Wireless Lighting Controls
26 January 2022
As the Lighting Industry pushes the bounds of energy efficiency with ever more efficient light sources sipping ever smaller amounts of electricity to provide the light we need it has is increasingly clear that the next prolific source of energy savings in building lighting systems will come through improved lighting controls.
One of the most exciting developments in the world of lighting controls is the widespread adoption of reliable and cost-effective wireless lighting controls. Much like the smart home devices you may have in your house or the Bluetooth headphones you may have in your ears, wireless communications for commercial lighting applications are reliable, cost effective and replacing their older hard-wired counterparts at lighting-speed. This technology is enabling better control strategies, performance, and outcomes, while reducing system costs.
Why Choose Wireless?
A wireless system is inherently flexible. It has no wires between devices, so moving adding and removing components is often much easier than it would be with a hardwired system. If you plan to expand, alter or relocate your lighting control components at some point in the foreseeable future, wireless solutions should be at the top of your list. Sensors and control stations can be placed in ideal locations, and aren’t tethered to the end of a wire, enabling better device placement. It bears repeating that most wireless systems are expandable, which enables piece-meal expansion of a system without the need to replace core equipment. This feature is a definite benefit when you are rolling out a system for a large site or across multiple facilities.
To minimize disruption to operations. Wireless solutions eliminate the need for wiring runs between sensors, fixtures and wall switches. There is no need to add signal wires, communication wires or neutral wire that may be necessary with a hardwired system. Wireless systems offer quick to installation times, and they cause less damage to your finished ceilings and walls. This makes wireless installations less disruptive to the occupied space. If you are planning a controls project for an existing occupied building, going wireless can save the nuisance of having to bring in multiple trades to deal with patching and painting. More importantly, a low-impact installation means less disruption and less downtime for your site, so your organization can keep working instead of being disrupted by high-impact renovations.
Lower cost installation: The other benefit of a low impact installation is that it is faster and requires fewer man hours compared to comparable hard-wired system. Devices can be installed, moved, and replaced without the need to alter electrical wiring, which makes for lower overall project installation costs. Since most of the work can be completed without opening walls and ceilings, you can avoid costly remediations that might be uncovered if you open a wall that contains asbestos or find a concrete wall in the path of your wire run!
Network Reliability: in many ways a wireless system is more reliable than a hardwired system. A wireless mesh network (like a ZigBee based system) is self-healing and can continue operating even if devices in the system have failed. Hard wired systems can sometimes be hobbled by a single device failure. While hard wired systems are often perceived as more reliable, this is often not the case.