Lighting control systems can reduce energy use by up to 30 per cent, according to a new guide released this month by the Lighting Council of Australia.

Control systems also offer benefits in terms of increased comfort, safety, installation cost reductions, building flexibility, maintenance improvements and compliance with building regulations.

LCA chief executive Bryan Douglas said using technology such as a light level switch to control external building lighting, for example, meant lights would not be on in the daytime when unneeded. This reduces energy use and greenhouse emissions.

Other systems such as occupancy sensors and automatic light dimmers could switch or dim lighting automatically so that spaces were lit to pre-determined illumination levels and only when occupied, Mr Douglas said.

Dimmable and automatically adjusted lighting levels were shown to reduce lighting energy consumption by between 10-30 per cent, the guide states.

There are also benefits in terms of indoor environment quality, occupant health and productivity.

“Research is starting to affirm that productivity benefits and increased learning outcomes can result from varying lighting intensity and colour due to reinforced circadian rhythms”, Mr Douglas said.

The guide gives a brief overview of how lighting control systems work, and how they benefit projects from initial planning and construction stage through to occupancy and maintenance.

It points out that control systems can adjust for the slow loss of luminance levels that occurs with most lighting sources as they near end of life. At the same time, the systems can be integrated with other building systems, allowing facilities managers to be alerted to maintenance issues and to optimise replacement planning.

Design of lighting systems can also incorporate prearranged lighting effects, known as scene setting, that create one-touch variations in lighting intensity and arrangement to suit different tasks or occupant modes.

These can be controlled via technologies including wall mounted scene switches, touch screens, remote controls, PCs, tablets or smart phones.

“The ability to personally tune lighting to suit tasks, conditions and moods can maximise safety, productivity and enhance comfort. Research studies demonstrate that convenient controls result in more content staff.”

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