Digital Systems Blog

How Small Things Make a Big Difference in Smart Lighting

image017.pngHave you ever heard the phrase “small things make a big difference”? When working day-to-day, our focus is typically on the bigger picture and often the little things are overlooked. Sometimes small adjustments can make a big impact in cost savings, productivity, and tenant satisfaction.

Bryan Medical Center, AAON and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) took the time to notice the way people use their lighting systems and then made some small adjustments that yielded big results. Let’s take a look.  

Change the User Interface – At Bryan Medical Center, lighting control is particularly important in the special procedures room where radiology scans are reviewed. In the past, the medical center used a hard-wired solution for this area but radiologists found controlling the light levels cumbersome.  For convenience, different task lighting is now incorporated into lighting scenes that are triggered using a foot pedal for hands-free viewing. This enables easy access to appropriate task lighting levels for highly accurate diagnosis.  

Require Users to Request LightsAAON, a manufacturing company, uses occupancy sensors to turn off lights when spaces are unoccupied. In spaces without occupancy sensors, time schedules are used that switch the lights off during expected unoccupied periods. A user request is required to keep the lights on. Daylight sensors are also used for dimming down lights as daylight increases, with a user request required to dim up lights. Manual control requests require occupants to switch a light on—a small and simple task—yet contribute to AAON optimizing energy usage for lighting and reducing energy consumption by over 60%, an annual operating cost savings of more than $100,000.  

Change the Order of the Buttons - CMU’s Intelligent Workplace Research Lab studies the integration of different technologies and their impact on human comfort in the workplace. Typically, 3-button wallstations assign the highest light output to the top button, and lower light outputs to the middle and bottom buttons. CMU researchers recognized that users automatically push the top button on a wallstation and are satisfied with the full light output, without even trying the lower light levels. CMU re-programmed the buttons so that the top button controlled the lower illumination level.  The result? There was no decrease in user satisfaction and task performance, and the CMU team estimates an energy savings of 70 percent. Unbelievable!  

We spend so much time in pursuit of the next big thing that sometimes we miss the little things right in front of us that can have an immediate and lasting impact. So the next time you start thinking about how to make improvements at work, don’t forget to pay attention to the little things. The results you get may be huge.  

Learn more about how Carnegie Mellon is saving big with smart lighting by downloading the case study below.


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Topics: Smart Lighting, Lighting Controls, Project Spotlight