Benefits of Automated and Intelligent Lighting

Automated lighting has come a long way in a very short time and the uses seem to be expanding daily. It was almost a gimmick some years ago but these days it serves several very useful purposes. Probably the most major use of lighting being automated is that of energy saving. The increases in fuel costs and therefore your energy bills have made this a far more important item than it was even 3 years ago. Whether you are talking about a home or a business, the same issues arise.

Originally automated lighting just meant switching the lights on or off, but with the computer controls that are available there is a whole range of potential energy saving concerns. Probably the most common is still the switching from off to on of a lighting system based on human movement detection. This can be applied anywhere but is now becoming more common place in certain areas of operation.

The system is most often seen in entrance halls, car parks, toilets and washrooms and a myriad of other places, which are used often but only for a short time. In these places, a motion detector can notice movement when a person enters and can therefore immediately switch the lights on. The lights will then automatically switch off themselves off once the person has left the room, thus removing the chance for a room user to leave the light on by mistake, therefore wasting energy. The energy saving effect can be well over 50% and often more, purely from the lights turning off in situations where they might have ordinarily been forgotten about. The only negative might be that some lamps often have a lifespan depending on the number of times they are switched on and off. Therefore while the automated lighting system might save you energy, it might end up costing you money if you have to replace bulbs more often than previously.

Many of the uses for automated lighting can be from safety reasons as opposed to energy saving ones. For example, it is often the case that lighting is required for entrances to buildings or in underpasses, or in similar areas when people could manage without lighting, but not safely. However, the cost of full time lighting in these sorts of public places can be ludicrously expensive. In many cases, the lights are only used for a very limited time. For example an underpass might only be used by a couple of people over the course of the night, but the lights would normally be on for hours and hours. Late at night the usage might only be 10 minutes all night but this is an important 10 minutes to the person concerned. However this is a great example of where automated lighting can be of a great benefit; meaning governments and councils can save money on their lighting for public places, whilst ensuring those areas remain safe for those who use them.

The area which is developing most quickly, as demonstrated through the Lutron Grafik Eye range, is the balancing of lighting according to the amount of light required. For example in an office or even in the home the lighting may be required on a cloudy day but less so on a sunny day. In this case, light sensors can detect the level of light in the room, and therefore balance the lighting level through a dimmer system. This enable the room to get just the right amount of light required for the circumstances, and the energy savings over the course of a month can be surprisingly large.

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