Design Brief: Lighting Controls

March 1, 2006
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Table of ContentsWorkers tend to be more productive in a well-lit space that fosters better visual comfort.

Lighting controls can increase the value of commercial buildings by making them more comfortable, productive, and energy efficient. These controls work either by turning lights off when they are not needed or by dimming light output so that no more light is produced than necessary. By creatively combining these two functions, designers can achieve even greater benefits such as these:

  • An office building that installed daylight dimming controls and experienced a 15-percent decline in absenteeism.
  • A campus where occupancy sensors positioned in 8,000 rooms have saved the school $1.3 million a year, with a payback of about one year.
  • An electronics manufacturer that used an energy management system to control lights and saved more than $86,000 annually.
  • A government laboratory that discovered when it gave workers control over lighting levels that they used the controls to improve their visual comfort as well as to save energy.

Lighting controls present another important benefit to designers: Including them in a system can make it easier to meet or exceed California's stringent lighting energy-efficiency requirements.

This Design Brief provides the designer with in-depth information on the following topics:

  • On-Off Controls
  • Dimming Controls
  • Combined Technologies
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