Large commercial buildings more commonly use lighting controls

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 18 views 

Lighting control technologies are more commonly found in large commercial buildings that are at least 50,000 square feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Occupancy sensors were used in 55% of these buildings but in only 16% of all lit buildings in 2015. The sensors automatically turn off or dim the lights when the room is unoccupied. Plug-load controls were in 3% of large commercial buildings but in only 1% of all lit buildings in 2015, according to the EIA. Plug-load controls automatically turn off all lights and wall plugs when the room is unoccupied.

Scheduling was used in 43% of large commercial buildings but in only 18% of all lit buildings. “Scheduling automatically dims or turns off lights at certain times of the day,” according to the EIA. Building automation systems were in 19% of large commercial buildings but in only 4% of all lit buildings. Not only do these systems control mechanical, electrical and plumbing, but they also control lighting and rely on an occupancy schedule, rather than sensors. Demand-responsive lighting, which dims or turns off lights when electricity is at peak pricing, was used in 6% of large commercial buildings and 4% of all lit buildings.

Multi-level lighting or dimming was used in 23% of large commercial buildings but in only 7% of all lit buildings in 2015. This type of control adjusts lighting “through continuous dimming, stepped dimming or stepped switching,” according to the EIA. Daylight harvesting is used in 9% of large commercial buildings and 2% of all lit buildings. This control adjusts the lighting based on the level of available natural light. High-end trimming or light-level trimming, which sets the maximum light level at less than 100%, is used in 1% in both building groups.

Standard fluorescent lighting is used in more than 70% of all lit commercial buildings, but more efficient lighting is starting to become more common. The use of compact fluorescent has risen to 13%, while the use of incandescent bulbs has fallen to 6%.

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