Introduction to Lighting Control Systems

This is the first article in our Lighting Control Systems Series, designed to take you from initial education to implementation.

The other articles in our Lighting Control System series are out. You can read them here: The Benefits of Intelligent Lighting Controls in Commercial Buildings, and Commercial Lighting Control Strategies.


Chances are you already use basic lighting controls at home and at work. For example, on/off switches, dimmer buttons, and motion sensors are some of the most common lighting control systems used in both residences and commercial buildings.

However, thanks to modern technology, your lighting control system options have expanded. This is especially great for businesses, who often spend hundreds, if not thousands, on their energy consumption every year. If you think your business may be wasting money on mismanaged power, a commercial lighting control system may be for you.

Lighting Control Functions

As a business, having control of your lighting has a great many benefits. Before we get to them, however, it is important to understand the function of a commercial lighting control system.

Lighting control provides users with the ability to manage energy consumption and support visual requirements. A basic commercial lighting control system will allow the end-user to control the light output, illuminate specific areas when needed, and automatically reduce lighting when a space becomes unoccupied. In other words, a basic commercial lighting control system will allow the user to dim, zone and turn off lights as needed to reduce wasted energy expenditures or illuminate areas when occupied.

However, as with other technologies, commercial lighting control systems have continued to evolve and expand in functionality. For example, some units allow you to specify the “right” color LED lights to use for an intended space. For example, it will allow you to use the right lighting to protect vision and enhance visibility in a room primarily used for computer work versus one used as a break room. Other advanced commercial lighting control systems allow for remote programming, making it easy to set up and regulate energy consumption even when not in the office. Intelligent lighting control systems can even monitor your energy usage, provide reports, and set off alarms should the pre-programmed levels be exceeded.


A commercial lighting control system would be a complimentary enhancement for many retail settings. This regional convenience store saw fantastic results after installing connected lighting.


Lighting Control Benefits

Depending on the size of your business, a commercial lighting control system may sound like an overwhelming amount of coordination. However, there are plenty of benefits that make a lighting control system worth considering. This includes:

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Most commercial lighting control systems operate LED lighting. Because these lamps are highly energy-efficient, the savings is further increased when a lighting control system is included. In fact, by combining LED lights with a commercial lighting control system – a medium to large-sized company will see roughly a 60% reduction in electrical overhead expenditures, as well as a 30% decreased in actual lighting costs.
  • Increased Safety: Having the appropriate lighting for a space helps to increase safety. For example, illuminating an unoccupied bathroom is a waste of money. However, as an area that may be prone to puddles of water, having motion sensor lighting can trigger bright lights once the bathroom door is opened, helping to prevent accidental slips that can cost you big. Appropriate lighting in spaces used primarily for computer usage can help protect your employees from vision damages, headaches or migraines, and improve overall morale. In a room with windows, however, ambient light can affect the quality of artificial lighting. Having a commercial lighting control system that detects this and adjusts accordingly can ensure employees are not negatively affected by overhead lights.
  • Better Energy Management: Let’s face it – the more you use your lights, the higher your energy bill will be. That being said, commercial lighting control allows you to better manage your energy usage and, therefore, your energy expenditures. On average, a medium to large-sized business saves up to 50% annually on their utility bills.
  • Increased Security: Automated lighting is a proven deterrent to burglaries and other similar crimes. By including motion sensors in areas that may be prone to theft, such as an equipment lot, automatic illumination may send a potential burglar running. After all, lighting ruins anonymity and increases the chances of identification, which is a major deterrent for most criminals.
  • Easy-to-Use: Most lighting control systems are easy to use. Built with user-friendly interfaces, many commercial control lighting system manufacturers understand that simplicity is best.

For a more in-depth view of lighting control benefits, read the second article in our Lighting Control System Series: The Benefits of Intelligent Lighting Controls in Commercial Buildings.


Different Options for Lighting Controls

Above, we briefly touched on some of the different options for lighting controls. Now, let’s take an expanded look at how each feature can give you the control you want.

  • Dimmers: Dimmers are fairly inexpensive solutions to costs savings. They allow the user to adjust lighting levels, from subtly lit to fully illuminated. A dimmer switch alone can save users between 4% and 9% on energy costs as it reduces power consumption when the lights are not using full power at maximum illumination.
  • Daylighting: When used correctly, a lighting design can use natural daylighting, also known as ambient light, to reduce energy consumption. How? By supplementing artificial lighting with ambient light, you reduce the need to rely solely on electricity to illuminate a space.
  • Daylight Dimming: That being said, integrating a daylight-dimming sensor can automatically adjust your artificial lighting to shut off certain lights. This helps to make real-time changes and continually adjusts energy consumption based on immediately daylight inputs.
  • Occupancy Sensors: Occupancy sensors, also known as motion detectors, help reduce energy expenditures in areas that are unoccupied. These sensors automatically detect motion, which triggers lighting to turn on, dim, or turn off based on whether something has moved in a specific amount of time. On average, this can save you 35% to 45% depending on scale of use within your business.
  • Time Scheduling: If your business has standard hours, a time schedule may be a great way to save on energy costs. Basic schedulers allow you to set an “on/off” time. However, smarter models allow you to integrate sensors that can help control on/off, lighting levels, and more.

If you are considering commercial lighting controls, we also suggest reading our eBook Getting Started with LED Indoor Lighting.


Lighting Control with Action Services Group

A commercial lighting control system can integrate some or all of the options listed above. Depending on the solution that works best for your needs, our experts here at Action Services Group can help you reap the benefits of a quality commercial lighting control system. Reach out to us at 800-223-0982 or email info@actionservicesgroup.com.

You Might Be Interested In

Lighting and LED Product Education

LED Retrofit Education

Common Service Issues with Solutions Facing Organizations

The Full Lighting Control System Series