There is an array of elements that go to make up an automated building. We explore one of the most important in detail, as we look at why smart lighting plays such a vital role in building automation.
An automated smart building offers multiple benefits. From occupant comfort and staff retention to cost savings, sustainability and enhanced risk management, there is much to encourage property owners to invest in building automation.
Smart lighting is a fundamental element of any building automation system. Control is the word with smart lighting because it empowers facilities and building managers to ensure optimal energy usage with the least waste. It also allows building occupants to take personal control of their immediate surroundings by setting their individual lighting preferences.
The automation aspect kicks in with smart light systems when Internet of Things (IoT) powered devices are used to collect data. This data feeds into a smart building platform, prompting artificial intelligence and machine learning technology into action, clocking preferences and trends and storing data that helps to automate future actions in response to external factors.
Why is smart lighting beneficial?
To discover why smart lighting is beneficial, it is necessary to look at why good quality lighting is important in the workplace.
When office supplies company Staples surveyed 7,000 office workers across Europe, it found that
- 80% cited good lighting as essential, and
- almost a third suggested that better lighting would increase their feelings of happiness at work.
- Over two-thirds said they’d feel more valued by an employer who considered their health and well-being by investing in suitable lighting.
Another study, this time by the University of Birmingham, suggested that lighting is one of the major influencers of workplace comfort. The study went as far as saying that a lack of adequate lighting can decrease efficiency and negatively affect health.
Good lighting is also said to contribute to the creation of healthy buildings.
Maximum daylight, minimal shadows, avoidance of dazzle and glare, optimal control of personal lighting and lighting suitable for the task at hand are all recommendations towards the achievement of ‘good quality lighting’.
Further, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that every workplace should have ‘suitable and sufficient lighting and it shall, as far as it is reasonably practicable, be by natural lighting’.
So how does smart light technology improve lighting quality?
Taking a closer look at how smart lighting works and what it actually does in terms of automation can answer the questions.
How does smart lighting work?
Smart lighting uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, all powered by data fed via connected Internet of Things devices sited around a building. Such devices may include the likes of sensors that detect room occupancy, time of day and volume of natural light.
Smart lighting control systems can automatically:
- Switch lights on when someone enters a room
- Switch lights off when a space is unoccupied
- Dim lights as natural light intensifies
- Brighten lights as natural light diminishes
- Alter light to the right colour or shade of white
- Alter personal workspace lighting conditions to suit the individual present
Such automations have the ability to aid workplace comfort, efficiency, productivity and overall well-being. But there are more benefits to be enjoyed.
Safety – lights automatically switch on when someone enters a room, corridor or stairwell, meaning no need to leave lights on permanently for safety, or leave lights off to save energy, and expect staff to fumble to find switches.
Cost savings and sustainability – where lighting switches on automatically only as necessity dictates, energy waste is reduced, and sustainability goals are supported.
Performance monitoring – smart light systems relay information on how individual lights are performing via an intelligent control system, flagging up maintenance requirements in advance and pre-empting major problems.
And that’s not all. Smart lighting, as an element of building automation, has evolved to new heights.
It now can produce light at the right colour or shade of white by separately controlling arrays of LEDs with different colours or white light correlated colour temperatures (CCTs).
But why is this beneficial?
The colour of light has been proven to affect the human brain directly. Warm white light, for example, has a calming effect and so is perfect for the likes of breakout and dining areas within a workspace. On the other hand, cool white light has a stimulating effect and is therefore ideal for workstations or anywhere concentration is required.
Allowing users to control their lighting and set their preferences is beneficial. Going back to the research carried out by Staples, the resulting recommendation was that lighting types should be altered throughout the day in response to changing environmental factors. Also, workers should be able to make their adjustments for optimal comfort, depending again on external factors or the specific task at hand.
Smart lighting controls can separately dim arrays of warm and cool white LEDs, allowing users to adjust their light source CCT. Other colours may be added to enhance the colour spectrum for an even greater scope of control. Systems may also incorporate dim-to-warm and full-colour tuning.
How can Smart Spaces contribute to smart lighting control as part of a building automation programme?
Smart Spaces is an Internet of Things (IoT) powered platform that makes use of internet-connected sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically control various aspects of a building management system, including lighting.
With complete control over their personal workspace lighting via a simple to use and convenient smartphone app, users enjoy enhanced satisfaction and boosted workplace well-being.
The sophisticated machine learning that forms a core element of the Smart Spaces technology has the power to recall personal preferences and create pre-sets for specific tasks, as well as adapt to times of day and environmental conditions.
Why not request a free demo or get in touch to discover how Smart Spaces can help you enjoy the full array of benefits associated with smart lighting?