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January 31, 2018 by Energy.gov
Use lighting controls to automatically turn lights on and off as needed, and save energy. Of course you can save energy by turning off lights when they're not needed, but sometimes we forget or don't notice that we've left them on.
The most common types of lighting controls include:
Before purchasing and using any lighting controls, it's a good idea to understand basic lighting terms and principles. Also, it helps to explore your indoor and outdoor lighting design options if you haven't already. This will help narrow your selection.
Dimmers are inexpensive and provide some energy savings when lights are used at a reduced level. They also increase the service life of lightbulbs significantly. However, dimming reduces an incandescent bulb's lumen output more than its wattage. This makes the bulbs less efficient as they are dimmed.
Dimmers and CFLs
You can change the lightbulbs and ballasts in fluorescent lighting fixtures rather than replace them.
Dimmers and LEDs
Motion Sensor Controls
Because utility lights and some security lights are needed only when it is dark and people are present, the best way to control might be a combination of a motion sensor and photosensor.
Incandescent flood lights with a photosensor and motion sensor may actually use less energy than pole-mounted high-intensity discharge (HID) security lights controlled by a photosensor. Even though HID lights are more efficient than incandescents, they are turned on for a much longer period of time than incandescents using these dual controls.
HID light bulbs don't work well with just a motion sensor, as they can take up to ten minutes to produce light.
Occupancy Sensor Controls
There are two types of occupancy sensors: ultrasonic and infrared. Ultrasonic sensors detect sound, while infrared sensors detect heat and motion. In addition to controlling ambient lighting in a room, they are useful for task lighting applications such as over kitchen counters. In such applications, task lights are turned on by the motion of a person washing dishes, for instance, and automatically turn off a few minutes after the person leaves the area.
Photosensors sense ambient light conditions, making them useful for all types of outdoor lighting. These light-sensitive controls are less effective inside the home because lighting needs vary with occupant activity rather than ambient lighting levels. Many LED nightlights, however, have this feature built in which makes them effective and easy to use.
Programmable timers are not often used alone for outdoor lighting because the timer may have to be reset often with the seasonal variation in the length of night. However, they can be used effectively in combinations with other controls. For example, the best combination for aesthetic lighting may be a photosensor that turns lights on in the evening and a timer that turns the lights off at a certain hour of the night (such as 11 p.m.).
For indoor lighting, timers are useful to give an unoccupied house a lived-in look. However, they are ineffective for an occupied home because they do not respond to changes in occupant behavior, like occupancy sensors.
Using Timers with CFL and LED Lighting
- Manual timers: compatible with LED, CFL, and incandescent lighting
Article Source: energy.gov