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Monitoring and Reporting Lighting Use Key to Networked Lighting Controls Participation in Energy Savings Programs

DesignLights Consortium suggests networked lighting controls offer the potential to save an average of 50% of lighting energy usage by non-residential customers after installation of LED lighting bulbs and fixtures. Graph provided by DLC.
Published On
Oct 13, 2022

Amid concern for climate change and rising energy costs, many electrical contractors have already helped their customers achieve significant energy savings and receive rebates from utility companies by switching to LED bulbs and fixtures.

That’s the new normal, according to DesignLights Consortium (DLC), a nonprofit that maintains qualified product lists used by state energy-efficiency programs to enable utilities to administer rebates and incentives to electric customers to reduce energy consumption.

But electrical contractors can help their customers go after additional light-related energy savings by installing networked lighting controls (NLCs). The average energy savings from NLCs across all building types was 49%, according to a recent report from the DLC.

A key factor determining whether an NLC qualifies for an energy-efficiency program rebate is whether it supports detailed energy monitoring and reporting. That’s because for manufacturers seeking to qualify their NLC systems, DLC requires energy monitoring and reporting capability, except for room-based systems.

Energy monitoring involves use of embedded energy measurement tools to enable real-time energy dashboards, predictive maintenance and reports of historical data.

Energy reporting involves creation and sharing of digital historical energy data by using embedded measurement tools, data processing, memory and file export.

The resulting usage data from energy monitoring and reporting enables utilities to substantiate energy savings. It also helps electric customers continue to identify changes they can make to achieve additional savings.

DLC’s Energy Reporting Working Group includes DLC energy-efficiency program members and industry partners. It was established in 2021 to explore how the DLC could support standardization of NLC energy reports.

The group’s main goal was to develop a more detailed and standardized energy reporting template acceptable to all DLC member efficiency programs and in keeping with newly published industry standards for energy reporting (ANSI C137.5-2021 and C137.6-2021).

Currently, two years of 15-minute interval data is required for participation in energy-efficiency programs. The group suggests, as an option, four weeks of 15-minute interval data and 12 months of daily interval data. Next, the group will begin discussing steps for DLC energy reporting requirements and guidelines to be added for the future.

Besides energy monitoring and reporting, DLC requirements for NLC systems include networking of luminaires and devices, occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting, high-end trim, zoning, individual luminaire addressability, continuous dimming and cybersecurity.

A DLC-hosted webinar exploring the working group’s 2021 efforts and how future revisions of the DLC Technical Requirements could affect energy efficiency programs is available to watch on DLC’s website. There is also a corresponding white paper on the subject.

About the Author
Susan DeGrane

Susan DeGrane

Susan DeGrane is a Chicago-based freelance writer. She has covered electrical contracting, renewable energy, senior living and other industries with articles published in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and trade publications. Reach her at sdegra...

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