If you’re like most building owners, your electricity bill is far higher than you would like. A good percentage of that bill is probably pure waste, and about 40% of it is probably for lighting. There is, however, something you can do about it: energy management systems, which can keep more of your money in your pocket instead of letting it go down the drain.
What controls can you implement with these systems? The degree of fine-tuning an energy management system is capable of might be surprising.
Brightening, Dimming, Day and Night
On a bright, sunny day or at noon when the sun is brightest, certain areas of your building may not need as much light as usual. On a day that’s overcast, the entire building might need more. Perhaps at certain times of the day, an area right beside a window might need less light than an area further away.
A good system includes photosensors that detect and monitor the level of the light in each room or area, then automatically turns the lighting up, down, on or off to the levels that are most optimum.
Lighting Based on Occupancy
How many times have you gone into an empty room that has the lights on? Energy management systems can control the light based on occupancy. If no one’s there, the lights are off. But when someone walks in, the sensors know they’re there and the lights come on. This not only saves electricity, but also it’s a good contribution to crime prevention.
Controlling Lights by Schedule
If your office opens at 8am and closes at 5pm, you really don’t need or want lights on from 5pm to 8am unless they’re needed for security purposes. Your energy management system can take care of that, too. If someone’s working late and needs the lights at night, the occupancy lights will take over.
Energy management systems can also control your outdoor lighting. Instead of just being on or off, your outdoor lighting can be controlled to brighten and dim as the level of natural light decreases and increases and as motion is detected in an area.
Of course, lighting isn’t the only way energy management systems can save money. Heating and air-conditioning can be controlled in the building overall and within individual spaces. Equipment can be turned off or put in power-saving mode when not in use. They can even be set to detect when equipment isn’t running as well as usual so you can get it fixed or adjusted before its inefficiency starts adding onto your electric bill. Really, the possibilities are limited only by imagination.
Since lighting in a commercial building generally represents the highest single item on an electric bill, lighting is a good place to start.
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Featured image credit: “Indianapolis Skyline” by Nick, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholascollins/2592157017/. License by https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/.