LED lighting offers a new foundation for power management

Russ Sharer is vice president of global marketing and business development for Fulham, manufacturer of innovative and energy-efficient lighting sub-systems and components for lighting manufacturers worldwide

management, as well as energy savings. By using embedded intelligence in LED luminaires, an energy management system can be created that can be extended to an entire structure or campus.

LED lighting uses 25-80 per cent less energy than incandescents, which is why most building or retrofit construction projects use LED technologies today


educing energy consumption is behind every building remodel.

Whether driven by concern about the global climate, the desire to reduce operating costs, or both, building owners, lessors and contractors factor in energy costs as a key consideration. Tenant companies and their employees

increasingly want to work in healthy buildings that help reduce individual carbon footprints while improving the working environment. Demand for healthier buildings is driving LEED and other green building certifications. They understand the need for reduced

energy consumption, but how do we accomplish it? It starts with a look at the highest energy consumers in any building. Historically, the largest demand has come from lighting, since incandescent bulbs are around five per cent efficient, ie, only five per cent of the energy used to power an incandescent bulb is converted to light. The majority of energy leaves incandescent luminaires as heat, which points to the second largest consumer of energy – heating and air conditioning. The implementation of fluorescent lighting over the last 40 years has increased lighting efficiency by a factor of


four to six, where approximately 20-35 per cent of the energy is converted to light. The major advantage of fluorescent is less heat is given off by the system. LED lighting uses 25-80 per cent less energy than incandescents, which is why most building or retrofit construction projects use LED technologies today. However, consideration still needs to be taken to the amount of energy consumed over time, typically measured in kilowatt hours (a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour). In many areas of the USA and Western Europe, where energy costs are high, a new contractor business model has arisen where contractors measure the baseline power utilised by a building, then retrofit the building with energy efficient products and methods, charging a small upfront fee and sharing the energy savings over the next five years. In order to cut utility costs after deploying the correct lighting technology, contractors and building owners must implement energy controls to monitor energy usage, identify potential power savings, and optimise energy use. LED lighting is becoming a viable

foundation for power metering and energy

PLANNING When planning an energy project, the first question is: which level will be required to monitor and adjust energy usage? For example, if the building is a small warehouse where all parts of the building are used simultaneously, energy can be monitored at the building level. The control then becomes a simple binary – in operation or not, lights on or not, occupied or not. In this scenario, simple motion or occupancy sensors at doors and high-traffic points are enough to ensure that if the building is occupied, energy using systems including the lighting are on. However, most buildings have much more complex usage scenarios. Some rooms or areas are frequently in use, while others are rarely occupied. For these kinds of buildings, energy monitoring should manage the smallest energy element – which is usually the circuit or potentially the device itself. Circuit-level monitoring provides

multiple measurement points for potential energy tuning. In this case, multiple sensors will be needed and sensor inputs aggregated and monitored to understand if the circuit should be on or off. Historically, this has been a nearly

impossible lighting and energy control task. However, with the emergence of Bluetooth mesh wireless lighting controls, each and every luminaire or groups of luminaires can be monitored and tuned to optimise energy. These lighting control products have power metering capability embedded into the light’s power supply, giving the system real-time capability to report and adjust energy usage. With Bluetooth mesh, the control system is also distributed, meaning no single point of failure for lighting or energy management, which is important if a business model relies on profiting from energy savings. As demand for lower energy consumption

has grown, so have technologies like LED lighting and Bluetooth mesh lighting controls, delivering synergistic capability with a more verdant project outcome.

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