Wireless lighting control systems offer a variety of benefits for building managers looking to reduce energy bills while reducing carbon emissions. However, the latest generation is taking those possibilities to the next level, says Andy Davies, head of business development and specification at Harvard Technology.

The benefits of switching to a wireless controlled LED lighting system are well documented. Building managers, looking to reduce lighting costs at the same time as curtailing CO2 emissions, have been quick to understand how switching to LED luminaires and installing smart control systems can benefit business.
However, the emerging generation of wireless controls can take such benefits to the next level, integrating with smart building management systems to offer advancements such as connected lighting, daylight harvesting and multi-site control.
Lighting accounts for a substantial proportion – around 40 per cent – of the average commercial building’s energy consumption. This in turn has a significant impact on running costs, especially when coupled with rising energy costs and strict emergency lighting and carbon emissions regulations.
Recent advances in LED lighting technology have made it an attractive option for a range of commercial facilities, from shopping centres and universities to airports and social housing. And while retrofitting LED luminaires has brought considerable savings for buildings managers, those looking to maximise long-term savings have also installed wireless lighting control systems – in turn achieving total energy savings of as much as 75 per cent.

Buying into the latest technology for retail

The retail industry, for instance, is undergoing a massive transformation as store managers tune in to the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). New and emerging technologies have quickly integrated themselves into every aspect of the retail experience, whilst the role of existing technologies such as lighting have been re-invented as the shop floor becomes smarter.
Connectivity has quickly become integral for retailers looking to advance in the digital age, and it is impacting substantially on the design, building management and indeed function of retail facilities.
With enhancements in connectivity and wireless lighting control systems, connected lighting has the potential to become the central hub of the ‘Smart Retail’ store. The latest advancements in wireless controls mean systems can be implemented store-wide to allow store managers to gain complete control of their lighting and modernise communication across a smart retail building or indeed buildings.
Improved LED lighting can revitalise the appearance of a store, being used to highlight particular brands, dimmed to set a scene and generally enhance the customer’s shopping experience – vital given the impact of online shopping on the retail sector.
Wireless lighting control solutions such as Harvard Technology’s EyeNut system are able to analyse data gathered through the system’s intuitive Graphic User Interface (GUI), identifying various patterns and insights. Live information on energy consumption and hot spots can be accessed through the GUI, allowing for better store layout planning. Areas such as stock rooms can be dimmed while not in use, with sensors detecting motion and activating luminaires if someone does enter.
IoT technology can now provide a platform for enhanced connectivity and data communication; advancements in LiFi mean lighting fixtures can be used to wirelessly push SMS and digital messages to shoppers to promote offers, store opening times or even stock availability – the possibilities are endless.

An education in innovation

Similarly, educational establishments are benefiting from the latest sophisticated systems. Driven by technological advancements, large sites such as colleges and universities are enjoying energy savings alongside improved communication.
State-of-the-art LED lighting technology systems are becoming the nerve centre of the Smart Campus. Estate managers looking to reduce lighting costs while taking into account factors such as security, carbon emissions, maintenance costs and even campus safety can reap the benefits of the latest IoT-enabled connected systems.
The latest solutions not only deliver economic benefits; they provide a brighter and more inviting campus. EyeNode, the next generation of EyeNut technology, delivers outdoor and indoor lighting control from one user interface, while delivering increased speed and improved communication and security.
Such integrated controls have the potential to communicate with existing building management systems, transferring data from buildings to building managers via mobile apps and machine-to-machine connectivity. Enhanced wireless connectivity takes the possibilities to the next level, with waste management, parking and traffic control all within the capabilities of the ‘smartest’ wireless solution.

The smart campus of today

‘Smart Campuses’ are already beginning to appear across the world, and Oxford Brookes University is a great example of this. Signifying how IoT-enabled university campuses can become more energy efficient and smarter than ever before, the connected wireless lighting solution implemented in Oxford interfaces with existing BMS systems to provide not only a well-lit, energy efficient environment, but also a more integrated scheme.
With five campuses and 14 residential sites across Oxford and Swindon, managers were looking to reduce costs and carbon emissions while gaining greater control of both its outdoor and indoor lighting.
EyeNut provided an ideal solution, enabling users the ability to commission, configure and completely control lighting across all its sites from a single hub. Through the Graphic User Interface (GUI), usage patterns were identified and an energy-efficient strategy implemented. The hub can be used to switch off or dim luminaires collectively or individually, and can schedule lighting to be activated as necessary, when needed. Information on testing for audit tracking and energy hotspots can also be accessed.
The system installed at Oxford Brookes controls a mix of standard and emergency commercial interior luminaires, including recessed modular, recessed downlights, surface linear and surface circular bulkheads; in addition, there is an assortment of emergency exit signs.
EyeNut was initially installed in two buildings, the Lloyd Building and International Centre, alongside new retrofit LED fixtures. As a result of the more efficient LED lights and the implementation of control strategies including daylight dimming and occupancy detection through sensors, the LED lighting load was reduced by 30% in the International Centre alone.
Wattage per square metre in the International Centre was reduced from 5.47 W/m2 with LED lighting without controls, to 2.84 W/m2 with EyeNut and the optimised lighting levels applied. This provided significant financial savings for the university. Lighting levels were also reduced to reflect the tasks undertaken in the building, taking the total saved to an equivalent of £13,000 per annum.
The university is now planning to install the system in a further three buildings – Sinclair Annex, Sinclair and Clerici. Oxford Brookes is also looking use EyeNut across three halls of residence.