Digital Systems Blog

Why the Right Smart Lighting System Can Make You Look Good

Smart lightingYour lights create and support an experience for the occupants and visitors in your building(s).

Good lighting supports specific tasks, while bad lighting can make those tasks more difficult to complete accurately or consistently. Good lighting can showcase products or render people and the space itself in the best light with richer, truer colors while poor lighting can make colors less authentic. The lighting technology used determines how good or bad the lighting and occupant experience is.

Fluorescent lighting is old technology. It’s prone to inconsistent light levels across multiple luminaires and creates a flickering effect that can be fatiguing and give everything lit by the fluorescent lighting a dusty or dirty look. In addition, fluorescent lighting uses much more electricity than new technology. So your older lights are not only making you look bad, but also you’re paying more--way more—for poor lighting than you would if your lighting system was based on newer LED technology.

The simple truth is this: if you’re still using traditional fluorescent lighting in your business, you are paying way more than you should, and you’re not looking your best.

But there’s a way to fix this.

Spend Less, Look Better

For years, fluorescent lights were the cheap and easy route for most businesses to take for interior lighting. But fluorescents have two major flaws: low CRI and high energy consumption. Fluorescents are old technology and the industry has come a long way since using them as the default lighting technology in commercial environments.

CRI stands for Color Rendering Index and indicates a lamp's ability to show natural colors. The highest possible CRI value is 100, which would be equivalent to daylight. Lights with low CRI give off light that isn’t quite white causing everything to look off-color, even slightly green. It’s a subtle effect that you may not even consciously notice, but your brain can tell the difference. That off-color lighting can give everything a sickly pall—not a good look. Have you ever walked into a fluorescent-lit room and felt kind of “off” or did it seem as if you couldn’t see very well even though the lights were fairly bright? That’s the low CRI messing with your head.

In addition to the visual problems that CRI gives off, fluorescents have other issues.

Fluorescents consume lots of energy, put out a noticeable “flickering” effect, and have a relatively short useable life. If you look at the total cost of ownership, your fluorescents are likely costing you way more than you need to spend.

And that doesn’t make you look good either.

The good news comes in the form of LED technology. LEDs have a significantly higher CRI, meaning the light is whiter which helps make colors richer and truer. With LEDs, you also get way more lumens per watt (i.e., more light for the energy consumed) than fluorescents making everything feel brighter and cleaner. And, you can significantly reduce your total energy consumption and the associated costs. According to National Grid, lighting can make up 50% of a commercial building’s energy bill, but it is also one of the easiest things to change.

LEDs have another huge advantage. As a digital-based technology, LEDs are compatible with light management systems that offer lighting control strategies that enable additional energy savings and better occupant experiences. Lighting control strategies include but are not limited to daylight harvesting, time scheduling, task tuning and occupancy sensors.

  • Daylight Harvesting uses daylight to offset the amount of artificial light used in a space. As daylight levels vary, individual fixtures or zones can be programmed to dim up or down so that illumination is maintained evenly at the desired level throughout the space. Adjusting artificial light levels in response to daylight can significantly reduce energy consumption. Enjoy some sun (and make your business look great).
  • Time Scheduling is typically implemented in spaces with predictable occupancy and daylight patterns. Only want certain lights on during business hours? Done. Prefer to have site lighting that stays on during the night for added security? Done.
  • Task tuning is the dimming of lights to create the appropriate level of light for particular activities (tasks) or uses of a given Task tuning can easily save a significant amount of energy and is used to avoid over lighting a space – a fairly common situation in commercial spaces.
  • Finally, occupancy sensors are a smart way to make sure you aren’t paying to light unused conference rooms and other areas used less than full time. When folks walk through the door, lights come on (or turn to a set brightness level) then shut off once everyone has left. No more paying to light every square inch that isn’t in use. 

Running LEDs and coupling them with lighting controls gives your customers and employees a great, well-lit environment, while also reducing your energy bill. That’s not too good to be true. That’s too good to pass up.

Get Ready for the Future and Smart Building IoT

Connected lighting plays a pivotal role in creating a smart building. Lighting is ubiquitous throughout a building and every luminaire is connected to a source of power, creating the ideal place to embed sensor technology and form a wireless sensor network (WSN)—a fundamental technology used in smart building IoT applications. Each of these light points with sensors becomes a data node on the lighting system network. And, this data can be used not only for a smart lighting system but also for smart building IoT applications beyond illumination such as space optimization, wayfinding and asset tracking.

By choosing a sensor-laden, intelligent lighting system, you are creating the technology infrastructure for a smart building. When upgrading your fluorescent lighting, consider LEDs with a connected lighting controls system to ready your space for the future.

Get Started

Upgrading your lights is easy. Here are some reasonable steps to get started:

  1. Evaluate What You Have
    It may seem obvious, but this step is crucial nonetheless. In order to improve upon your current lights, you have to know what those lights are doing. The best way to do that is with a professional audit. An auditor will not only determine the type and number of current lights, but also their lumen output, CRI and more. With this information in hand, you’ll know exactly where and how you can make the best upgrades.

  2. Plan What’s Next
    With the audit info in hand, you’ll be ready, along with your lighting professional, to plan the upgrade. Specific LEDs will be recommended, planned lighting output will be tallied, and the cost of the project will be laid out. Include any plans to add lighting controls to the project and your lighting expert can help create a design that makes sense for your business.

  3. Put it Together
    Make sure you have an experienced lighting contractor in your corner. Not only will these professionals make sure the right product has been procured and installed correctly, but they’ll also capture and help you get any available rebate and credit offered by the manufacturer and the utility company. A lighting contractor who can design, specify, and install even a modestly complicated system will save you a huge amount of time, hassle, and money.

Osram and FSG have partnered to provide turnkey, hassle-free lighting and controls solutions for the 21st century. FSG will handle the design, procurement, installation, commissioning, and project management of lighting systems that combine the ENCELIUM EXTEND Light Management System with a lighting package that includes fixture-integrated components by Osram. With over 35 years in the industry and more than 3,000 employees on staff, FSG has the lighting, controls and building system expertise and experience to help organizations navigate building infrastructure options.

Interested in upgrading your lighting system? The Osram and FSG partnership makes it easy. Connect with an expert.

Connected Lighting



Topics: Smart Lighting, Lighting Controls, LED Drivers