Retail Applications
Design Strategies
Ambient Lighting Strategies
Accent Lighting Strategies
Lighting Controls
Last Update: March 11, 2012
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Retail Applications

Accent Lighting Strategies

Metal halide track lights

Ceramic metal halide spotlights mounted on track allow for additional accent light on the product or features. These lamps have a high lumen output controlled beam, and a much longer life than halogen lamps. The selection of wattages and beam spreads continues to expand. The lower wattages also reduce the amount of heat on produce and can reduce spoilage problems.

Lighting Controls

Daylighting Controls

In stores that have skylights or clerestories, daylight can be the primary source of ambient light during the day. To best take advantage of the available daylight the electric lighting energy can be reduced by automatically dimming to balance the lighting levels in the store. The dimming rate can be adjusted to make the transition unnoticeable to customers and the minimum dimming level should be set to maintain some luminaire brightness to indicate that the store is open.
Automatic switching solutions are not recommended during open hours because the sudden change of light is distracting to customers.

Occupancy Sensors / Vacancy Sensors

Infrared technology is used to “see” occupants by detecting changes in heat. Ultrasonic technology can “hear” occupants by detecting changes in sound. Infrared technology is best used in small offices, walk-in freezers, or open areas. The ultrasonic technology is best used in areas like the restrooms where there are vertical obstructions that prevent the infrared sensors from “seeing” occupants.

In public, open spaces such as the Sales Floor, occupancy sensors are not used during normal operating hours because some lighting will always be on and the sudden change in light levels may deter sales. However, they should be used during re-stocking periods when the stocking crew is only in one part of the store at a time. As a rule, occupancy sensors and vacancy sensors are best used in support spaces, offices, restrooms, and other irregularly occupied spaces. 

Occupancy sensors can also be used to turn refrigerated case lighting on/off.

Time Schedule Controls

Lighting can be controlled on a building schedule by using a time switch. The time switch can be dedicated for lighting control, or can be shared from the Refrigeration Monitoring and Control System (RMCS, see RMCS Integration below). Electronic astronomical time switches offer many options for programming calendar holidays and complex schedules and can also provide sunrise and sunset schedules for any location throughout the year.

Local Controls

Support and office areas should have simple, isolated controls such as vacancy sensors that do not require integration with the RMCS. All areas that are integrated with the RMCS should also have manual control to temporarily override preset schedules if necessary.

Addressable Lighting Controls

There are great advantages to addressable lighting control and digital dimming for retail applications. Many systems use DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) protocol. In such a system, each ballast is its own dimming module and is individually addressable through a remote router. Routers can be linked into a central processor for unlimited expansion. This setup results in:

  • Reduced number of system components
  • Simplified control wiring installation
  • Improved flexibility of control zones (allows changes after installation)
  • Simplified additions for future expansion
  • System feedback and maintenance reports. The status of each ballast is reported back to the processor. A report will indicate ballast failure, lamp failure, current ballast dimming/switched state, and power consumption.

Refrigeration Monitoring and Control Systems (RMCS) Integration

The RMCS systems have limited control for lighting:

  • Time Schedules
    • Lighting zones can be automatically switched on/off at specific times of day.
    • Daily, weekly, and annual times can be programmed.
    • Holidays that change date, such as Thanksgiving, must be programmed each year.
    • Some systems may have astronomical functions that can determine sunrise and sunset for the project location.
  • Sensors
    • Photocells and occupancy sensors must be in-line with the lighting circuitry to interrupt the electrical current.
    • Sensors cannot be bypassed with manual override.
  • Remote Access
    • Some systems may be remotely controlled via telephone, internet, or intranet.

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