“The light should shine only where you need it”

The pace of change is accelerating – as of next year, all sales of conventional fluorescent lamps will be banned. Switching to LED lighting offers major energy savings in itself. Proton Lighting goes one step further with presence control that can reduce energy consumption by up to 80 per cent.

– Today, it’s not just about putting in LED luminaires, today you also need to be able to switch them off to save energy. We need to get rid of idling,’ says Anders Schultz, project salesman at Proton Lighting.

We meet at the sister company Proton Engineering in Skillingaryd, where they are gradually replacing old fluorescent luminaires with new LED luminaires with presence control.

Stand-alone is the key word.

Normally you have a master sensor that lights up the whole room when you come in. But this system we’re working with now, sensor control, is completely groundbreaking. Each luminaire has its own sensor and they all communicate wirelessly with each other via Bluetooth,’ says Anders.
In this case, the control means that the luminaires switch on gradually as you move around the room.

– ‘We’ve always been able to keep the lights on, but why should we? It’s completely unnecessary. I call this headlamp lighting,’ says Anders.

– ‘It should only shine where you need the light.

Conny Strandgård, maintenance manager at Proton Engineering, agrees:

– I’ve worked here for many years and I think the same way here as I do at home. Sometimes I’ve driven past here on a Sunday and seen that the lights are on and I’ve always stopped to switch them off.

Not only has Conny spent extra time switching off the lights, he has also had to spend a lot of time on maintenance and booking electricians when fittings need to be changed and cables re-routed.

– This system will take care of itself now that we’ve set it up, and it will save me a lot of time,’ says Conny.
The new lighting will also improve the working environment for all employees. “It’s a real boost” says Conny with a smile.

It’s a real boost

Smart with Bluetooth

Perhaps the most important issue right now is energy. Companies and individuals alike are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption. When Anders was commissioned to develop a proposal for new LED lighting at Proton Engineering, he first started with the traditional on-off solution with master sensors.

But the feeling was chafing. What if you could work down presence control to limit the number of luminaires lit simultaneously? It would make a difference when you are talking about almost 800 luminaires to be installed.

And what if you could also dim the lighting and adapt it to both daylight outside and exactly the right light value inside the premises? But how much difference would that make in terms of money? And would it even be possible?

Robert Dahlgren, Technical Product Manager at Proton Lighting, says:

– I have been asking our suppliers for quite some time to develop a solution for presence control in this type of high bay luminaire. The answer came with sensor control, an intelligent system where all luminaires communicate wirelessly with each other and where you set the framework for basic functions with a user-friendly programming interface.

Since all communication is via radio signals and Bluetooth, this is a system that saves an incredible amount of time for the electrician because you avoid all the wiring between the luminaires,’ explains Robert.

A more expensive solution – yes – but you have to look at the big picture, says Anders: ‘If you switch from fluorescent lamps to a regular on-off system with LEDs, you make a saving of about 50 per cent thanks to a reduced number of luminaires and reduced energy consumption. With presence control, energy savings can be up to 80 per cent. The installation will be almost twice as expensive, but the payoff time much faster.

Switch off when you’re not there!

In the case of Proton Engineering, Anders is working on the basis of the original calculation, which shows that the cost of operation and maintenance will fall from SEK 695,000 to SEK 235,000 per year. In reality, the savings effect will be even higher.

– ‘We don’t know in advance exactly how people will move around the building. It will be really exciting to come back in a year and see how big the savings have actually been,’ says Anders.
‘It’s important that we rethink and think right.

– With today’s energy prices, you earn an incredible amount by switching off lights when no one is in the building. We need to rethink and adapt the light,’ says Anders.

The energy crisis, the war in Europe and the new EU directives banning the sale of conventional fluorescent tubes from autumn 2023 have created a perfect storm. Conventional fluorescent tubes are still what is used in the majority of public environments.

– All buildings need to review their lighting and we need to accelerate the pace of replacing all fluorescent tubes in Sweden. Now we are no longer talking about investment costs, but about how quickly a system has paid for itself. And we’re seeing a lot of interest in sensor control,’ says Anders.

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