have developed the EyeNut system, which controls indoor lighting and gives users the freedom to commission, configure and maximise energy savings by controlling their lighting needs across multiple sites, using a single interface. By monitoring usage patterns, users can identify a strategy to control where, when and how much lighting is required across several buildings. So luminaires can be dimmed on an individual basis or collectively, according to how much lighting is required, while occupancy sensors can also increase savings in low-usage areas.
Oxford Brookes University found that reducing lighting levels to reflect the tasks being undertaken in certain buildings contributed to huge energy savings. They also saw a reduction in maintenance costs as monthly tests of emergency lighting can be recorded automatically through the system in a programme that is industry-accepted. This is useful for audit purposes and the EyeNut system can also track information for energy hotspots too.
As a result, the university is now looking to extend the EyeNut system to the remaining three campuses on site and their halls of residence. Its energy savings should then be of a considerable nature and in terms of seeing the real benefits of using wireless technology across multiple sites in combination with LED lighting, there can be few better examples.
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