Why intelligent lighting control is essential

We cannot afford to compromise on energy reduction. Here’s why intelligent lighting control is essential.

How many projects are you aware of where a less-than-optimal building solution has been installed? And what were the reasons behind the decision?

I have seen hundreds of projects that have excluded lighting controls.

Usually these reasons include cost of equipment, uncertainty proving the additional energy savings, and even concerns about complaints from building occupants.

In the past, some and possibly all of the concerns may have been valid. That is no longer the case. Internet of Things – or IoT intelligent controls – have completely changed the game.

The bottom line

Let’s start with the bottom line. At the time of writing, many of our clients are faced with a cost per kWh of 40p, with the expectation that this will increase again in a few months’ time.

We include the accumulating savings from smart controls over a 10-year period. from the use of intelligent controls. As a standard, our calculations are made at constant energy prices.

To put it simply – not including intelligent lighting controls would cost a small primary school around £100,000 over ten years. And remember – that’s at constant energy prices. If the average price per kWh increases by 10% per year, the losses are over £150,000.

Enlighted, a Siemens Company technology

The smart lighting control system that we predominantly use is the Siemens Enlighted system.

One of the key advantages of Enlighted compared, to other smart controls and IoT providers on the market, is that this system measures and reports the actual power consumption of each and every connected light fitting.

Not calculated by an algorithm; it is an actual power measurement. This information can be accessed via the Enlighted dashboard – by fitting, area or the entire site.

We’ve completed more than 80 installations that have included Enlighted smart controls. Typically, we see a measured additional energy saving of at least 70%.

Depending on the energy efficiency of the previously installed lighting system, many of our installations achieve combined smart controls and LED lighting energy savings of circa 90%. For reference, a typical ‘LED only’ upgrade saves only 40 to 60% of energy.

The most important time to act

Less than twelve months ago, many of our clients paid around 15p per kWh for electricity. The same clients are now paying 40p – an increase of more than 150%. The cost savings resulting from an LED upgrade, without controls, would be entirely offset by the increased energy cost.

The outlook for electricity prices is not good. Prices are expected to increase for many years to come – until we have completely reinvented our energy market. The reality is that the UK has an aging and failing electricity generation capacity that must be replaced. At the same time, demand for electricity is expected to increase significantly – especially if we are to meet UK decarbonisation targets.

The best way to reduce your cost exposure is to reduce consumption. LED lighting combined with smart lighting controls and on-site solar power generation can essentially zero your lighting energy. It’s likely to be more than half of your total energy consumption.

With climate and ecosystems collapse on the horizon – we cannot afford to compromise, and must reduce all we can.

If what we leave behind for our children doesn’t motivate you, at least consider this as a way to protect your business’s financial position against future energy price hikes.

chris knight

Chris Knight

Chris is an advocate of future-proof technology to address the climate crisis. In 2011, he founded CILS to deliver energy efficiency, initially through LED lighting solutions. His primary drive now is helping clients achieve net zero profitably, and if possible, with a net positive contribution.

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