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The energy saving power of lighting has quickly grown over the years, and still is to this day. In the commercial and industrial space, a lot of companies are making the switch over from older technology lighting fixtures like metal halide and other HID lights over to LED fixtures.On top of the energy savings LED can bring over older types of lights, commercial dimmers can yield even great energy reduction and thus a greater reduction in your facilities utility bills month to month.
So what is a dimmer, do dimmers save energy, and should I use a dimmer switch? Let’s find out!
What is a dimmer switch?
A dimmer switch for LED lights gives you the control through a simple panel to change the amount of light that a lighting fixture (or fixtures) produces. You can dim lights as low as you so desire or as high as your light was designed to allow.
By having a commercial dimmer switch at your disposal, you can change the lights to match the mood, atmosphere, or even time of day to your needs and facilities guidelines.
Now onto the question you’ve all been waiting for, do commercial dimmer switches save energy?
Do dimmer switches save power?
The short answer is yes, dimmer switches do save you energy. But let’s discuss the history of dimmer switches and how far they have came.
Back in the day LED dimmer switches did not reduce energy because of the way they worked. Instead of reducing the amount of energy being used, they simply converted the energy not being used into heat instead of full illumination capability of the light bulb. Nowadays, dimmer switches for LED lights work by actually reducing energy used and only uses enough energy that it needs to power the light bulb at the setting of your dimmer.
Some of today’s dimmer switches use something called a “Triac Switch.” This Triac Switch works by cutting off power to the light fixture up to 120 times (variable) per second. Thus, the human eyes cannot detect a flickering and just see’s a constant flow of light. But while triac switches are used for smaller bulbs, bigger lighting fixtures use something called a 0-10v dimmer.
A 0-10v dimmer is quiet simple to grasp as it is one of the earliest and most simple dimmer switch around. Think about this; when the dimmer is at 10v, it is producing 100% of the light from your lighting fixtures. Whereas at 5v, it’s producing 50%, 4v at 40%, and so on.
There was a bit of technical information behind how dimmer switches will save you energy, now onto if you should even be using a dimmer switch or not.
Should we use a dimmer switch?
Everyone’s situation is different, and your facility may or may not be suited for a dimmer switch. Typically, if you only use your lights at full capacity and don’t see a use for ever dimming your lights due to your usage times, then a dimmer switch probably isn’t needed.
Whereas if you plan to use lights during times of day where you need some light but not all of it, then you can probably make it a reasonable purchase to get some dimmer switches for your lights. Also, if you need to create certain types of work environments throughout the days and do this by change the lumen output from your lights, a dimmer once again would be a good option.
Dimmer Switches with LED
Are all LED Products dimmable? No. To be dimmable, the product must contain either a triac dimmable LED driver or a 0-10V LED Driver. Both indoor and outdoor products can benefit from dimming. Outdoor lights like parking lot lights can be equipped with a motion sensor and dim automatically when no motion is detected. Indoor products like 8ft LED Shop Light Fixture can be dimmed similarly by a motion sensor or set specifically to alter light levels to the optimal light level.