For many building owners and managers, the decision on the lighting control systems used in tenant improvement projects has been left to the tenants. However, in the past few years, Title 24 regulations requiring continuous dimming, daylighting, plug load control and demand response have increased the cost and complexity of lighting control systems in commercial office space. The increase in complexity has led some owners and managers to begin to enforce building-wide standards.
Prior to Title 24 2014, lighting control systems were relatively simple. Therefore, the lack of standards had minimal impact on the operation of a building. Today things are different. Controls systems have become much more advanced. Most control systems involve wired or wireless networking, and often include a software platform for configuration and management. Without an established standard, facilities managers and engineers are faced with an increasingly difficult challenge of supporting various control systems. A lack of a standard also prohibits the ability for advanced efficiency measures through building-wide control.
Increasingly, we are seeing a trend in which lighting controls systems are being considered as part of the building infrastructure, and in turn, building-wide standards are being set.
Establishing a standard for a fully networked lighting control backbone in commercial office space has the following advantages:
- Simplifies ongoing maintenance and control of the space
- Increases tenant satisfaction
- Decreases energy costs
- Optimizes efficiencies by tightly integrating lighting and HVAC controls Tracks each tenant’s energy consumption
Lighting control systems from the leading manufacturers such as Acuity, Eaton, Philips, Lutron, Wattstopper, GE and OSRAM are advancing at a rapid pace. Each product has its own strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating which system is best suited for your building can be a complex task. Owners and managers are well advised to seek assistance from a neutral third party that is educated on the various lighting control platforms. The sooner the standards are set, the faster the benefits will begin to accrue.
*This article was originally published by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association).