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Better Lighting for Improved Safety

4 min read


Matt DeLoge, Vice President Business Development and Technology, Johnson Controls

This post is sponsored by Johnson Controls.

Proper lighting is critical for creating safe, functional and efficient spaces from parking lots to offices. A well-designed and implemented lighting system improves technology function and can help reduce costs. Here, we talk with Matthew DeLoge, Vice President Business Development and Technology, at Johnson Controls about developing innovative solutions for roadways, interior and exterior lighting, and plans for future technology.

Question: How can lighting affect safety?

Matt DeLoge: Lighting affects how we perceive safety and our ability to create a safer environment, both inside and out. A well-designed and implemented lighting system helps us see things more clearly and allows cameras to capture images with improved resolution. This helps drivers distinguish colors on traffic lights. With proper lighting, security cameras monitoring activities in retail parking lots can read license plates and differentiate between car colors. Additionally, studies show that as we age, our ability to detect motion with our peripheral vision decreases. A good lighting system can help reduce accidents by making objects visible sooner and increasing our reaction time.

Q: How can lighting affect organizational and/or employee success?

MD: From an organizational standpoint, companies can update their lighting systems to reduce energy and operational costs as much as 70% over conventional lighting technologies. Since lighting accounts for 30% of the utility spend for a typical commercial building, this reduction positively impacts the bottom line.

From an employee success standpoint, we are governed by biological clocks called circadian rhythms. Studies show that light is the main stimulus that helps our circadian clocks synchronize with the 24-hour solar day. To stay synchronized, our bodies need exposure to sufficient amounts of light each day. When our circadian rhythms are disrupted, we experience decrements in physiological functions, neurobehavioral performance and sleep, making it difficult to perform our best.

Q: What new technologies are driving future success?

MD: The lighting industry is exploding with new products each day. It is important to note that LEDs get a lot of the credit, but they have a strong supporting cast. Without advancements in optics, improvements in housings, and the flexibility and power of microprocessors that accompany LEDs, we could not take full advantage of this new source of light and data.

Q: What trends are you seeing in the lighting services space?

MD: From a technology perspective, lighting systems continue to increase in efficiency. In addition, lighting systems are being utilized as part of the information highway across clients’ portfolios. Simply put, clients are looking past the basic function of providing light and tapping into the lighting system to communicate and share data with other systems in ways that are increasingly more cost effective.

Q: Share an example or two of how Johnson Controls has aided a customer with lighting solutions that have positively affected safety and/or success.

MD: Johnson Controls has helped clients upgrade their lighting systems at more than 30,000 sites. We have also upgraded thousands of street and roadway lighting systems, saving more than $1 billion in energy, maintenance and HVAC costs. In East Rockaway, New York, Johnson Controls worked to implement lighting upgrades at seven municipal buildings as well as street lighting. In addition to saving more than 411,000 kilowatts, the street lights include built-in video cameras for improved safety and security.

In Hawaii, we are finishing lighting upgrades at airports and beginning work on the Highways and Harbors roadway and high mast lighting systems. In addition to the projected savings (more than $15 million annually), these projects will improve visitors’ experiences when they arrive at the airport and during their travels around the islands.