Occupancy and Daylight Harvesting Sensors – How They Work And How They Can Help Dramatically Lower Your Energy Usage

LED technology continues to rapidly expand and advance, and we at Twin Supplies are here to help you make sense of it all! One of the most crucial components of the new generation of LED fixtures are the advanced lighting controls, including occupancy sensor and daylight harvesting capabilities. Local utility companies offer significant rebates for upgrading to lighting fixtures with advanced controls, and Twin Supplies is always ready to help. Check out some useful information below relating to these technologies and how they can benefit your bottom line!

The first advanced lighting components we will analyze come from Philips, and they are known simply as the EasySense “Sensor 200” line. The SNS200 module is used used on 2×4, 2×2, and 1×4 lay-in troffer style fixtures, as well as on surface mounted strip lights. The second version, called the SNH 200, is used on highbay fixtures in high ceiling settings.

Both sensors have the same functions and capabilities, the only difference is the height ranges in which they can be used. The first function of both is occupancy sensing, and this ensures that fixtures will turn themselves on as soon as they detect occupancy in the room using their PIR sensor function. Then, after there is no more movement present in the room for any programmed amount of time between 30 seconds and one hour, the fixture will dim down to a preset background light level of 20%, or any other desired percentage you may choose. After another chosen time of 30 seconds to 3 hours after that, the fixture will then completely shut off.

The second function of the Sensor 200 is daylight harvesting. These photometric sensor capabilities will dim the fixtures according the amount of light that is ambient in the room. By detecting how much natural sunlight is being let into the area, the sensor is able to reduce the amount of power being drawn from the fixture while also maintaining adequate light levels. As the day goes by, the system detects when there is inadequate sunlight remaining to supplement the lighting, and it returns the fixtures to full power. As we understand that some areas require constant light operations, for example manufacturing plants that operate 24/7, both functions can be tweaked if need be, depending on the specifically grouped area where they are being implemented. They can also be task tuned in a variety of ways to achieve the light level and sensor functions needed.

The aforementioned sensors can also be meshed together through a near-network using a module from Zigbee, which allows for convenient, wireless control of grouped lighting fixtures. A sensor is mounted on each fixture to achieve this networked connection from fixture to fixture. Zigbee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh network standard targeted at devices in wireless control and monitoring applications. The Zigbee product delivers low latency communication, which allows the grouped lights to “talk” to each other. For instance, when you walk into a room, the first light that detects occupancy will tell all the other lights of the occupancy instantly, and all lights in the room will come on at once. Likewise when all sensors detect no occupancy after the set time (factory Setting is 15 minutes), they in turn tell all the other lights to first dim down to their background light level (factory Setting is 20%), and then turn off fully after another set period of time (factory setting is 15 minutes).

The EasySense sensor operates with the established Xitanium SR driver standard to make a simple two-wire connection between sensor and driver,thus eliminating the need for multiple components and auxiliary devices. There is no need to pull low voltage dimming wire, and no need for CAT-5 cables. The result of this pairing of EasySense sensor and Xitanium SR Driver is a cost effective and easy to design solution ideal for energy savings, and lighting and control improvements. An intuitive app operated from a cell phone makes configuration and commissioning during and after installation fast and easy using Philips field apps.

Here at Twin Supplies, we have control specialists who have been working with these systems since the very first generation and will get the light task tuned to the exact unique needs of your business. Contact us today to learn more!


-Matthew Skokna, Project Manager at Twin Supplies