Building energy codes largely drive the adoption of basic lighting controls such as occupancy sensors and photosensors, says Navigant Research. Yet, those codes also create the opportunity for a lighting project to upgrade to a more comprehensive control system for a modest price increase.
According to Navigant Research’s report “Intelligent Lighting Controls for Commercial Buildings,” to meet the growing demand for lighting control systems, a number of different types of vendors have moved into the lighting controls market.
Leading the innovative side of this move are pure-play startup companies, some of which have now been in business for a number of years. These companies are largely responsible for the proliferation of creative ways to visualize lighting usage and devise new strategies to manage lighting energy consumption. Not to be outdone, the large, traditional lighting companies have begun offering a range of lighting control products. The controls side of their business will become ever more important as long-life LEDs begin to dampen the revenue from lamp sales. Finally, the established building controls companies have also been expanding their capabilities to include lighting controls along with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), fire and safety, and other building-wide control systems they already offer.
Numerous factors will affect the speed at which commercial buildings adopt local and networked lighting controls. The most important drivers are described below:
- Innovative non-energy benefits built in to lighting control systems are being cited more and more often as the key decision factor for installing a networked lighting control system.
- Regulations such as California Title 24, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) are affecting lighting choices by directly requiring basic lighting controls and by encouraging more advanced control systems.
- The European 20-20-20 energy targets will drive the adoption of lighting controls among European Union (EU) member states. All new public buildings are targeted for net-zero energy consumption by 2019, and private buildings must follow suit 2 years later.
- The falling marginal costs for including controls in a lighting project has made the decision to incorporate such a system considerably easier. In some cases, companies are even offering control systems by default to operate the lights that they install, thus bringing advanced controls to customers that might otherwise not have sought them out.