Lighting controls are electrically-controlled devices including ballasts, switches and relays, dimmers, occupancy and motion sensors, photo sensors, and other automatic systems. Lighting controls and systems can reduce electric load demand, produce special effects for performances, and set the mood in home theaters, stores, restaurants, and museums. Lighting controls can be used manually by the occupants of a building to adjust the lighting of their surroundings, or automatically through programmable or intelligent devices, such as photo sensors and timers. Energy-efficient industrial lighting control systems integrate lighting controls with other building controls, such as thermostats or timers that initiate heating or cooling systems.
Lighting control systems may use remote control or wireless devices, wireless networks, and software to enhance the level of integration and control. Remote lighting controls use the same hand-held, infrared devices that operate electronic equipment such as televisions and stereos. Wireless remote lighting controls use wireless transmitter and receiver technology. This system can access many fixtures from one device while using a building’s existing wiring system, and often uses radio frequency signals rather than infrared, eliminating the need for line of sight. More sophisticated wireless lighting control systems use ballasts with built-in wireless receivers that can be organized into flexible networks of fixtures. The fixtures can be controlled by a lighting control panel, a hand-held mobile device, or a PC. For highly-integrated building automation systems, lighting control software enables facility managers to view the status of their system from their PC, configure fixtures, and program controls, either online or offline. Many lighting control software packages can be integrated into an organization’s existing local area network (LAN).
Used in conjunction with other high-efficiency lamps and ballasts, lighting controls offer cost benefits and energy savings in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Newly-enacted energy policies offer tax deductions and other incentives to organizations that invest in energy-efficient commercial and industrial lighting control systems.