In the aftermath of pandemic-induced closures, reopened workplaces are experiencing a notable shift in space utilization, presenting building managers with new challenges. Concurrently, the escalating impacts of global warming have spotlighted commercial buildings and their historical contributions to the climate crisis. Companies are now reevaluating business practices, especially in building operations, to align with sustainability goals and reduce carbon emissions.
A pivotal aspect of this transformation involves incentivizing the integration of networked, controlled LED lighting with other building systems, particularly HVAC. The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) commissioned a study emphasizing the potential of combining these systems to enhance energy savings and reduce carbon emissions. With influence over commercial energy efficiency programs in North America, the DLC advocates for restructuring rebate programs to capture the substantial benefits of this integration.
Commercial lighting’s role in energy consumption and efficiency is crucial, with LED fixtures dominating the market due to lower electricity usage and extended lifespan. However, the limited adoption of networked lighting controls (NLCs) hampers significant energy savings. The study underscores the untapped potential for energy efficiency if NLC technology is implemented at scale and supported by incentives. Additionally, the DLC study explores the economic potential of integrating NLCs with HVAC systems, revealing substantial energy savings, particularly in large buildings with high energy-use intensity.
The research demonstrates that NLC-HVAC integration can lead to remarkable savings, impacting the bottom line significantly. Estimated potential ratepayer savings over six years in Arizona and Connecticut underscore the financial benefits if incentivized integration is promoted by efficiency programs. Furthermore, NLC-HVAC integration aligns with benchmarking energy performance policies, enabling penalized buildings to save energy swiftly and contributing to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. As the first-generation LEDs approach replacement, the study advocates for the financial wisdom of adding NLCs to planned and future LED lighting upgrades, emphasizing the potential for future energy savings and improved occupant comfort and well-being.