High Performance Lighting Guide for the Home: Part 6


One of the most important parts of a High Performance Lighting (HPL) design is the selection of appropriate controls for lighting each room. Controls that are used for HPL are categorized into three types:

1)   Use limiting: switches, occupancy sensors, timers and solar controls

2)   Intensity lighting: dimmers

3)   Programmed patterns of use: lighting management systems

The installations of use limiting controls are the least expensive and most commonly applied to residential applications. Every light has an on/off switch and some offer an occupancy sensor control feature. The most useful type of use limiting control is the manual on/automatic off setting that prevents light from staying on after occupants have left the room. Motion control settings are ideal for outdoor lighting applications, but may require sensitivity adjustments to prevent animals from triggering the light.

Intensity limiting controls are very useful in rooms that are used for various activities like in the dining room or living area. Dimmers give occupants the availability to adjust lighting for different activities such as formal dining or completing homework.  Dimmers must be properly teamed with the fixtures they control.

Light management systems, which provide programmable controls, may be installed to control some or all of the lights in a home. Different lighting combinations may be preset for certain occasions or times of day. Some of the features of programmable controls are the availability to dim lighting, on/off controls, occupancy sensors, timers, temperature controls and daylight sensors. This system can be controlled from a wall mount or by remote.

Here are some examples of where to install these types of controls:

  • Manual On/Off: Basement, Children’s bedrooms
  • Automatic On/Off: Interior rooms with no daylight, exterior security lighting
  • Timers: Garage
  • Dimmers: Dining room, kitchen, family room, entryway
  • Timers/Solar Control: Exterior lighting

Installations of these types of controls in your HPL home should result in energy savings over and above that of the more efficient lamps and luminaires. However, the amount of energy and cost savings are highly variable due to the homeowner’s pattern of use.

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