The lighting control industry for commercial applications has nuances, some of which become apparent once a lighting control system is installed on site. Radius System’s approach to lighting control prioritizes providing customers with flexibility and choice, while also considering long term expenditures such as replacement parts and service support.
Previously, there have been two choices for building lighting control when considering third party lighting control systems (such as Lutron or Hubbell). Third party lighting control systems can integrate with Automated Logic (ALC) building automation systems via BACnet OR they can operate as a standalone system completely separate from the BAS. Using this approach, lighting control manufacturers only allow partial access to the I/O points in their systems, which does not allow facilities to directly manage lights via the BAS.
Recently, a third solution for lighting control has emerged: Direct control of lighting with ALC hardware. This approach leverages the existing networks of controller inputs/outputs (I/O). ALC controllers can manage lighting I/O devices exactly the same way as BAS I/O, and the custom programming capabilities of all ALC controllers allow the end user direct access to all programming. This makes ALC an excellent choice for a fully integrated HVAC and lighting system.
This approach yields the following BENEFITS:
- Lower the overall cost of implementation by utilizing the BAS network for both HVAC and lighting control – no need to install separate networks.
- Have full access to the programming of all lights in the facility via the WebCTRL GUI.
- Increase operational efficiency by capitalizing on the same set of configuration and programming tools for both BAS and lighting, which are already familiar to the facility team.
- Open market sourcing of end devices (i.e. – switches, ballasts, motion sensors, photocells, etc.) – in comparison to end devices that lighting control manufacturers utilize, which are proprietary and can only be purchased through a single source.
In evaluating the long-term cost consequences of choosing a lighting control approach, facility managers can prepare their facility for future expenditures by asking the following very important long-term questions:
- How much do replacement parts cost once a system is installed? Ask for an itemized list of all components up front before committing.
- What does post-installation support look like?
- How many techs are on staff?
- Are the techs located in/near the area of the facility?
- What is the typical response time to service calls to have someone on site?
- How readily available are parts?
- What is the typical lead time?
- What service contract options are offered? Request a service contract proposal for the system up front.