Smart lighting saves money, provides useful building data and even calms fears.

Working alone and after hours in mostly darkened office buildings can get scary.

People fumble with keys, search for switches and scuttle through gloomy rooms and hallways resembling something out of American Horror Story - the TV series which often housed its stories in dark environments containing an implied threat.

But modern smart lighting systems have eliminated this effect and shine a light on the future of lighting - 'smart' lighting that not only gathers useful data but saves big money.

The organic response solution (OR) senses movement to turn lights "on", "off", or even "down" when required. They boost energy efficiency, saving both landlords and tenants large amounts of money. Above all, they can harvest building usage data, enabling buildings to be run far more efficiently.


The systems are enabled through OR Technologies PTY Ltd, a member of the Fagerhult Group which earlier this year bought some of the assets and intellectual property rights of Organic Response, a company now in liquidation.

Barfoot and Thompson commercial leasing specialist Lorne Somerville says the OR lighting systems are a game changer.

"The organic response technology has embedded sensors in each light, enabling them to make decisions based on presence of people in the immediate vicinity, ambient light levels and information received from neighbouring lights," he says.

"Office lights then make decisions, through a process called 'distributed intelligence', on how best to serve building occupants."

OR is enabled by OR Technologies PTY Ltd, a member of the Fagerhult Group

As well as helping people to feel better in an office environment - and more of that later - Somerville points out OR lighting systems are vastly cheaper to run than conventional ones.

An independent study proved that, by installing an OR networked lighting control system, Melbourne based Australian Gas Ltd enjoyed energy savings of 46 per cent. The technology allowed the lights to respond more intuitively to the needs of the occupants and natural light. Measurements were taken at five-minute intervals over three months.

In another case study in Sydney, where older style incandescent lighting was replaced with OR-enabled LED lights, OR Technologies reported, over a four-month period, energy savings of 78 per cent.

"The cost benefit of installing this type of lighting will pay dividends through reduced energy consumption alone. However, the real the benefit and greatest value will be achieved through data collection, long term," says Somerville.

The lighting control system can be tied wirelessly into a web-based information portal viewed via a simple app on a phone, tablet or computer. The information received from the lights can help reveal under-utilised areas of the building - allowing landlords and tenants alike to use the space better.

"There is no requirement for individual light switches, as lights relay information to each other by beaming an infra-red message onto the floor or another surface," says Somerville. "That is then picked up by the sensor embedded in the closest neighbouring light."

Somerville says the illumination is pro-rata depending on the proximity of an individual.
The default setting is 100 per cent brightness if you are next to a light. One-light-away nets 80 per cent illumination, two-lights-away nets 60 per cent illumination . . . all the way to 20 lights distance which stimulates 20 per cent illumination.

"From an occupancy comfort point of view, you don't want anyone to feel they are in an isolated box of light - and beyond that, it's pitch black. When you have multiple occupants, those areas overlap and you get 100 per cent brightness across the space.

"Having a sensor in each light provides a more responsive and nuanced light detection system than a normal arrangement where a small number of daylight sensors control a large number of light fittings."

Connectivity to building management systems also allows occupancy data to inform other building services so they can become more efficient.

"It's crazy - tenants spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on new building fit-outs and hope they will meet the future needs of their business," says Somerville.

"They have no real-time measuring system to give feedback on how the fit-out works and is used through the term of the lease. This new form of lighting gives tenants the ability to monitor and improve their utilisation of the fit-out throughout their lease.

"Landlords also benefit as they can analyse the data to incorporate into their heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lift control systems to manage occupancy across a tenancy, a floor or an entire building."

For more information and sales inquiries contact Fagerhult NZ on 0800 324 374