Benefits of Networked Lighting Controls for Colleges

by | Oct 12, 2023 | 0 comments |

Networked lighting controls are frequently overlooked when universities are looking for ways to reduce operating costs. The controls do more than offer discreet or standalone lighting options for individual rooms. The systems can be integrated into facilities across campus creating a lighting network that reduces time, effort, energy, and budget.

An NLCS (networked lighting control system) can improve daily facility maintenance while also creating dynamic and comfortable environments. The system can also provide clarity on building performance by collecting data letting you know where improvements are necessary to help your campus achieve a more sustainable future.

Networked Lighting Controls for Colleges – What You Should Know

While the benefits of investing in lighting controls for colleges include creating a data-driven approach to maintenance, improving efficiency, and lowering costs, that’s not all. Here’s a look at why networked lighting controls for colleges make sense both financially and for the environment.

Standalone vs. Networked Lighting Controls

More and more campuses are undergoing LED lighting retrofits and including lighting controls in the design to reduce energy usage. Occupancy, daylight harvesting, and dimming controls are common but they are also only a fraction of the lighting system’s capabilities.

NLCS can optimize maintenance schedule and facility management, The lighting system can also help with troubleshooting and identify trends in space usage.

Standardized networked lighting controls deliver results for each facility. The controls are also essential for customizing and optimizing lighting in other buildings. Integrating the controls into the building’s system allows you to layer additional strategies to improve energy efficiency.

Wired lighting controls are more expensive to install and cost higher in materials. However, both systems provide significant savings over their lifetimes. Other shared benefits include reducing maintenance times. Staff can remotely troubleshoot problems before sending teams out to conduct repairs.

You can also customize the sequence of operations (SoO) with either wired or wireless systems effectively future-proofing spaces.

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Increase Savings with Integrated Networked Lighting Controls

LED lighting control sensors (LCS) pass information to the building management system (BSM). The information informs when systems in other facilities are not operating efficiently. This saves colleges time, money, energy, and effort.

“Treating LED and NLC as a system can improve cost-effectiveness, since the NLC lifetime savings increase by 22%, and can limit the risk of stranding savings when LED is installed without controls. Additionally, combining LED and NLC enables integration with other building systems (e.g., HVAC), which can deliver even greater savings,” (Mellinger 2019).

Additional savings from networked lighting controls include power metering, air quality control, cleaning schedules, and preventive maintenance.

Lighting control sensors can also optimize spaces by turning the lights off when the area is unoccupied. When integrated into the building’s systems, the controls can also turn the HVAC unit on and off as needed. Cleaning managers can remove unoccupied spaces from their maintenance schedules.

Installing wireless control systems allows for future savings and futureproofs the space by allowing reprogramming without disrupting installed controls or the need for additional wiring.

When talking about increased savings from lighting controls, energy efficiency is a main consideration. In our blog, Smart Building Gains in Energy Efficiency, we take a look at 8 lighting control options that enhance your energy efficiency.

Lay the Groundwork to Become a Net-Zero Campus

Colleges have long been leaders in their communities, and many are laying the groundwork to become net-zero campuses. LEDs are playing a key role in helping colleges and universities reduce their energy usage. LEDs use less wattage per square foot and networked controls can reduce energy consumption even further.

Networked lighting controls for colleges can also address the issue of plug loads. Items like monitors, computers, and other office equipment are often plugged into outlets regardless of if they are being used.

Plug loads can represent a significant part of a campus’s energy consumption. However, collecting data pertaining to plug loads is difficult. Networked lighting controls can use sensors to monitor plug loads and send the data back to the operating system. Some of the data the sensors can collect include light levels, loads, shade position, temperature, CO2, humidity, sound levels, and the number of people in a room.

To prevent data overload, analytical tools are necessary to extract and analyze the incoming data.

There are three factors that are making it easier for sensors to narrow down the data and help campuses achieve their net zero goals.

  1. Technological advances and increased sensor availability
  2. Digitalized data tracking
  3. IoT (Internet of Things) which has advanced to allow programmable controls

An example of advanced sensors is an elevator communicating with the lighting control system which is communicating with the HVAC system. The system knows how many people are on the elevator going to a specific floor. The system turns on the lights and adjusts the ambient temperature.

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Electrical Systems are Crucial for Achieving a Net Zero Campus

Your electrical system data is crucial for achieving a net zero campus so it makes sense to use networked lighting controls. Some of the values you see include,

  • Reducing energy usage and being able to make changes to further increase energy efficiency
  • Improving occupant comfort
  • Creating a dynamic future-proof building

Sensors for electrical systems are small and robust providing data from connected systems. There amount of data the sensors collect can easily overwhelm energy managers, but a software program can simplify the process. The software analyzes and sorts the data into easy-to-read groupings.

Investing in networked lighting controls for colleges is a cost-saving measure that also helps campuses reach their sustainability and net zero goals. The controls help future-proof facilities and integrate seamlessly into IoT. With the right tools, including networked lighting controls, your campus will be ready for whatever the future brings.

Contact us today to learn more about lighting controls and moving towards a net-zero future for your campus. Call 610-558-9773, email [email protected] or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.


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