Q&A: Tunable White - What, Why, and How?

May 22, 2018

We asked Dynamic Lighting System Architect, Daniel Weiss, to briefly explain the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of Tunable White Lighting. Here's what we got! (P.S. This is a high-level intro to the technology. You can find more resources on Tunable White and other lighting/control technologies on our e2e Insights page.


   Daniel Weiss

                          System Architect, Dynamic Lighting

                           Acuity Technology Group





1. Can you explain what you mean by Tunable White lighting? What is it and how does it work?

Tunable White lighting is lighting that can dynamically change CCT through controls. This enables the creation of scenes and modes that can be aligned with key activities or follow the rhythm of the day.


2. Where – what applications or specific purposes - do you see the most benefit of a tunable lighting system?

Tunable White technology is perfect for applications such as Education, Retail, and Office. These are examples of spaces where the activities change often and so can benefit most from tunable lighting, as opposed to lighting that delivers a single, static CCT and intensity level.


3. If a system is too complex, it just won’t get used.  So tell me about the controls.

That’s right, the end user of the space needs a simple controls solution for it to be used. The best Tunable White controls are scene-based where the scenes are linked to activities in the space (e.g. General, Reading, Testing, Energy scenes for education). In some spaces it is appropriate to make it even simpler by scheduling all CCT changes so that the end user gets the benefits without needing to directly control.

Acuity Brands Tunable White with nTune Technology is on our nLight® network. This enables simple controls, within the energy management network that would likely be in the space anyway, to give occupancy, photocell, and timeclock based controls.


4. What is involved in the installation? Is commissioning required?

Simple room-level Tunable White works as soon as it is installed without any commissioning: simply daisy chain the CAT5 between fixtures, sensors, and wall controls. However, it’s simple to expand the basic control using Acuity Brands SensorView software. You can easily enable multi zone control, change settings, or set scenes.


5. There are other tunable lighting systems on the market, what makes the Acuity Brands system better?

Color accuracy and nLight®.  Acuity Tunable White is powered by a technology called LightShape by eldoLED®. LightShape has the colorimetry calculations built in to ensure the highest color accuracy possible with the two-color system. The nLight network brings simplicity: simple to install, out of the box operations, and simple to commission.

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