LightFair 2014: The Rise of Digital Platforms & Lighting Control

LightFair 2014: The Rise of Digital Platforms & Lighting Control

Digital platforms for lighting control were a great source of anticipation and excitement at LightFair 2014.

Constant evolution of ZigBee, BACnet (Building Automation Control Network), DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) protocols are making more dynamic, custom lighting programming possible—control that doesn’t focus on the facility as a whole, but drills down to target individual spaces, paths, or zones that the end user can define, and the needs for various activities performed in each.

For example, we can set up common pathway or way-finding lighting to activate when tripping a single occupancy sensor from an entryway, or schedule reduced light levels for when cleaning staff are active.

A number of these control platforms are on the market, and the superior ones are being applied with amazing success. These platforms are not just digital controls either, but can track real-time energy consumption and serve as digital energy management tools. Many luminaire and control hardware manufacturers are recognizing the distinct advantage of building products that can speak protocol languages and integrate with these digital systems.

So, what is the result? Lighting systems are moving past the old on/off occupancy sensors or photocells. Digital protocols enable lighting to respond to human activity and changes in the surroundings, such as daylight availability, and platforms let us control lighting to accommodate different activities. This provides extra kilowatt-hour savings that’s bigger than you think!

Source: Digital Lumens, Inc., 2014 (

Source: Digital Lumens, Inc., 2014 (

The above graph is from a PG&E-sponsored study conducted with Digital Lumens luminaires and control system. It illustrates real energy savings of an LED retrofit as controls are more fine-tuned. The blue area shows the original HID energy consumption, and Stages 2 through 6 all utilized a ZigBee-based platform.

A summary of the study is available on Greentech Media.

Want to know what a digital control system could do for your facility? Get in touch with us and we can give you a preview!

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