Collaboration among lighting, semiconductor and computing industries on standards and test beds is essential to realizing the full potential of connected lighting systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy hosts annual workshops including one June 7-8 in Santa Clara, Calif. to provide a forum where converging industries can examine technology needs. Stakeholder inputs at these workshops guide directions at DoE’s connected lighting test bed and encourage the development of other lighting test beds, increasing the opportunities for stakeholders to see firsthand what’s possible.
The replacement of today’s lights with LEDs enables significantly improved energy and lighting performance in buildings and cities. We see growing interest in connected lighting systems that can provide new services such as inventory tracking and emergency services.
The DoE’s Solid-State Lighting Program is working closely with industry to identify and address key areas that could unlock the full potential of connected lighting systems to improve energy efficiency and lighting quality.
Data-driven energy management can significantly reduce energy consumption and enable new market opportunities, such as pay-for-performance energy efficiency initiatives and energy billing for currently unmetered devices. But reporting accuracy must be known and meet the market opportunity requirements.
System performance depends on devices working together. Common platforms and protocols are needed to enable data exchange between lighting devices, other systems and the cloud. For users, this provides choice and reduces the risk of obsolescence. It also can improve system performance by enabling multi-vendor competition and easing deployment of complex technology.
Systems that are overly complicated and time-consuming to configure have historically delivered less-than-ideal performance. This has often been the case with lighting controls, a situation compounded by a lack of standardization.
Connected lighting systems with increasing degrees of automated configuration have the potential to significantly improve system performance and value. This, in turn, could lead to far more widespread use of advanced lighting control strategies that increase energy savings.
Connected lighting products can collect and exchange data and possibly even serve as a backbone for the Internet of Things. Such links can enable a wide array of services for building systems that have long operated in isolation. In addition to occupancy and daylight sensors, sensors that measure carbon dioxide, vibration, and sound provide air quality monitoring, theft detection and can even guide you to an empty parking spot.
--James Brodrick is the solid-state lighting technology manager in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.