Tony Biggs, Sales Director UK Wholesales for Lutron Electronics, looks at the benefits of switching to lighting controls.
Huge opportunities are at hand in the retrofit and renovation markets. Despite recent decreases in new construction activity, new lighting control solutions have been developed with a specific objective of growing your renovation and retrofit business, improving building performance and driving energy savings.
New business opportunities in all sectors
Lighting control is not new. Since Lutron invented the solid-state dimmer in 1959, the list of applications made possible by lighting control technologies has grown to encompass smart buildings, smart homes, as well as architectural and efficient spaces for retail, education, hospitality and leisure sectors.
The benefits of light management systems are well known. The commercial sector currently promotes the many benefits of smart buildings, including energy savings, productivity and staff well-being, space utilisation and reduced carbon footprints.
The residential sector is a buzz with smart home integration for lighting, heating and security – all driven by the uptake of voice control through Alexa, Siri and Google Home devices.
Retail, education, hospitality and leisure sectors leverage lighting control everywhere – from guestrooms, to classrooms, to public spaces, to restaurants, and even back office operations.
Simple ‘point for point’ upgrades of fluorescent panels to LEDs can lead to greatly over-lit spaces. Your opportunity is to add simple controls to facilitate dimming, occupancy and daylight sensing, to transform any space into a more efficient multi-use space, with optimal lighting for each occupant at any time of day.
Why does it matter to you?
Adding lighting controls can improve your project margin whilst providing an improved client experience and energy savings. As LED prices fall and commoditise, lighting controls allow you to offer your clients service differentiation as well as improved performance.
Lighting control is no longer a ‘dark art’. Simple-to-install, scalable and often wireless technologies have been developed especially for retrofit and renovation projects, allowing for contractor designed solutions. The leading brands are on-hand, often supported by the wholesalers through trained branch staff, demonstration units and stock.
5 ways engage with clients about lighting control
Lutron is often asked by contractors how to convince clients to consider lighting control for their projects. Contractors can shine a light on lighting control with a few simple questions:
1. Is there a benefit to automatically turning off or dimming lights when the space becomes vacant?
2. Is there a benefit to adjusting fixture output (dimming lights) when there is enough natural light in the space?
3. Is the space used for a variety of purposes with potentially different lighting needs?
4. Might the space be repurposed in future for different tasks, requiring re-wiring circuits to accompany a different space set-up?
5. Has the tenant or owner thought about maximising space productivity, energy savings, and/or tenant comfort through control of LED fixtures?
A “YES” to any of the above means that your clients could benefit from lighting controls.
Favourable regulatory environment
The UK government is driving change through legislation, building requirements and incentives, along with independent ‘best practices’. Each support lighting control, providing opportunities for contractors to sell more lighting control products to deliver client value.
These important initiatives cover multiple topics such as requirements on installations, tax offset on approved energy efficiency products, best practices to build better buildings, lightbulb phase-out or energy efficiency for property rental.
So why do they matter?
Simply, they allow the contractor to offer higher quality product at affordable prices and to encourage the building owner to invest. If unsure, there is information available at your local wholesaler, online or from companies like Lutron.
Easier solutions for easier business
The rapid changes the lighting industry is experiencing, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), growth in wireless technology, changes to building and energy requirements, as well as wider adoption of building performance standards are generating lighting-related growth opportunities, with simple-to-install, simple-to-use lighting controls at the forefront.
In addition to the existing building blocks of traditional lighting control systems (occupancy and absence detection, daylight harvesting, scheduling), new future-proofed installations using flexible and scalable lighting control solutions will be the key to success.
The next time you see or install a light switch or LED fixtures, please consider your customers’ needs and how much more user-friendly, space optimised and energy efficient it could be by utilising lighting controls.
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