Digital Systems Blog

3 Ways Smart Lighting Addresses Higher Education Facilities Challenges

osram-dam-12596448_Teacher_and_studentsHigher education is undergoing profound changes.  Declining enrollments, changing student demographics, and waning retention rates have institutions sharpening their competitive edges. In the fight to recruit and retain a larger share of the dwindling pool of potential students, many schools are looking to build new or retrofit their aging buildings. However, universities are finding limited capital funding is forcing them to do more with less.

Fixture-Integrated Technology Supports Multiple Purposes

Budget pressed facility managers are looking to innovative technology that does double-duty by helping them boost efficiencies in energy management, operations and more across multiple building functions. Smart lighting systems provide them the means to do just that.  LED technology has enabled lighting to become ‘smart’ and a part of the digital world.

Wireless sensors integrated within each lighting fixture become data nodes on the lighting system network, forming the enabling infrastructure for smart building IoT applications including illumination and much more.  The smart lighting system uses the information from sensors to adjust light automatically based on certain conditions such as occupancy or daylight availability. Facility managers are also able to harvest meaningful data from the network at a granular level that is used in non-lighting applications such as HVAC to boost that system’s operational and energy efficiencies.

Maximize Utilization of Existing Space

The way students are learning and interacting on a college campus today has fundamentally changed since the time when many college campuses were built. Today’s students experience learning everywhere on campus, not just in traditional classrooms or lecture halls.  They are active participants in the learning process with team projects and discussion groups integrated into virtually every college curriculum.

Faculty and students across college campuses often have trouble finding empty meeting spaces to accommodate these learning activities, yet financial constraints of many universities make it hard to add brand new space across campuses. Since in many cases classrooms are occupied less than 60 percent of the time, optimizing space can solve the meeting space issue cost-effectively.

Using lighting system sensor data and analytics, underutilized spaces are optimized by determining those classrooms, lounges or similar building spaces that are in use, and those that are vacant.  When this data is uploaded to a reservation system, it can provide accurate information about meeting space availability. IoT sensor data and analytics can also optimize a building space by determining the number and size of meeting spaces needed based on actual usage and demand.

Extend the Life of LED Luminaires with Predictive Maintenance

LED luminaires have many benefits over incandescent, fluorescent and halogen fixtures including greater energy efficiency, less heat emitted and a longer lifespan. But that does not mean that these luminaires do not require regular maintenance to meet expected lifespans and quality illumination. The good news is that the days of walking around a facility and checking each luminaire visually or waiting for the service call are over.

An LED fixture will start to go through lumen depreciation over time affecting its performance and longevity, and the signs are often invisible to the eye. To make sure that your LED luminaires reach their published expected lifespan and maintain an acceptable lumen output (light level) across that lifespan, preventive maintenance is essential.

Preventive maintenance offers early detection of lighting issues and can mean simpler and less costly repairs. Each luminaire as a smart node on a lighting network, collects data about the health of the luminaire such as failure detection and end-of-life indicators. Lighting management system alerts enable scheduling of maintenance on a proactive rather than reactive basis. Integration of controls and communications technology (in addition to a quality LED driver) must be specified as part of the luminaire design and manufacturing process.

Download the brochure below to learn how three schools are using lighting to address their challenges.


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Topics: Smart Lighting, Connected Lighting & IoT, Trends, Education