Reform helps you in the foggy jungle

21 August, 2020

Feeling lost in the foggy jungle? You are not alone! Many people see the opportunity to create better and more efficient lighting in offices with smart dimming solutions and different lighting scenarios. But there are many different technical solutions and it's not always easy to find the right one.

Reform's lighting experts Beata Denton and Ulrika Bergström clarify the concepts and give you guidance here.

There is no doubt that if light brings life to the office. But needs vary depending on the time of day, how many people are in the office and what activities are going on at the moment. Being able to change the lighting as needed is both important and necessary.

The most common technique is to make the lighting dimmable. From the simplest solution where each light switch has a dimming function, to a computerised system where an app or computer program can create different scenarios and control the entire office or home's lights. In a normal interior design job, five-wire cable is run to all the luminaires so that dimming can be managed centrally. But there are times when you can't run new five-wire cables - either because it's not possible (e.g. too thick walls or K-rated property) or because it's too expensive. But don't worry - there are cost-effective alternatives that avoid the need to intervene in walls or change luminaires.

The solution is wireless dimming - a technology that replaces an existing switch with a "smart" switch. These switches then communicate wirelessly with each other and with an app. There is also an alternative option of putting a small transmitter on each light that you want to be able to dim, which then communicates wirelessly with an app or a button. All the connected lights can then be managed via an app and it is possible to create scenarios, timed dimming or the ability to manage the lights in real time.

- This technology has created new opportunities for us lighting designers to give each room its full potential. Now there is always the opportunity to create atmosphere with light and colour," says Beata Denton, lighting designer at Reform.

- Many companies we meet are amazed at the difference that can be made by creating scenarios and adding colour and dimming to the light picture. Many people think that changing the lighting is both complicated and expensive, but the technology has become much better and so has the price," says Ulrika Bergström, lighting designer at Reform.

Five tips on how to elevate your office with dimming

1. Inventory the conditions. Is it possible to run a 5-wire in the existing pipe from plug to luminaire? If so, it is possible to make a fixed installation. If this is not possible, you will have to look at a wireless solution.

2. How is the space used? Make sure you create the right light for the right use.

3. Are rooms used in different ways? Then it might be a good idea to create different scenarios where you can quickly change the light pattern.

4. Coloured light can change the experience and function of an entire room. Today there are both tunable white - different colour temperatures of white light, and RGB i.e. coloured light that can be easily adjusted by button or app.

5. Control of part of the plant. You can choose different degrees of influence for different parts of your lighting system. A traditional system can easily be improved by making some strategic parts more flexible.

Facts: Dimming technology

For offices, there are three leading ways to manage dimming and lighting scenarios.

Fixed installation
Fixed installation means pulling a so-called 5-wire from the power source to the luminaire. All lamps are connected to the group control centre which can then be controlled via an app or computer software via DALI or KNX control.

Wireless dimming

If you can't change the wiring in walls and ceilings, you can achieve the same power in smaller areas with wireless technology. In this case, you replace your usual control button with a "smart" button or, if there are not so many luminaires, install a transmitter in each lamp that forms a network that can be controlled via a button, app or computer program. You can choose to control most of the office via a screen/app.

Local dimming

You can choose to install dimmer functions in individual rooms and control the room locally via a button on the wall or via an app on the individual user's phone or a tablet associated with the room.