As part of their LED projects, many companies have implemented dimmable lighting, thanks in particular to DALI technology. Beyond the energy savings generated by LED implementation, how far is it possible to push the technology, particularly in terms of occupant comfort and experience?
What is dimming?
Dimming involves modulating the flux of a light source (a group of lamps, for example) using a control device. The more sunlight there is, the more the system will be able to reduce lighting from interior lamps, while maintaining the same level of light throughout the day.
Lighting control for energy savings
A system that modulates lighting intensity according to the real needs of a building’s zones naturally generates energy savings: less lighting means less consumption.
However, maximizing the return on investment from installing such a system depends on several parameters:
- Some buildings will benefit more from the technology than others, due to their exposure to light, glazed surface, the light potential of each space, etc.
- The first step is to replace all lamps with LEDs, which consume up to 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- This system is not sufficient on a building scale. It is essential to invest in intelligence capable of controlling the system to automatically set the desired brightness remotely.
- Although dimming systems can generate energy savings, the biggest single item of energy consumption remains heating.
- The occupant experience at the heart of energy considerations
Few people approach the subject of intelligent buildings from the angle of comfort and thermal conditions. The question of heating is most often associated with this notion of comfort, but it is not the only influencing factor. Lighting in a commercial building has a major impact on the experience and feeling of occupants.
Exposure to low light levels during the day and bright light in the evening can disrupt the biological clock.
Some studies even point to the consequences for sleep quality and quantity, and thus a source of mood alteration, stress and, ultimately, a cause of poor health. Conversely, a well-lit environment can improve performance and help you enjoy a deeper, more restorative sleep. A virtuous circle of productivity, energy and well-being.
In a study conducted by the Lightning Research Centre, participants working in five American office buildings wore light meters in summer and winter to assess their exposure to light. They also recorded their sleep times, waking hours and mood. People who were exposed to bright light between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. reported less sleep disturbance and depression.
Good lighting also eliminates glare and shadows, reducing the risk of falls. This is particularly critical in hazardous work environments where health and safety are paramount, where slips and trips account for around a quarter of serious injuries.
Finally, controlling lighting by modulating its intensity also makes it possible to create different atmospheres at different times of day or in different areas. In retail, for example, lighting is an important part of the concept, enabling products to be showcased by zone.
At Eficia, we do all this, and even more, by taking technology a step further to optimize day-to-day use of lighting and other energy-consuming equipment.