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With a mix of tree-lined avenues, roaring highways and new developments as far as the eye can see, effectively lighting public spaces and roadways is anything but easy in the City of Montréal. The same elements that give the city its unique charm – narrow corridors, beautiful overhanging trees, historic architecture – require contractors to think twice when installing photocontrols due to natural light restrictions.
In an effort to find the right balance between lighting support and energy efficiency, contractors for the city recently began installing NightFox™ Pro Series Photocontrols across LED fixtures.
A welcome addition, the upgraded Intermatic controls have helped establish more accurate ON/OFF triggers while providing a better experience for residents and contractors alike.
A Versatile LED-Compatible Solution
When deciding which photocontrol to install, contractors considered several factors, including LED compatibility, voltage range, price and ease of installation.
First and foremost, contractors understood that the new solution needed to be compatible with LED fixtures. Montréal had already converted more than 1,000 fixtures to LED bulbs and was in the process of making even more upgrades.
Additional technical elements like the photocontrol’s zero-cross technology, which helps extend the life of LED lighting controls, gave further proof that the solution would be an ideal fit. Without this built-in feature, lighting controls can face severe high inrush transients that are up to 100 times the recommended operating level. Over time, this can damage or even destroy controls.
Beyond basic LED compatibility, contractors were impressed by the number of input voltages the NightFox Pro Series supported. With a range of options from 120 VAC to 480 VAC, they were able to match a variety of fixtures to controls that were exactly up to spec. The option to select default ON or OFF failure modes was a clear benefit as well.
Lastly, the small size of the NightFox Pro Series was a big plus during installations. It allowed contractors to retrofit the photocontrol into nearly any existing fixture without spending time rearranging components.
Finding the Right Blend
Unlike open highways or outdoor parking lots, which tend to have clear sightlines and routine schedules, the city’s blended spaces require a combination of photocontrols and digital timer controls to effectively serve residents.
Contractors found they could integrate the NightFox Pro Series alongside the talento smart™ Digital Time Switch to create an optimum balance of lighting support and energy efficiency.
Roughly 10 percent of the city’s residential street lights use only photocontrols, while many of its parks and athletic facilities use both photocontrols and timer controls. This makes it possible to harness natural light when appropriate and ensure all areas are properly lit. For example, lights connected to a soccer field may be scheduled on a timer to run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. when the field is in use while lighting for a nearby street or jogging path is triggered by photocontrols at dusk and dawn for safety.
In locations where natural light varies, such as in the middle of a tree-lined street or near tall buildings, the NightFox Pro Series allows contractors to tailor photocontrol sensitivity to meet the needs of local residents.
A Lasting Solution
According to contractors, the less their team needs to worry about replacing components and solving maintenance issues, the better. Reliability is key.
Because the NightFox Pro Series is specifically designed to match the life expectancy of modern LED fixtures, installers are able to use their time effectively and minimize nuisance service calls. What’s more, select NightFox Pro Series Photocontrols include up to a 12-year warranty, making them an ideal choice for projects where LED fixtures and lighting controls are installed together.
By thinking through their lighting needs and thoroughly evaluating their photocontrol options, the City of Montréal was able to incorporate a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution that’ll last for years.