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LIGHTING & LIGHTING CONTROLS The Intelligent Future of Lighting

When considering the benefits of intelligent lighting systems to their workplace, facilities managers will generally note convenience and cost benefits. However, these systems can have an additional positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity as well.

Nelo Neves, Head of Trade Sales in the UK and Ireland, LEDVANCE UK


irstly, smart lighting installations require offices to transition their lighting to LED luminaires, which are significantly more efficient than traditional incandescent or fluorescent lights. Too many workspaces are lagging behind and still using yesterday’s inefficient energy-hungry lighting, at the expense of reduced financial cost. Moreover, the fluorescent lighting that many workspaces and facilities are settling for contains harmful mercury gases and produces a yellow- tinged lighting, which can cause migraines and eye strain amongst workers. An upgrade to SMART lighting brings an office up to date with 21st century technology, improving employee health and wellbeing in the process.

Secondly, smart lighting installations allow facilities managers to take advantage of Human Centric Lighting, the most significant recent functional advancement in intelligent lighting. With this huge leap in the field, we recognise lighting systems as not only functional, but vital in providing the right light at the right time for the user. An upgrade to automated lighting can quite simply revolutionise how we work. These automated systems provide a valuable opportunity to adapt lighting to the circadian rhythm, a 24-hour body clock that governs our natural cycles of activity and rest by managing hormone levels. Humans are known to be heavily influenced by variations in natural light throughout the course of the day. Human oriented lighting concepts, such as the BIOLUX HCL Controller, use smart controllable LED lighting systems to simulate the characteristics of natural daylight to make people happier, healthier and more productive, with proven impact in reducing sickness, whilst improving concentration and sleep. Human Centric Lighting systems ensure that the lighting environment fits the user’s biological needs by combining the visual and non-visual biological effects of light.

Traditional electric lighting has typically allowed dimming but provided few, if any, other practicable options to adjust the light to suit the users’ needs. The easy controllability of LED lighting makes it possible to replicate and even idealise natural light, to better support human circadian rhythms. Arising from this new-found flexibility, concepts such as colour quality, mood lighting, and human-centric lighting have gained traction. Each contributes to creating a more comfortable and compelling environment. Large lights from


above that imitate a sunlit (blue) sky have the greatest biologically activating effect. Therefore, at the start of the day until lunch time and after the lunch break, bright, cold white light with a high blue component (such as 6500 Kelvin at an illuminance of 300 lux at the eye) should be used. Indirect light which includes both ceilings and walls is ideal for this. Towards the evening the lighting should be changed to direct warm white light without blue components (such as 2700 to 3000 kelvin) to help our bodies relax and prepare for the night.

The benefits of automated lighting systems can now be welcomed by employees working from home, with systems that twin to Google or Alexa. New Smart+ products empower users to programme their lighting options using the LEDVANCE Wi-Fi app and create scenes that mimic their biorhythms, such as a working light, wake-up or rest atmospheres.

Systems for intelligent office installations are also being simplified. For example, the wireless VIVARES Zigbee system is ideal for modernising existing buildings where rewiring is often not an option, such as if a building is listed or has no suspended ceilings. LEDVANCE offers the necessary components and a well-assorted selection of compatible LED luminaires which allow the system to provide energy-saving lighting in existing buildings, ranging from small lighting projects to complete floor solutions. Even after commission, expanding the system with additional components is no problem.

VIVARES Zigbee Control communicates wirelessly with up to 200 Zigbee-ready devices via Zigbee 3.0. These include luminaires, sensors, pushbutton couplers and a Zigbee DALI converter for the additional integration of DALI-2 luminaires. The system and its components are very easy to configure and commission via the VIVARES portal and can also be maintained remotely using this feature. New software features are continually integrated into the system through online updates, but it doesn’t need an internet connection for commissioning and operation. As an option, the system can be connected to a cloud application to generate maintenance and energy consumption reports.

The future for intelligent lighting is incredibly exciting. We predict that even more facilities will make the switch to these systems. For example, in industrial workplaces, like warehouses, regulated with DALI systems is becoming more in demand, as we have a growing online industry with more and more warehouses where people work 24/7. Intelligent lighting creates relaxing atmospheres in

breakrooms. In a medical facility, mistakes made by tired staff could have dreadful, even fatal, consequences, so a rest area with thoughtfully chosen lighting becomes another important safety consideration. Studies in nursing homes have shown the benefits of human centric lighting for people with dementia and schools are embracing the improvement in concertation that these systems offer students.

In addition to this, UV-C technology has been around for a long time but is becoming increasingly popular to create virus-free environments and prevent contact or airborne spread. Up to recently, the implementation of UV- C lamps were still very limited. In addition to medical applications, UV-C radiation was mainly used in the food industry as well as for cleaning pools, aquariums and wastewater. However, as COVID-19 becomes more widespread, the need for UV-C lamps has boomed. Even in areas where UV-C applications have at best been in a very small niche, there is now an increased demand. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is divided into four ranges according to its wavelength, between 100 and 280 nanometres is classified as UV-C light. As it does not occur naturally on Earth, it’s able to kill bacteria and viruses by damaging their DNA. No chemicals or toxic compounds are required, and pathogens are unable to form resistance to its radiation. Though the pathogens are rendered harmless in a matter of seconds, the treatment’s short duration does not change the properties of a product or leave residue and discolouration on surfaces.

UV-C sources are dangerous (risk class RG3 according to standard NF EN 62471), and installation and use of UV-C products must be reserved for professionals who have received specific training on the risks of radiation as well as on the safety measures required by law in order to adequately protect humans, animals, plants and the environment from harmful effects. During installation, adequate shields and safeguards must be in place, including presence detection sensors and timers.

We predict the popularity of intelligent lighting being coupled with sensor technology will continue to grow, enabling systems to measure not just presence, but also the right amount of light, depending on daylight presence. Intelligent maintenance, via cloud control, is also on the cards for the future, as is intelligent lighting control systems with BIOLUX functionality where wired and wireless systems are connected.

When it comes to intelligent lighting, the future is certainly bright.

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