Lights – they are something that most of us use every day, often without a second thought. But these days, lighting is about a whole lot more than simple ‘on’ or ‘off’!
What is a lighting control system?
A lighting control system is a central system or device for controlling the output of lighting within a space. It takes into account three main factors:
1. How much light is needed?
2. Where the light is needed, and
3. When the light is needed.
The system is designed to receive information, and interpret this information to adjust lighting accordingly.
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for increasingly sophisticated systems that control more than just brightness – colour, warmth and energy saving are now also a big part of the picture. New constructions, in particular, have strict energy codes that can be better adhered to with an effective lighting control system.
What are the benefits of a good lighting control system?
1. Convenience. With an effective control system, lighting is either automated or controlled using one central device, rather than multiple switches and dimmers. In larger homes and commercial or industrial spaces, this eliminates the need to continuously switch multiple lights on and off during the day and night. Automation also allows artificial light levels to adjust in response to the availability of natural light throughout the day – meaning there is no need to keep manually adjusting.
2. Ambiance. Light has the ability to set a mood or create a sense of sophistication within a space. Lighting control systems make it easy to dim lights in some areas and highlight others, which can change the structure and ambiance of a space considerably. Adding to this, controls for warmth and colour tints can create beautiful mood lighting or add elements of creativity and artistic flair.
3. Productivity. Lighting can do a lot more than just help us see while at work. The brightness and wavelengths of ambient light also helps to regulate our natural circadian rhythm, which directly impacts our mood and level of alertness. For example, research has shown that cooler light makes us more alert and productive in the workplace.
4. Energy saving. Finding ways to save energy is a major component in many lighting control systems, whether inside the home, the workplace or in public spaces. A good lighting control system will allow you to make use of natural lighting at different times during the day. For example, if some rooms in an office receive a lot of natural light in the morning but not in the afternoon, the control system will only switch lights on in these rooms during the afternoon. ‘Daylight harvesting’ is becoming increasingly popular, where sensors are used to pick up on the level of natural lighting in a space and automatically adjust any artificial lighting output accordingly to save energy. Control systems can also implement movement based sensors to trigger when lights are switched on and off, which significantly reduces energy wastage when a space is empty.
5. Safety & Security. A good lighting control system will be able to integrate with a security system or fire alarm, so that in the event of a break in or emergency, internal and external lights can switch on or flash to attract the attention of emergency services. Sensor lighting in outdoor areas also ramps up security around homes or other buildings – criminals are much less likely to continue when they are under the spotlight!
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