NSCA members are well-positioned to be energy integrators for their customers, helping them benefit from efficient and cost-effective lighting solutions.
The time for integrated building systems is now. The traditional siloed approach to building system design leaves building owners with low-hanging fruit to snack on, but the real savings are too often left in the tree. Why do owners continue to settle for low-hanging fruit when integrators can help them capture the whole bounty?
Integrating lighting with other building systems introduces new capabilities and benefits. Understanding your clients’ needs and helping them appreciate these benefits relative to organizational goals can open up opportunities for you to provide more value.
- Building Performance: Energy conservation approaches, such as integrating lighting and controls with HVAC or controllable plug loads, maximizes energy savings. Demand flexibility can reduce or shift usage during peak loads, which benefits owners and operators, as well as regional utilities. These benefits can easily be quantified as energy reduction measures, which translate nicely for an organization that wants to improve the bottom line.
- Workforce Performance: It’s no secret that people are an organization’s biggest asset. Supporting occupant health and wellbeing through adequate lighting with controllability is gaining attention as researchers uncover how light affects more than just the visual system. Access to daylight and outdoor views can be achieved through integration of lighting with automated shading, helping ensure that occupants receive beneficial exposure to daylight.
- Workplace Analytics: In addition to energy and people, an organization’s real estate footprint is another costly investment. Great savings opportunities come along with fine-tuning this real estate. Managing various business necessities through asset tracking reduces wasted time by using real-time location services (RTLS) to track physical assets while real-time data integration facilitates wayfinding, flexible space utilization, and hoteling to help workers find vacant desks or meeting rooms.
Opportunity for Integrators
These capabilities typically require digital infrastructure, including LED lighting, digital controls, and/or IoT sensors. Building systems are increasingly becoming IT-based, using Power over Ethernet (PoE) or other low-voltage cabling solutions for power, control, and communication. To benefit from this shift, building owners need to partner with an integrator that has the knowledge and skills to install and integrate these systems.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy has been involved with performance verification of seven projects where lighting was integrated with HVAC. Highlights from three successful projects in Minneapolis (a university, outpatient health/fitness facility, and municipal transportation facility) demonstrate HVAC energy savings of between 30% and 73% by setting back and optimizing HVAC using granular occupancy data from the lighting system. While savings vary significantly based on the HVAC system, occupancy, and building usage, they illustrate the tremendous potential possible by integrating building systems.
However, none of the sites utilized a dedicated system integrator, which is suspected to be a major contributing factor to at least two projects where HVAC savings weren’t realized. Many of the integration challenges encountered could have easily been rectified (and the projects may have had more successful outcomes) if an integrator had been involved.
Because of these potential energy savings, utility rebate programs are looking to develop rebates for building system integration. Qualified integrators will be needed to support these programs. Energy codes will continue to drive smart buildings and energy optimization, which can’t be achieved without integration.
How can you get involved? The Integrated Lighting Campaign (ILC) is a collaborative initiative supported by the Department of Energy and other partners that aim to accelerate the advancement of lighting system integration.
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To show your support and stay informed about new research outcomes, you can sign up as a supporter and share the website with clients who are interested in learning more. The campaign’s website is a great source of relevant information that will bring understanding to the value propositions and new ideas surrounding integrated systems.
The ILC also hosts an annual recognition event that allows participants and supporters showcase and highlight their work. Case studies, presentation opportunities, and the ability to learn from others are just a few of the benefits that keep our partners engaged as we work toward a more integrated future.
This article is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Integrated Lighting Campaign.
Next Steps to Becoming an Energy Integrator
Visit integratedlightingcampaign.energy.gov today to become involved! Submit projects for recognition in the following categories before March 15:
- Advanced use of sensors and controls or lighting
- Integrated controls for HVAC and lighting systems
- Integrated controls for plug loads and lighting systems
- Other integrated systems and lighting