homenews and insights connected_lighting_control_in_decarbonising buildings

The importance of connected lighting control in decarbonising buildings

By Dr Andrew Eaton
02 June 2023

Product Marketing Manager

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Lighting accounts for roughly, 36% of a building’s energy, and thus carbon. The type of lighting used and the control strategy used to optimise its use can play a major part in decarbonising your buildings. In this webinar, held on 16 May 2023, the panel concentrated on connected lighting control, rather than the light fittings themselves.

Aimed at consultants, specifiers, FM professionals, and building managers, our cross-industry panel discussed practical considerations around using lighting control towards the decarbonisation of buildings.

Why is connected lighting important?

40% of the energy and carbon used in the UK comes from buildings. 33 % of that is used for lighting.

How can it help towards decarbonisation?


The diagram shows the relative savings of energy and carbon by increasing adoption of connected lighting control. By the utilisation of occupancy sensing, such as PIR, dimming, and daylight level linking, up to 75% can be acheived. But connected lighting can achieve more than just the carbon saving from direct use. By using open protocols and APIs, different building systems can be integrated and consolidated in the BEMS head end.

A single pane of glass

If the lighting control system uses sensors to determine whether a room is occupied, why duplicate these to control other building systems? Those used in lighting control systems are typically much faster than those traditionally used in building control. By linking, for example, the BEMS-controlled HVAC to the lighting, the same signal that identifies that a room is empty and that lights can be turned off, can turn off the HVAC too.

Other building systems, such as fire alarms and room booking, can also be integrated in this way to achieve energy and carbon savings.

Until two or three years ago, such integration was difficult, but the move from DALI, a ‘broadcast’ system to DALI2, which is a central application controller has meant that integration of multiple systems is now not just possible, but in fact very straightforward.

Other benefits

Lighting control can be used to determine how efficiently space is being used. E.g. is a whole conference room being occupied by just one person.

Such technologies enable organisations to make informed decisions about the use of space, whether additional space is required or, more likely, if space can be sold or rented out. Less space means less energy and carbon use.

Connected lighting can prevent the unnecessary replacement of light fittings, with the associated increase in embodied carbon that implies. By using data from the connected systems, the performance of individual components can be measured and predictions about likely failure made, allowing the replacement of just those components. Thus reducing the number of components that will end up in landfill.

Another consideration is the reduction in carbon associated with significantly fewer visits to a site by FM staff to conduct preventative maintenance.


Wired or wireless, Bluetooth or LoRaWAN, there are many options, and in future, there will be many more.

The selection of technologies will depend on what the organisation is trying to achieve, the type of building, the nature of the project.

Talk to organisations such as those the panellists work in. They can advise on the best options for you.

First Steps

  • Identify what the consequences of missing decarbonisation targets will be - will someone be held responsible
  • Measure where you are, what you’ve got and where you want to go
  • Communicate your plans widely within your organisation.
  • Use a process, such as RIBA, to ensure that your objectives are met and cannot be value-engineered out
  • Involve companies like us at an early stage, companies who are used to working with others to ensure seamless integrations.

Decarbonising Buildings Webinars

Back in November 2021, SSE was one of the major sponsors of COP 26 in Glasgow, during which we participated in a televised Decarbonising Summit where we discussed the subject of decarbonising buildings with a cross-industry group of other organisations including Siemens, Trend, CIBSE and BSRIA.

It quickly became obvious that an hour was not nearly long enough to cover the subject, so we put together a series of webinars, with the same partners, to cover the subject in more depth. This blog is a summary of the discussions from the 10th of these webinars.

All the webinars are recorded and available for viewing by clicking the link to our website, below, along with links to register for future websites.

A transcription of the discussion is also available as a PDF