LEDs and ‘lights out’: beacons of the future
BRETT ANNESLEY from Philips Dynalite highlights two future drivers of energy-efficient lighting: LED technologies and automated ‘lights out’ solutions.
The use of automated lighting systems to minimise energy consumption in the new breed of ‘eco-buildings’ is an escalating trend that should not be underestimated. It is widely accepted that artificial lighting accounts for approximately 30 percent of electricity consumption in a commercial environment, and that buildings collectively account for 40 percent of total world energy use. Targeting the energy consumed by lighting is thus an obvious step in today’s carbon-conscious world.
While energy management is but one contributing component to an ‘environmentally sustainable development’, it is arguably the most tangible. Other important variables include life-cycle assessment of components and materials, plus indoor environmental quality (IEQ) standards for occupant comfort – but neither of these can be measured in lumen watts per square metre, grams of carbon, or dollars on the energy bill. For this reason, the design of low-energy lighting systems is playing a key role in the quest for ‘green’ performance.
The emergence of LEDs is an exciting prospect from an energy management perspective, as they draw significantly less current than incandescent bulbs and fluorescent luminaires. However, as LED systems transition from a purely decorative light source into a replacement option for incandescent light sources, with the eventual possibility of replacing fluorescents, some practical control issues are raised.
The main ‘sticking point’ is that there is no standard way of controlling LED fixtures, with a solution seemingly some way off. Heavy investment in research and development is required to produce a whole new generation of controllers that can accommodate multiple lighting systems. Enhancements to DALI controllers and phase-control dimmers, and new load-specific modules for modular controllers, will help support LEDs in the short term.
On the other hand, the light that consumes the least power is the one that’s turned off. This simple philosophy is behind the development of smart sensing technology that feeds information back to the control system, which can then adjust artificial lighting levels in accordance with natural lighting levels and area occupancy. This positions multifunction sensors that measure both lux levels and motion as ‘frontline’ energy management tools.
The increased focus on green buildings in the commercial, hospitality, and even residential sectors is undoubtedly driving further development in lighting energy management technologies, particularly from a control perspective. LEDs and ‘lights out’ are the twin beacons of the future.
Brett Annesley is Philips Dynalite global segment manager – energy management. As a board member of the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) and with professional involvement with Greenlight Australia, Annesley is an Australian and global authority on sustainability initiatives and ‘green’ building requirements. In his two years with Philips Dynalite, he has played a key role consolidating the company’s industry-leading status as a green solutions provider. He has worked in a range of energy-efficient building sectors, including several commercial and residential lighting organisations.