ARISTA® Paves the Way for Happy Tenants, Lower Utility Costs
ARISTA® Paves the Way for Happy Tenants, Lower Utility Costs

Leasing commercial office space is a lot like renting units in an apartment complex, according to Wendie Peters, owner of two suburban office buildings in northwest Illinois. At the end of the day, tenants just want a place they can call home.

But landing a new tenant (or keeping an existing tenant happy) isn’t always straightforward. The decision to sign or extend a lease can hinge on the smallest of details.

Download Case Study (PDF): ARISTA™ Paves the Way for Happy Tenants, Lower Utility Costs

That’s why it was a no-brainer for Peters to upgrade one of her 1,200 sq. ft. office units with the ARISTA® Advanced Lighting Control System. In her view, installing ARISTA was a cost-effective way to modernize her space while promoting energy-saving best practices.

“Utilities are only going up, and every improvement helps,” says Peters. “Sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra up front if it’s a long-term benefit for the building (and tenants).”

In December 2021, Wendie outfitted the office with a combination of ARISTA room controllers, sensors, and in-wall controls while also updating existing light fixtures to LED. The system would ensure lights turned on at a comfortable level whenever they were needed but then shut off when the office was not in use.

Long-term tenant of the space, Pete Semenek, chairman of a regional non-profit organization, saw the benefits immediately.

“The month after Wendie installed ARISTA, our electric bill dropped by about 12%,” says Semenek. “I almost didn’t believe it because it was so drastic.”

In addition to a drop in monthly utility expenses, Semenek appreciated how lights turned on automatically in meeting rooms and common areas (and shut off automatically), giving him one less thing to worry about in his busy day.

“It took me a few weeks to get used to not having to turn the lights off. But now it’s great – I don’t even think about it,” says Semenek. “If I’m working late, the whole back of the office will be dim. I can go right from my office out the side door without re-triggering the lights.”

Getting Started with ARISTA

Much like the seemingly overnight drop in energy costs, Peters and Semenek were impressed by how fast they were able to get ARISTA up and running.

After discussing day-to-day lighting needs with Semenek and his team, Wendie worked with her electrical contractor and an Intermatic representative to determine the ideal configuration of ARISTA components. They knew they’d want to tailor schedules around regular business hours (7:30am to 4pm on weekdays) and account for both their everyday staff of 2-3 individuals and times when 5 or more people would be in the office for special meetings.

In less than two days, a trusted electrician replaced outdated fluorescent fixtures throughout the office and installed a total of 27 ARISTA components.

At the core of their ARISTA setup was an ALC1-R room controller, which was used to drive daily schedules, set dimming levels and connect with the ARISTA app via Bluetooth® mesh technology. The configuration also included 9 presence sensors, which were placed in private offices, a hallway, a meeting room, and a common work area, as well as a daylight harvesting sensor and 9 in-wall controls.

Once the basic installation was complete, the electrician worked with Wendie and Pete to create admin accounts for the ARISTA app, which allowed them to tweak schedules and adjust parameters, such as maximum run level and dimming levels, at their convenience.

Finding the Perfect Balance

Though installation was completed in a matter of days, being able to ‘live’ with ARISTA and fine-tune settings gave Pete and his team the opportunity to customize their space and meet everyone’s needs. It also showed that it was possible to be mindful of energy consumption without sacrificing comfort or productivity.

“After the system was installed, I customized the dimming levels and shut-off times in my office to make it feel more comfortable,” says Semenek. “Some people like it darker, but for me, the lights need to be on all the way to do my best work.”

In contrast to Pete’s preferences, a co-worker in an adjacent office chose to set the threshold of their daylight harvesting sensor to take advantage of natural light, even if it means a dimmer workspace in some cases.

Moreover, Semenek cites the system’s manual override function (and its automatic reset feature) as a practical way for his team to control lighting for ad-hoc needs without jeopardizing schedules or system settings.

“I appreciate that I can manually turn the lights on at the wall if I need to,” says Semenek. “Then in 20 minutes the system resets. It’s a big plus for us and helps ensure our programming doesn’t get messed up if new people are in the office.”

The tailor-made ARISTA configuration allows Pete’s staff to stay focused on what matters most – their work.

“ARISTA is perfect for our needs,” says Semenek. “It’s added convenience to our day-to-day and is saving us money – I’d recommend it.”

A Bright Future Ahead

With Pete and his team enjoying the creature comforts and financial benefits of a smart lighting system, Wendie has already set her sights on her next building project.

“Now I need to install ARISTA in the lobby and hallways – the savings is too good to pass up,” says Peters.

Although Wendie was familiar with the Intermatic brand, having installed multiple ET Series controls and ST01 in-wall timers, ARISTA was her first step into the world of smart lighting controls. That willingness to get out of her comfort zone is sure to pay dividends. She believes solutions like ARISTA will be the difference when marketing her commercial properties for years to come.

“This is new territory for us, but I’m so glad we made the jump,” says Peters. “Having a smart lighting control system is a point of differentiation, especially when prospective tenants are choosing between comparable spaces. I’m going to have my real estate agent include it as an upgrade on our listings.”

Ready to make ARISTA a part of your next commercial upgrade? Contact your local Intermatic representative today and visit

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