Written by: Glenn Kroeten, Peoples Electric Company
There’s a path to a brighter, more efficient, and cost-effective future for building owners and facilities managers. LED lighting controls technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) now provide full insight into and coordinated control of building systems, including:
Smart LED fixtures are now available with built-in sensors that provide actionable information about occupancy, light levels, temperature, and more, with a single front end that can integrate to building systems such as access control, low-voltage communications, and fire alerts.
Peoples Electric is installing these integrated lighting controls and building automation systems—our Unity Connected Building Intelligence offering. The single front end saves maintenance, time, and management labor on top of energy- and labor-saving LED fixtures and lamps.
These IoT-based renovations reap far greater energy savings than simply replacing fluorescent bulbs or even full LED retrofits. Some of the largest savings derive from automatically or manually ramping up ventilation and lighting for crowds, or lowering consumption levels when spaces are unoccupied, which can produce as much as 75 to 90 percent energy savings in certain spaces.
The system can use daylighting and automated shade controls for additional savings, while creating a more appealing environment to attract tenants, employees, or visitors.
Studies show employee productivity has the potential to rise when lighting color is improved, such as using whiter light for close desk work. Educational and patient settings can benefit by adjusting LED lighting throughout the day to track the body’s circadian rhythms.
Building systems can be changed out or integrated later, such as adding a security system or solar. This single-platform approach, which offers more effective programming, less redundancy, and coordinated installation, allows us to pass on the savings to the client.
Facilities managers can also leverage Unity to make its data work hard elsewhere in the building or business. Retailers, sports facilities, and schools all gain from real-time occupancy information, for instance, in terms of customer beacons, restroom utilization, or classroom occupancy.
When purchasing a networked lighting controls building system, we recommend: (1) choosing a vendor who can supply both electrical and controls for full installation coordination and delivered quality; (2) specifying open protocols for full system interoperability; and (3) demanding an open system without hidden features such as licensing obligations that keep you locked in. It is also important to specify DLC-rated equipment, which delivers much longer life cycles.
In sum, Unity can increase occupant and facilities personnel productivity while adding to the overall health and ROI of building systems. Energy rebates, including bundled rebates, are plentiful, further driving ROI, and financing packages are available. The technology is now mature, with the right components and software ready to optimize building performance and maximize savings.
For more about Peoples’ Unity offering, contact Glenn Kroeten at 651-602-6854.