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In our last two issues, we discussed various aspects of lighting controls:

  • Occupancy sensors—an effective way to not only save energy, lower your utility bills, and achieve a fast ROI, but to comply with lighting control regulations such as California’s Title 24.
  • Daylight harvesting (daylighting)—can help reduce utility bills anywhere from 30 to 80 percent while improving the quality of your visual environment.

This week, we complete our three-part series on lighting controls by discussing control panels. In their basic form, control panels control lighting at the circuit level versus the individual fixture or switch level. With control panels, you can reduce energy costs by programming lights to turn off during unoccupied periods. Control panels are typically designed to work with internally programmed schedules (e.g., 365 days) and can also take a variety of inputs, such as light levels from a photocell, to further control and maximize energy savings. Some modules also allow for:

  • Measure and verification (M&V)—allows you to document energy usage at the circuit or panel level. To verify the anticipated savings, M&V enables the building owner to track baseline usage and usage after energy conservation measures have been performed
  • Online visibility—enables energy managers to monitor, program, and control circuit-level consumption across multiple locations, from a single interface
  • Tenant billing—allows building owners to capture actual usage data at the circuit level and allocate energy usage by each tenant in a building even though tenants are not on separate meters.  Tenant billing can help landlords take advantage of additional revenue streams (provided lease structures and local regulations allow the practice).

Several regulations regarding lighting controls are currently in the works. ASHRAE, a national group that sets energy standards for buildings, does a nice job of summarizing what’s to come.

By combining occupancy sensors, daylighting, and control panels, you can drastically reduce energy consumption and improve functionality. Monterey offers effective lighting control products from leading manufacturers such as LC&D and Cooper Controls to help you reduce your utility bills and your carbon footprint. Contact us today by visiting, sending an e-mail to, or calling 909.397.8000.