Tips for Controlling Lighting for Maximum Energy Savings

As you keep researching for your lighting retrofit project, you will discover a number of energy-savings methods that are available, besides just reducing the energy and watts used by the lamps you choose for lighting your facility. The most direct method of savings will come from the reduction in total wattage; however, if you add lighting controls to the retrofit project, it can significantly impact overall energy savings.

The lighting controls that are available range from a fully automated control system that is managed by computer programs, to less technical, manual methods. Getting to know the options available can help you determine what features you want to add to your lighting retrofit project.


All types of lighting sources will use less energy when they are dimmed. There are two primary types of dimming available and the one you choose is usually based on the lighting application in place. A continuous dimming feature will bring the light levels down in increments. These are usually installed with a sliding switch or on a knob. With this type of dimming feature, you will have a smooth transition between the light levels.

The other type of dimming feature is referred to as step dimming. This is a method of firing some or all of the lamps in a specific fixture. In most cases, this is called a bi-level switch and can offer more than two different levels of light. It is often used in classrooms.

High End Tuning

You can also opt to tune down the high end of the lighting system in place. This means that it is slowly adjusted from 100 percent of the system capability to the most appropriate amount of light required for a specific area. Over time, you can use this feature to reduce the amount of light used and see savings of 10 to 20 percent.

Occupancy Sensors

An occupancy sensor utilizes passive infrared, dual or ultrasonic technology. The sensors will respond to movement and turn on when it is detected. When the presence of someone is no longer detected, then the lights will turn off. These sensors are great for warehouses, hallways, conference rooms, storage areas, bathrooms, classrooms and offices.

Vacancy Sensors

These sensors use the same technology as the occupancy sensors and will turn the lights off when no one is detected in a space. In some cases, a person has to manually turn the lights on in a location where the vacancy sensors are being used. The installation of vacancy sensors will provide the highest level of savings because the lights won’t automatically turn on.

As you can see, there are a number of devices and features that can be used to help you save even more money with your LED retrofit project. Keep these in mind as you begin planning the design you are going to use.

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