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Energy


The lighting industry: then and now


By Paul Jones, B.E.G. UK Sales Director for UK and Ireland


O


ver the last few years, several factors including political, economic, technological and


environmental issues have affected research, development and manufacture within the UK lighting industry. Major political influence came in 2009, when the European Union began the phase-out of light bulbs for general lighting in favour of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives. The UK Government had already announced in 2007 that incandescent bulbs would be phased out completely by 2011 and the US Government was actively encouraging manufacturers to develop new efficient lighting solutions which saw the introduction of LED’s. Added to this, the interest in and application of wireless connected devices has become commonplace due largely to the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs with many facilities managers now wishing to be able to control lighting of buildings and offices in this way. Installation of smart lighting control systems have continued to grow, offering commercial, domestic and government consumers a means to operate lighting in the most efficient way possible, by making the best use of natural light and only lighting rooms which are occupied.


38 FACILITIES


Smart lighting control systems In commercial buildings, lighting accounts for up to 40 per cent of total energy cost. Reducing this energy consumption has become a major goal for building owners, governments, utilities and many other stakeholders. It is no secret that replacing existing lights with more energy-efficient lighting sources (such as LED) is one of the ways to reduce this massive pool of energy use – but efficiency is only the start. UK businesses in recent years have


been exploring ways of using smart lighting controls to maximise the use of natural daylight with dimming ballasts, for example, installed within light fittings. This clever technology uses occupancy sensors to measure the amount of available natural light, compared with the pre-determined light level and automatically turns the fitting on to the required level. For example, schools require different light levels for the three rows and then separate for the presentation/teacher area. The lights are controlled by occupancy control but you can also have switches to provide automatic and semi-automatic function, both near the entrance and next to the presentation area and different light levels to ensure an overall balance.


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