Lighting the way to a truly connected campus

Lighting can be the nerve centre of the Smart Campus, says Andy Davies, head of business development at Harvard Technology

Lighting across a university campus has a vital role to play not only for the overall aesthetics of the institute, but also in ensuring safety for all students and staff alike. However, it can also be extremely costly for estate managers to maintain, accounting for around 23% of a typical university’s energy costs. 

Many universities have numerous buildings, from libraries to indoor sports facilities, as well as outdoor expanses like car parks, making managing lighting a significant and expensive task for any estate manager. Add to this, the fact that several buildings, the library, for instance, typically operate on a 24/7 basis and require varying levels of light in specific areas of the building and the job becomes even more difficult. 

Tasked with reducing energy usage campus wide, whilst also ensuring academic and social demand is met, universities are increasingly realising the benefits of LED technology and more importantly wireless lighting controls. They can deliver both improved campus lighting and reduced energy overheads.

An education in control

LED luminaires are already helping to reduce energy output in educational establishments across the UK, but new generation wireless lighting controls are becoming an increasingly popular retrofit solution as universities seek to maximise savings and gain greater control of their lighting.

Users can access an overview of any installation or indeed multiple installations, across different sites, showing key real-time data including energy output and cost savings, energy hotspots as well as potential lamp failures. As a result estate managers can address issues that may be leading to higher energy output in turn implementing energy saving strategies to further reduce costs.

One solution that is leading the march is EyeNut, an ingenious IoT-enabled wireless control, monitoring and management system for indoor applications. EyeNut offers many advantages over early generation lighting controls.

Due to the wireless nature, EyeNut provides an easy to retrofit solution for any university, eliminating the disruptive and lengthy installation downtime caused by wired systems. The system gives users the freedom to commission, configure and completely control lighting with multi-site control from a single intuitive hub, known as the Graphic User Interface (GUI). 

The system can be accessed through the internet on a laptop, tablet or smartphone and offers an overview of different sites, showing real time data such as energy usage and savings as well as possible lamp failures. Energy-saving features include daylight dimming and integration with motion sensors, which detect when a room is unoccupied, allowing for lights to be switched or dimmed collectively as well as individually, or activated when and where they are most needed. 

A wireless world 

Whilst solutions such as EyeNut are already bringing significant financial benefits to university estate managers, the latest advancements in wireless lighting control are not only maximising energy savings, but adding a degree of connectivity to campuses in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Consequently, in the future, university lighting will not only be a medium to provide a brighter and more inviting campus for students, it will also become a fundamental means of data communication. As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for campus-wide connected lighting are infinite for universities willing to make the investment in the latest cutting-edge technology.

With EyeNode, outdoor campus lighting systems have the potential to become the nerve centre of the ‘Smart Campus’

EyeNode, the next generation of EyeNut technological advancements, delivers the convergence of indoor and outdoor lighting control from one, simple to use user interface. With EyeNode, outdoor campus lighting systems have the potential to become the nerve centre of the ‘Smart Campus’. With enhanced wireless connectivity, EyeNode-enabled lighting can revolutionise communication across campuses – enabling wireless communication at dramatically increased speeds, safely and securely.

For universities this presents an abundance of opportunities. Lighting fixtures can be used to wirelessly push SMS and digital messages to students in order to provide information such as lesson timetables, lecture notes, or even library room availability.  

EyeNode’s enhanced connectivity also means the system now adds pioneering new capabilities such as Building Energy Management System (BEMS) integration and emergency test functionality to an already proven solution that has delivered substantial monetary and energy savings to universities like Oxford Brookes University – where energy savings equating to £13,000 per annum using the EyeNut system have been achieved.

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