By Nick Berry
Hello Lighting and Controls World! Nick Berry from the TLA Controls Department, here. I’m going to talk about Fully Networked Lighting Controls and count off the value add it might bring to your next project.
While providing a standalone, room-based Lighting Control can provide a basic, code-compliant setup, often taking that small extra step to go to a Fully Networked System can add a myriad of benefits.
Join me as we explore what those benefits are and let’s rethink “Simple Controls”!
1. Energy savings
The low-hanging fruit for this “Networked Lighting Control” discussion topic is the potential for an increase in Energy Savings.
I used the word potential for a reason, as I’m sure anyone reading this knows that often energy savings for lighting control comes down to the space type, and how aggressive the facilities managers get with their Sequence of Operation and their energy savings measures.
Standalone Systems will typically only offer a handful of energy savings strategies, while fully networked systems will offer the complete suite of options. These additional options will allow any end-users to truly fine-tune their system and will allow for maximum energy savings for the life of the system.
2. Centralized software
The Centralized Software to a Networked Lighting Control system is your “single pane of glass” to manage the entire building or campus from one location. There are four key benefits of a centralized system:
1. Wide Sweeping Setting Adjustments: This central management allows for Wide Sweeping Setting Adjustments for all devices with a few clicks of a mouse. Whereas with a standalone system, changes would need to be made locally at each room or to each individual device—this saves an immense amount of time and money and allows for maximum energy savings and site optimization. Just recently, our tech team was asked to change sensor time delays in an entire building (~200 sensors) from 15-minutes to 10-minutes; through our nLight SensorView software, we were able to select every single sensor and make this adjustment with one click of the “save” button, taking what could have been a multi-day tech endeavor down to roughly 5-minutes of work!
2. Enhanced Energy Savings through System Profiles: Think of System Profiles like time schedules for any device setting, not just on/off. For example, a profile can be written for all sensors to have a 20-minute time delay during business hours; however, after hours the profile can be written for time delays to reduce to 5-minutes given only security or janitorial walkthroughs might be occurring.
3. Enhanced Floorplan Graphics: A graphical floorplan layout can easily be added onto the software to give an enhanced user experience, providing site-specific layouts and control over the building, lights, and devices.
4. Troubleshooting Made Easy: With real-time status on all devices, the software can give you immediate insight into the current state of the system and allow for immediate troubleshooting.
- See errors, warnings, or offline devices.
- Monitor sensor status and sensor time delays – visibly see nuisance tripping or if a sensor is not reading the room properly.
- View photocell setpoints and footcandle reading levels to ensure optimum photocell functionality.
- View fixture dimming levels, and finely tune the lights for the space or occupant.
3. Remote support
Does learning or managing a new software sound daunting? How about managing standalone devices? Do you wish someone could do it for you? If you answered yes to all three questions, a networked system with remote dial-in support can eliminate all these concerns!
nLight Controls offer a seamless Ethernet or Cellular remote connectivity method via Clarity Link! Thus, enabling trusted experts to remotely update schedules, program devices, monitor for outages and support networked nLight sites and campuses.
Does it get any simpler than this?!
4. 3rd party integration
Take your building and your lighting control system even further with third-party integration! Here are three reasons why to take your system to the next level:
1. BAS Integration: BAS integration is more attainable than ever with a wide array of control points and objects which can seamlessly speak to your BAS infrastructure. This integration can allow for custom lighting graphics through the BAS system, it can allow for easy control or scheduling of lights through the BAS, it can trigger, or setback HVAC based on lighting occupancy sensors, and so much more! Click here to see nLight’s BACnet Object Quick Reference Guide.
2. Demand Response: With variable energy rates on the rise, and peak demand only becoming more prevalent, demand response tie in can be an easy way to reduce overall lighting load with a signal trigger/action on your Networked Lighting Control system.
3. Additional Considerations: Fire Alarm Interface, Security System Interface, Keycard Badging Interface.
What does it cost?
All jobs and applications have slightly different variables to consider, but a Networked Lighting Control system may be more affordable and feasible than you think! I’m rounding up this post with three costing considerations to help you decide if a Networked Lighting Control system is the right choice for your next project:
1. With wireless lighting control systems, such as nLight AIR wireless for example, the system networking is all done through wirelessly pairing, so there is nearly zero additional install labor to consider. (and with nLight AIR we can wirelessly network vast distances via their unmatched Autonomous Bridging Technology).
2. nLight Wired systems will have some additional control cabling to consider, but the backbone hardware is very lean and economical.
3. With the nLight Platform, the scalability will allow for the system to easily be quoted as either standalone, or fully networked, so why not see both setups by requesting a voluntary add price for the network equipment, and when considering which route to take, just remember how powerful yet simple your Fully Networked System can be!
Thanks for joining me today and looking forward to seeing you for our next Tech Corner.
Need to know more? Our Controls Team is here to help. Drop us an email with your requests for future Tech Corner posts!
Nick Berry, NBerry@thelightingagency.com
Rob Pries, RPries@thelightingagency.com
Carl Canfield, CCanfield@thelightingagency.com
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The Lighting Agency is a local construction allied company representing the premier lighting and controls manufacturers for Colorado and Southern Wyoming. We strive to be an integral part of the design process through our work with lighting specifiers, contractors, suppliers, and owners to create brilliant yet budget-sensitive results for projects big and small.