Control the Lighting, Lighten the Load

By Antony Corrie, Harvard Americas

The evolution of energy efficient technology is having a significant effect on how we control our lighting requirements. Antony Corrie, president of worldwide sales at Harvard Americas, explains how swift and sophisticated design advancements can save energy and cut carbon emissions. 

The emerging technology that is revolutionizing the way that we control lighting in our workplaces – office, shop or factory – is guided by a simple philosophy: go wireless, save more.

Wireless technology has enabled the introduction of remote intelligent street lighting controls, so that individual lamps can be brightened, dimmed or even switched off completely from anywhere in the world, and has already yielded vast savings.

Harvard_Retail-StoreControl and management systems are beginning to be utilized in stores and on shop floors, reducing both energy costs and carbon footprints. Until recently there has been a reluctance to implement smart lighting control systems because of the costly and disruptive installation procedures. Wiring programs for current lighting control systems, such as Analog and 0-10V, have to be carried out by specialist engineers at a cost of hundreds of dollars per day. The complexity of the wiring and the associated financial costs has made it difficult to achieve cost-effectiveness and acceptable ROI when installing a control system.

Wireless technology has changed the game, however. It enables the use of LED luminaires throughout the most complicated of commercial buildings – office block, warehouse complex or even production facility – replacing the traditional fluorescent or HID lamps that have been used so extensively indoors. LED luminaires offer a completely fluid level of control: they are able to be dimmed or brightened instantly, thereby offering huge savings through regulating the output and energy use.

Another significant advantage of LEDs is their creative lighting potential. Mood lighting is a well-established marketing tool; it can be used to create atmosphere and enhance retail displays. Customers’ feelings and positive perceptions of a product can be stimulated when products are lit creatively. LEDs can introduce color and tone into a store display, with dimmed lighting able to create a softer and more soothing environment.

Across the world, lighting accounts for 20 percent of our electricity use; in the US it accounts for 18 percent of total site electricity use, according to a 2014 US Department of Energy report. A subsequent report declared that by 2025, solid-state lighting could save 217 terawatt hours (TWh), which would equate to a one-third reduction of current energy consumption in America, yielding bottom line savings of $21.7 billion.

Sustainability is being discussed as much as profitability in boardrooms. The US and the world are waking up to the critical and continuous need for reduced energy use, and the emerging technology of lighting control and management systems is a significant aid to this goal.

In Los Angeles, for example, more than 140,000 LED streetlights have been retrofitted, while in February 2014, the city of Detroit announced that it planned to overhaul its entire street lighting system by installing more than 42,000 LED units.

Three months later, in May, the US Department of Energy’s report revealed that from 2012 to 2013, the US-installed base of LEDs had doubled to about 105 million units. The report added: “As the number of LED installations continues to grow, so does the energy savings. Annual source energy savings from LEDs in 2013 more than doubled from the previous year to 188 TBtu (Trillion British Thermal Units), which is equivalent to an annual energy cost saving of about $1.8 billion.”

Despite these spectacular savings, the DoE seems to see this as a platform to build upon rather than simply a matter for celebration. The report continued: “Although these current savings are significant, LEDs have not even begun to scratch the surface of their potential. Future annual energy savings could approach 4,060 TBtu (4.1 quadrillion Btu or quads), if all current general illumination applications switched to LEDs ‘overnight’. Energy savings of this magnitude would result in annual energy cost savings of about $39 billion.”

Wherever lighting control and management systems are deployed across the world, local authorities and city councils have the ability to alter street lighting levels from a single computer or even a smartphone. $70 per street light per year and a 30 percent reduction in carbon emission are the typical savings from this technology.

Indoor lighting is set to be the new growth installation area for energy efficient lighting. All of us are asked to contribute to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint, but even the simplest energy-conserving task such as switching lights off when we exit a room could be made easier with the employment of photocell sensors. Sensors facilitate ‘daylight harvesting’, so that lights only come on when it is necessary to boost natural daylight levels. No need to even lift a finger to flick a switch. Systems can also connect with passive infra-red (PIR) detectors, switching lights on or off with occupancy levels, and they can be further integrated with building management systems to collect occupancy data and interface with fire alarm systems, activating emergency lights when needed.

Through the use of a secure open protocol mesh network, a single control hub could allow the lighting to be controlled at however many sites an organization possesses. Time scheduling can thus be set according to the occupancy and use of a building, and user-friendly ‘dashboards’ can help operators and controllers to use the system with ease.

Harvard’s EyeNut wireless control and monitoring system, developed and manufactured in the UK, can be applied in both new build and retrofit situations without the need for expensive, complicated re-wiring.

The technology includes a mapping feature that gives the user a complete view of all light points set over an imported image of their building layout. With LED lighting systems increasingly superseding fluorescents and HIDs, and an almost infinite number of suitable sites that could benefit from installation and retrofit, we at Harvard aim to continue to be at the forefront of innovation and invention.

Harvard_Antony Corrie2About the Author 
Antony Corrie is the president of worldwide sales at Harvard, a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of energy saving lighting solutions. Antony started his career as an entry-level Account Executive for FAI Electronics, the account-development division of Future Electronics, in Manchester, England. He worked his way up within the division to run the North of England, which was swiftly followed by a move to become General Manager of the largest Future Electronics branch in the world, in Silicon Valley. Following successful growth at both this branch and the company’s San Diego branch, Antony was promoted to Regional Vice President for Southern California – becoming the youngest Regional VP in the Americas. Antony successfully grew Future’s Southern California sales in the Los Angeles, Irvine, San Diego & Baja Mexico branches to well in excess of $100M annually & managed 50 people. He joined Harvard to set up the Americas division in August 2012 and has since developed within the business to now head up worldwide sales and marketing.

Harvard is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of energy saving lighting solutions, with over 20 years’ experience. For more information, visit www.harvardeng.com.

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