Shedding new light on comfort and energy efficiency in public buildings

Shedding new light on comfort and energy efficiency in public buildings

Occupant well-being and energy efficiency are in the spotlight as ABB i-bus® KNX DALI Gateway Premium brings human-centric lighting capabilities to a large-scale public office building in Sweden.

The balance between light and darkness is one of the most profound factors impacting all life on Earth. All of human existence has played out beneath the steady rhythm of suns and moons. Since this is a process that occurs at a constant and predictable pace, its conditioning effects on people and their activities are often overlooked. It is only when this balance is disturbed—when our circadian rhythms skip a beat—that the significance of light and darkness is brought to the forefront.

In an electrified and artificially lit world, the relationship between light, darkness and human wellbeing is one that needs to be constantly considered. Can modern technology provide lighting to private and professional indoor spaces that is attuned to our biological need for balances of light, darkness, and color? Are there any solutions that can safeguard the comfort of occupants while helping reduce energy consumption through one interconnected, easy-to-use system?

These were some of the questions posed by electrical installation company ELAB when faced with a large administrative office building in Halmstad on the west coast of Sweden. Lighting is even more of a critical challenge in locations with less daylight hours and ELAB has a long and successful track record of delivering automated energy and lighting solutions to public and private spaces.

Collaboration for the wellbeing of people and planet

Central to ELAB’s philosophy is the concept of Human-Centric Lighting (HCL), which supports human health, well-being and performance through holistic planning and implementation of the visual, emotional, and biological effects of light. ELAB looked to ABB for smart technology that could turn the promises of HCL into an energy-efficient reality.

Attracted by the unique lighting control function of the ABB i-bus® KNX DALI Gateway, which enables simple HCL control without the need for other expensive, complex product additions, ELAB’s purchasing decision was made easy by its past experiences of ABB’s support team. Working together, ELAB and ABB identified a number of key priorities in determining the project’s success criteria: increase building occupant well-being, achieve greater energy performance, reduce energy spent on lighting, and establish greater connectivity between the systems and solutions implemented.

Early on, both ELAB and ABB realized the pivotal role connectivity would play in the project, since the principles of HCL are more easily attained when coupled with technology that empowers building owners to effectively manage and automate lighting on a large scale. Based on this shared understanding, ELAB chose to design its smart lighting system using the ABB i-bus® KNX DALI Gateway Premium as its cornerstone.

ABB i-bus® KNX DALI Gateway Premium is designed to offer maximum flexibility in lighting design through tunable white and color control functionality in one device with powerful HCL functionality promoting human well-being. The system performs as a gateway between the DALI and KNX installation while contributing to reduced energy costs through easy load control systems integration.


Anders Holmen, Sales Executive, ABB Sweden, recalls the initial stages of the groundbreaking project, “Having established an understanding of ELAB’s ambitions and priorities in this project, we quickly reached the conclusion that the customer needed a fully comprehensive solution for all lighting needs. Once we introduced the capabilities of the ABB i-bus® KNX DALI Gateway Premium range, it was clear that this solution was ideally suited for the project.”

Saving in both cost and complexity

Several benefits have materialized since the installation and the customer is now empowered by a unique lighting function that enables easy HCL control without other expensive and complex product additions. The building owner is not only able to reduce costs by avoiding load peaks, but is also able to access powerful product diagnostic capabilities via the ABB i-bus® Tool. In addition, KNX’s bus system enables all building functions to communicate with each other — maximizing comfort, efficiency, and flexibility.

The office has three floors, each of around 200 square meters of office space, consisting of a mix of offices and public areas. Each floor has about 100 LED lighting fixtures with DALI DT8 ballasts to enable color choices between 2700-6500K, and with the ABB solution comprising three DALI Gateway Premiums, 40 Premium presence detectors, 55 push button interfaces, and three power supplies, the customer has unprecedented flexibility and control.

A number of different lighting scenarios have been implemented throughout the building, so that color temperatures are tailored to fit the time of day and the type of work being done in the different spaces, with less trafficked spaces having motion detectors to save on energy.

Reflecting on the journey of initial discovery to final installation Jonathan Adolfsson, KNX Manager / Technology Manager at ELAB, commented, “The ABB solution has given us complete control over our environment. Besides significant savings in the form of reduced energy consumption, we are now able to manage our lighting needs in an easy, effective, and safe manner. As a result, we no longer get any complaints about lighting. On the contrary, people feel more alert compared to the previous office.”

Anders Holmen added “As an industry we’re on the cusp of a revolution when it comes to lighting that is truly human-centric. To get there, ABB is committed to work in unison with its customers and partners to make sure this technology is easy to install, maintain, and use.”

As technology is evolving at a much faster rate than human biology, projects such as this one stand as proof that innovation must consider the people it is meant to benefit. In terms of lighting, HCL offers a way of thinking about well-being and productivity that will only gain in popularity in the years to come.


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