Key Factors in Choosing Lighting Controls

Nearly every facility can benefit from lighting control, but how do you determine which lighting control is best for your facility? While a lighting assessment may give a more accurate picture of what controls would give your facility the greatest savings, the following factors can serve as a general guide.

Facility size

While a large facility is able to utilize central lighting control or a total building management system, a smaller facility may realize the best savings with a simple timer control. If you have a large floor space, such as a row of cubes, occupancy sensors will detect when a section is not in use and switch off or dim the lights for that section.

Lighting Controls


The more varied a facility's exposure to daylight in a 24-hour period, the more energy efficient the lighting can be with sensors or timers. If bright sunlight highlights a row of window desks or a meeting room, less electric lighting is needed in those areas.

Facility use

If your facility is an office space with set times of occupation, then you might need different or additional controls than a factory with two or three shifts with constant occupation. Small areas such as individual offices can be controlled by occupancy or photoelectric sensors.


How much control do you want the occupants to have over their individual lighting? Dimming controls in multi-use rooms such as a theater, classroom or lecture hall are a must, as are rooms with projectors or a projection system. Studies have shown that if occupants of a space have some control over their direct lighting area, comfort and productivity can be improved.

Floor plans

What about the area that you're lighting? Is it a factory floor, convention center, corner office or clean room, or do you need different lighting for each of these scenarios? Lighting controls can give the proper lighting to the proper area at the proper time. The layout of your office space can affect proper functioning of a motion detector – a proper design will reduce "blind spots" around corners or walls. High ceilings, large windows, specialized lab areas and intense work areas all have different lighting needs.

Building code requirements

The IECC and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 90.1) require lighting control in new construction. New commercial buildings designed to ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 are expected to achieve 30 percent energy savings compared to buildings compliant with ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2004, excluding plug loads.

Graybar's Lighting Consultants and several of our key manufacturers offer a wide range of services from simple walk-through assessments to professional grade audits. Our extensive lighting knowledge will help you get the solution that aligns with your technology, design and cost requirements.