What is connected lighting?
Commercial buildings are getting smarter and more efficient every day, and one of the key technologies driving this trend is connected lighting. Connected lighting refers to a system of light fixtures that have sensors and are connected to a network, allowing them to send and receive data.
The ubiquitous nature of lighting makes it ideal for gathering data about a building’s environments. From occupancy tracking to temperature and humidity measurements, this data provides valuable insight and control over your spaces, and enables real-time adjustments for improved efficiency, comfort and safety.
In combination with LED technology, a connected lighting system can deliver energy savings of up to 80 percent, and pay back the initial investment in as little as 18 months, depending on the type of system you deploy.
Connected lighting systems generally fall into two categories: Network control and Power-over-Ethernet.
Network control lighting usually involves retrofitting a building’s existing light fixtures with sensors and wired or wireless controls to enable data collection. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to enable advanced features such as occupancy tracking and daylight harvesting, which can significantly improve space utilization and energy efficiency. In combination with LED lighting, a network control system often pays back the initial investment in 18 to 24 months.
Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting systems sometimes involve more upfront costs since the fixtures are more expensive; however, the savings on installation can counterbalance that. Since PoE runs on standard networking cable, you don’t have to deploy a second cabling system for power, and light sources can be installed by IT personnel or even end users.
PoE offers other long-term advantages, making it ideal for new builds. A PoE system is easy to upgrade, which means that new sensor technologies can be added to the system in the future. A PoE system takes about four years to pay back the investment, but it’s future-ready and can deliver energy savings and actionable data year after year, making it a great long-term solution for smart buildings.
Of course, every building and space is unique. We’ve seen many buildings utilize a combination of PoE and network control lighting—for example, using network control lighting for common spaces and walkways while using PoE lighting in offices and meeting rooms. It’s important to define the specific needs and objectives for your building’s various spaces and let that guide your product selection and system design.
Want to learn more about connected lighting? Contact your Anixter representative for more information.