Giving Networked Lighting Controls More Value with Energy Monitoring

Informing the design of utility efficiency programs, educating end-users on product effectiveness, and holding manufacturers accountable for their energy efficiency claims were among the benefits of energy monitoring of networked lighting cited by DLC stakeholders gathered for the DLC’s annual Stakeholder Meeting in April.

Energy monitoring – the ability of a networked lighting controls (NLC) system to report energy consumption by single or groups of luminaires – is on the table as the DLC revises its Networked Lighting Controls Technical Requirements this spring.  The goal is to speed the adoption and energy savings potential of this under-utilized technology by strengthening the value of NLCs for both utilities and customers.

As DLC Technical Manager Levin Nock explained at the outset of the Energy Monitoring Interactive Discussion, energy performance data will become a standard feature in DLC-qualified NLC systems starting with the V4.0 update this June (grace period extends through June 2020). Having access to the energy use data of various NLC systems “is a big deal for utilities,” he added, providing them with backup for energy savings claims and validating the value of efficiency programs aimed at accelerating and expanding the technology’s reach.

In addition to supporting utility efficiency programs, requiring that NLCs include energy monitoring capabilities will provide manufacturers and facility owners and managers with ongoing feedback that will likely lead to improved energy performance over time.

For end-users, the value of energy monitoring can’t be overstated. Continuous monitoring gives customers a clearer picture of their electricity use and the factors that impact consumption – paving the way to identify opportunities for improvement. And as energy monitoring data can accurately calculate energy savings, it is an obvious way to justify wider support for NLC technology – an outcome the DLC vigorously supports in light of a 2018 study showing that NLCs have the potential to boost energy savings of LED projects by up to 47 percent.

Topics identified for further consideration following the Stakeholder Meeting discussions included whether there should be different requirements for interior versus exterior energy monitoring systems, whether requirements should be different for room-level systems, and generally what minimum technical details the DLC should specify in its updated policy.  Look for refinements of these and other points in the final V4.0 NLC Technical Requirements next month.

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