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New Study Shows Decreasing Costs for LLLC Technology

Feb. 23, 2021
The incremental cost per fixture fell 28%.

A new study recently demonstrated a trend in decreasing costs for lighting controls. This ongoing study, conducted by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) annually since 2017, tracks and benchmarks the cost-effectiveness of Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC) compared to other LED lighting options based on equipment and labor costs. Researchers interviewed a total of 16 manufacturers and manufacturer representatives to collect detailed labor and other cost data across 19 lighting projects based on prototypical office buildings.

Connected lighting currently comprises less than 1% of all luminaires in the United States, but the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that by 2035 it can provide energy savings equal to 293 billion kWh. And by 2035, almost a third of installed luminaires in commercial buildings are expected to have network connectivity. Over the past several years, the range of features, ease of use, and use cases for this technology have grown substantially.

Luminaire Level Lighting Controls have sensors embedded at the fixture level, which enables greater energy savings as well as a vast array of additional benefits. These include HVAC optimization, asset management and significantly increased flexibility to program lighting remotely via smart phone apps or reconfigure lighting wirelessly as occupant needs change.

“In 2020, the way we think about commercial building spaces fundamentally changed,” says Chris Wolgamott, senior product manager at NEEA. “Solutions like LLLC offer the inherent flexibility that buildings of the future will need to adapt to changing occupancy levels and needs – and this trend of decreasing incremental costs will help us achieve our building goals more quickly.”

The study found that between 2017 and 2020, the per-fixture incremental cost of the most basic LLLC fell 28% with the 2020 cost per-fixture totaling $149 versus $100 for a standard LED fixture without controls. Over the same period, the per-fixture incremental cost of advanced LLLC with added features also fell by 16%.

“These cost trends are extremely encouraging for the future of building efficiency, and highlight the value of LLLC to the industry,” says Wolgamott. “It’s also important to note that the study used ‘off-the-shelf’ pricing for equipment. As LLLC costs have fallen, utility incentives have become more widely available, further driving down the costs to implement the technology and create holistically smart buildings.”

For more information or to download the full research report, visit the NEEA website.

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