Category: Controls

DOE’s Integrated Lighting Campaign Extends Recognition Application Deadline And Publishes New Case Studies

The ILC has extended its deadline to submit projects for its 2022 Exemplary Performance Recognition Cycle, from March 30 to now April 15, 2022.

US DOE’s Integrated Lighting Campaign (ILC) is a recognition and guidance program designed to help facility owners, operators, and managers. The ILC focuses on high-efficiency lighting and control systems that are integrated with other building systems (e.g., HVAC and/or plug loads) for added efficiency and performance. The ILC also focuses on the integration of lighting with operational functions (e.g., asset tracking, wayfinding, security systems, etc.).

The ILC has extended its deadline to submit projects for its 2022 Exemplary Performance Recognition Cycle, from March 30 to now April 15, 2022. The ILC is seeking:

  • ILC Participants (organizations including building owners, operators, and managers) to submit projects that they would like to have considered for recognition.
  • ILC Supporters (utilities, energy efficiency organizations, lighting designers, and ESCOs) to submit for recognition for their efforts to support and implement the use of advanced technologies that facilitate integration in buildings.

ILC Participants (organizations including building owners, operators, and managers) are encouraged to submit projects—indoor or outdoor—that they would like to have considered for recognition. The Campaign seeks to highlight applications that have a positive impact on energy justice, diversity, equity, or inclusion. Projects that support the unique needs of under-served communities through their deployment or installation should provide relevant information in the narratives. Projects can be submitted here.

In addition, the ILC has published several new case studies featuring last year’s recognized participants. The case studies are provided as resources for facility owners and managers who are thinking of completing similar advanced lighting projects. The case studies cover advanced lighting strategies and lessons learned.

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Signify’s Rahul Shira Talks Luminaire-Level Lighting Controls

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rahul Shira, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Signify, on the topic of luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC). Transcript follows.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rahul Shira, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Signify, on the topic of luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC). This interview was conducted to inform an article that will be published in the May 2022 issue of tED Magazine, the official publication of the NAED. Transcript follows.

DiLouie: How would you define luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC)?

Shira: Signify’s definition of luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC) is derived from the intent of the original definition drafted by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and endorsed by the DLC. At Signify, we define LLLC as a connected system, where the majority of the luminaires in a deployment are regulated by built-in intelligence. This could be a luminaire-integrated sensor with spatial or environmental sensing capabilities, or it could be a luminaire or lamp with built-in connectivity mechanisms, such as a wireless transmitter and receiver, but no sensing capabilities. The connectivity mechanisms enable users to realize a bidirectional communication link with the lights to support their business needs, such as energy consumption analysis, device diagnostics, or central or manual light level overrides.

DiLouie: How would you characterize demand for LLLC compared to discrete (general lighting + added-on control system), and would you consider this category a trend?

Shira: Overall, demand for lighting controls has increased. In some geographies, LLLC-based systems is even of greater interest than discreet control systems. This trend can be attributed to three factors: 1) wireless connectivity and technology advancements, making it the first-choice option for most retrofit projects. 2) Higher rebates offered by utilities for LLLCs due to the energy savings they offer. 3) Ongoing updates to regulations through various building codes and targeted to minimize energy waste.

DiLouie: What are the benefits of LLLC for electrical distributors, contractors, and owners?

Shira:

1. Electrical Distributors: LLLCs provide an integrated option between the luminaire and controls, thus reducing the overall Stock Keeping Units (SKU) a distributor may need to onboard and simplifying the management of the flow of goods. In simple terms, by integrating an occupancy and daylight sensor into the luminaire, the SKU counts drop from 3 to 1, a 66.66% drop, and when considered at scale with different luminaire configurations, it translates into significant savings for the distributors. The second soft benefit for distributors is the learning curve their internal staff may need for discrete controls in contrast to an LLLC offering, which can easily fit into their existing processes.

2. Contractors and ESCOs (Installers): The time and money required to cut holes in the ceiling for mounting discrete sensors; the planning required to install discrete controls panels in the electrical room or a distributed controller in the plenum; and the additional materials costs associated with copper, piping and accessories to connect the dimming wires to luminaires can quickly add up and can offshoot the allocated budgets. LLLCs eliminate this nondifferentiated work for the installers and keeps the primary effort limited to luminaire installation. Signify’s Interact Pro scalable system is a wireless LLLC system that can save up to 80% on installation costs when compared with conventional discrete controls. Moreover, because Interact Pro is a cloud-based connected system, installers can proactively offer maintenance services to their clients, giving them an additional revenue stream to grow their business. Finally, LLLCs tend to be more intuitive to configure and commission, making it easier for installers to execute tasks and customize settings as a response to a last-minute change request from the end user, thus helping them build their brand value and trust.

3. Owners – According to research published by the DLC, where they analyzed 194 installs, the energy savings from LLLCs were, on average, 28% higher than that from non-LLLCs. Solutions like the Interact Pro scalable system can push the energy savings bar further with its unique adaptive dimming and dwell time features, which provide the right light levels at the right moment and the right location.

LLLCs with wireless communication technology also offer the flexibility for owners to re-configure lighting control areas, without any disruptions to existing electrical wiring schemes, to easily align with their desk layouts, which, as we know, is changing frequently these days to adhere to physical distancing measures, for example.

With connected LLLCs, owners can gain granular insights on energy use, occupancy patterns, environmental monitoring and space usage, to optimize their operational expenses further.

DiLouie: What are the advantages of LLLC that are driving adoption? What are ideal applications for LLLC?

Shira: Adoption has been growing due to the:

• Documented energy savings benefits by industry partners such as DLC
• Popularity of wireless controls for retrofit markets because of an aggressive ROI model, lower installation costs and flexibility of re-configuration throughout the life cycle of the installation.
• Need to comply with latest regulations and building codes
• Planning for the future – LLLCs like Interact Pro can be deployed in a standalone manner, i.e. without installing any gateways or backend infrastructure, but then can be scaled up to a connected offering by adding back-end building blocks like a gateway or cloud access, whenever deemed fit. This is like a Lego model, where customers can keep accessing new features and benefits by building on top of the foundation that was laid on day 1.

These unique characteristics of LLLCs makes them ideal for schools, universities, libraries, offices, warehouses, parking garages and healthcare facilities.

DiLouie: Looking specifically at retrofit projects, how do the simplicity and economics of installation for an onboard control solution impact the project economics and likelihood of controls being added to the project?

Shira: In retrofit projects, LLLCs unlock the path to claim higher rebates. In most geographies, these rebates range from $15 to $65 per sensor integrated into an LED luminaire and are in addition to the rebates offered for installing LED lights. When coupled with the installation savings and deep energy savings (+28% over DLC average for non-LLLCs) offered by LLLCs, an ROI of less than 2 years or even 1 year becomes very achievable.

LEDs have a longer life span, but controls capabilities are expected to evolve at a faster rate with new innovations. Installing LLLCs means that end users’ retrofit strategy is future-oriented and can easily adapt to evolving business needs.

DiLouie: What are the disadvantages of LLLC? In what applications or application conditions would such a solution be less desirable?

Shira: LLLCs add cost over a base luminaire due to the additional value offered by integrated controls with respect to energy savings. But in some applications like heavy duty manufacturing facilities, where life safety and security supersedes energy savings or where lights need to operate on a schedule such as in a retail store, LLLCs may not be a good fit, unless there is a need for collecting spatial data from the lighting infrastructure.

DiLouie: For what luminaire types are LLLC options available? For what luminaire type or types is LLLC most popular or otherwise advantageous?

Shira: LLLCs are popular in common spaces like a classroom, open office or meeting rooms, for example, where energy savings can be maximized with features like adaptive dimming and dwell time, and where there is the need to alter lighting controls zones/areas frequently. These spaces are typically designed with troffers, linear recessed or suspended luminaires and downlights. In retrofit applications, an LLLC with a retrofit kit is popular.

In highbay applications like warehouse settings, LLLCs are often deployed, as occupancy patterns in these applications are uneven and can be brief. End users can use LLLCs to flexibly re-zone the lights as per their warehouse’s modified aisle structure and only ramp up those lights that are directly detecting motion within the aisle while keeping the rest of the lights in the same aisle at a low background level. This type of adaptive behavior delivers significant energy savings without compromising user safety and comfort.

DiLouie: Understanding that there may be many product options, what are basic, common configurations? How do they typically install, configure for sequences of operation, intelligence inside or outside the luminaire, operate independently or group, and how is control operation managed after installation?

Shira: LLLCs, like the Interact Pro scalable system, are specified by selecting the appropriate sensor option code on the luminaire spec sheets and configured on-site by a non-technical or trained installer using an intuitive configuration App. The App guides the installer on critical steps such as creating lighting groups, altering sensor parameters, trimming the maximum light output etc. Installers can also use the App to execute a code-compliant sequence of operations in a secured manner, thus making the overall process straightforward with minimum dependencies.

If the project evolves over time, the installer can update that same install to the next level by adding a gateway and unlocking additional capabilities like energy reporting, asset performance diagnostics, scheduling, remote monitoring, firmware updates, etc. One of the main tenets of Interact Pro is to prioritize localized outcomes; therefore, intelligence is always retained in the local devices; for example, the link between a wall switch and the LLLCs is independent of whether the project involves a wireless gateway for coordinating system data or not. If the gateway goes offline, the intelligent functions like occupancy sensing or dimming are retained.

External devices like gateways act as coordinating hardware to cloud-based applications, so customers always stay up-to-date with the latest innovations.

DiLouie: Do any special design factors need to be learned or addressed? Is there anything different about LLLC that requires special training or changes in traditional design and installation practices?

Shira: LLLCs with wireless technology are designed to be intuitive and self-serviced; therefore, the learning curve for installers is rapid. One consideration installers will need to take on-board is the planning for wireless mesh continuity. Depending upon the space dynamics, they must consider tactics related to wireless node locations and range. One of the benefits of LLLCs is that a sensor is made available on every luminaire, which reduces or even eliminates the planning and cross checks required to identify sensing blind spots on a project.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about LLLC, what would it be?

Shira: LLLCs are the future of lighting control systems. They can help end users maximize their sustainability goals, enhance operational efficiencies, lower maintenance costs and drive employee engagement. Systems like Interact Pro can help them stay relevant in line with their evolving business needs.

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Product Monday: Orro Incorporates Circadian Lighting Control Into A Smart Switch Platform

While there are a lot of smart wall switches in the market, Orro has innovated by adding automated circadian lighting scheduling with many of the other features that you’d expect from a premium smart switch.

While there are a lot of smart wall switches in the market, Orro has innovated by adding automated circadian lighting scheduling with many of the other features that you’d expect from a premium smart switch:

  • Automated smart lighting
  • Smart home control
  • Home monitoring
  • Vacation security lighting scheduling
  • Energy-saving features
  • In-home intercom
  • Daylight harvesting
  • Voice control via built-in Alexa

On a recent call, I asked the CEO, Colin Billings, about how the circadian lighting control works, and he shared that Orro automatically adjusts the intensity of the room’s lighting based on time of day, to provide more stimulus during the day and less at night, for better circadian entrainment. The system doesn’t address the spectrum of the lights, but recent research has shown that light intensity makes a bigger contribution to circadian stimulus than light spectrum does. In addition, the light sensors in the switch can factor daylight within a room into the light intensity level, for greater circadian health benefits.

The heart of the Orro Smart Living System is the smart switches containing sensors to detect motion, light, and sound, combined with Orro’s smartphone app. Orro’s system utilizes the sensor information about the room to default-automate many of the features listed above, making the system easier to use than one requiring every feature to be manually established in settings. The smart system learns and adapts the lighting based on homeowners’ habits and preferences. In addition to the automated circadian lighting feature, the company claims lighting usage reduction of up to 80% for both environmental benefits and electricity cost savings.

Last week, the company announced that it had extended its integrations to more 3rd-party smart home platforms, including Lutron Caséta, Lutron RA2 Select, Leviton, Kasa Smart by TP Link, and LIFX. This move gives Orro connections to more connected switches, dimmers, plugs, outlets, and lighting systems. Orro can be the main control for the home or part of a broader hybrid system.

Orro also goes to market differently than many of its larger competitors. The company’s primary channels are direct sales to smart home integrators, home builders, and electrical contractors. The company is not currently focused on electrical distribution, big-box DIY retail, or online retailers.

Two weeks back, the company announced the upcoming release of the Orro S, a reduced feature version of its circadian enables smart switch, at a 50% lower price point of $149 per switch MSRP, compared to its premium Orro One at $299 per switch MSRP. Orro One’s touch screen and voice-enabled features were removed from the Orro S to achieve the lower price point and create a more focused, sensor-enabled, smart dimmer with circadian benefits. The company believes the lower price point Orro S will allow builders to increase use of the Orro system in more rooms, as well as a wider range of smart home projects.  The Orro S will be available for the spring/summer home building season.

More information on the Orro Smart Living System can be found here.

 

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Using LLLC Occupancy Sensors To Improve Indoor Air Quality

A University of Oregon researcher makes an interesting case for how Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC) sensors can improve indoor air quality and human health. Over the last year, returning to offices and schools in a pandemic increased awareness of indoor disease transmission, energy consumption, and overall indoor environmental quality.

A University of Oregon researcher makes an interesting case for how Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC) sensors can improve indoor air quality and human health. Over the last year, returning to offices and schools in a pandemic increased awareness of indoor disease transmission, energy consumption, and overall indoor environmental quality.

University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Lab published a whitepaper in May that explored how LLLCs have the potential to revolutionize how we monitor and respond to indoor environmental factors that impact human health. LLLCs have a networked occupancy sensor and ambient light sensor installed for each luminaire kit. The wireless sensors are embedded at the fixture level, which can independently modulate light intensity, apparent color, and spectral distribution through onboard controllers and sensor packages. Since each fixture is capable of sensing and responding to ambient conditions, LLLC systems provide light only where it is needed, saving significant amounts of energy.

With LLCs, you have a new sort of data coming from your lighting system that is distributed occupancy awareness. The onboard occupancy sensor helps guide the fresh air delivery systems so that the building is providing fresh air where and when it is needed and doing it more quickly than other sensor technologies.

Another way LLLC can benefit human health is through circadian regulation, where the onboard daylight sensor can track what the likely dose is of each occupant in each space in terms of the daylight available and potentially supplement that with the electric light on board or guide users through a hot-desking system to the better-daylit locations.

Luminaire level lighting controls are already integrating occupancy sensing with plug strips so that you could turn off unnecessary plug loads. It’s connecting with daylight harvesting and therefore dimming the electric light according to the daylight available, and the study authors believe that in the future, LLLC sensors could also connect with building ventilation systems so that you provide the fresh air when and where it’s needed based upon the distributed occupancy signal from LLLC occupant sensors.

Read the full article here.

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ioXt Certification Expands To Include Network Lighting Controls

The ioXt Alliance, a global standard for Internet of Things (IoT) product security, is expanding its ioXt Certification Program with a new profile for network lighting controls (NLC), allowing manufacturers to certify commercial lighting systems with wirelessly connected parts.

The ioXt Alliance, a global standard for Internet of Things (IoT) product security, is expanding its ioXt Certification Program with a new profile for network lighting controls (NLC), allowing manufacturers to certify commercial lighting systems with wirelessly connected parts. Aligned with the initiatives set forth by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which satisfies the NLC5 requirements, the new ioXt NLC Profile brings transparency and visibility to enterprise buyers in the commercial lighting space.

With a concentration on security, upgradability, transparency, and compliance, the ioXt Certification Program evaluates products against the eight ioXt pledge principles requiring that the devices will be tested against clear guidelines for quantifying the optimal level of security. The NLC profile is an efficient and cost-effective standard process for commercial lighting manufacturers to become DLC-compliant.

Once a manufacturer receives the ioXt stamp of approval, this satisfies the DLC’s cybersecurity requirements and the product is eligible for qualification, which is required for many rebates offered by efficiency programs throughout North America.

Read the full article here.

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Federal COVID Relief Funding Enables Intelligent Lighting Installation At A Community College

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) announced it is modernizing buildings across its four campuses and the West Hills Center, as well as its building automation system, with occupancy sensing, improved LED lighting control systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) platform as part of a COVID-19 mitigation initiative and infrastructure upgrade from Enlighted, a part of Building Robotics Inc., a Siemens company.

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) announced it is modernizing buildings across its four campuses and the West Hills Center, as well as its building automation system, with occupancy sensing, improved LED lighting control systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) platform as part of a COVID-19 mitigation initiative and infrastructure upgrade from Enlighted, a part of Building Robotics Inc., a Siemens company. Funded by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and accelerated by the need to help minimize COVID-19 exposure, the implementation will help increase the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community while creating a smart, connected campus prepared for the future.

The initiative will retrofit indoor spaces spanning more than 1.8 million square feet with an LED lighting and controls system consisting of 17,000 Enlighted IoT sensors across four campuses, and thirteen buildings. The IoT sensors, located in the lighting fixtures, will connect to Enlighted’s Data as a Service (DaaS) offering, Space, which will provide occupancy and utilization insights to lower energy usage and costs and make strides in furthering CCAC’s sustainability initiatives.

Benefits that CCAC will obtain by modernizing all building spaces include:

  • Automated operation that will adapt based on the use of the spaces by students, faculty and staff
  • Data insights and analytics to help direct campus cleaning and sanitation efforts for high traffic areas
  • Ensuring proper ventilation of air in spaces that are occupied
  • Understanding of space usage to help achieve social distancing and meet local capacity requirements
  • Analysis of space utilization for facilities planning and reduction or new construction guidance

The full article is available here.

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DOE Publishes Research On Connected Lighting Systems Challenges & Opportunities

In September 2021, the US Department of Energy (DOE) published a research study about how users and stakeholders engage with connected lighting systems (CLS) and make decisions during each step in the supply chain process, from production to operation, in commercial buildings in the United States.

In September 2021, the US Department of Energy (DOE) published a research study about how users and stakeholders engage with connected lighting systems (CLS) and make decisions during each step in the supply chain process, from production to operation, in commercial buildings in the United States. CLS have seen slower than expected adoption and have faced many operational and installation challenges since they were first introduced in the market.

The goal of this study was to provide an overview of:

  • The decision-making process for CLS and how/why technologies and features are selected;
  • The user experience in each step of the supply chain and the challenges faced;
  • Barriers to adoption for CLS and opportunities to address these barriers; and
  • Potential opportunities to improve the design of CLS to increase adoption and enhance usage.

Though important and influential to the CLS market, utility incentives, regulations, energy codes, and policy impacts were not a focus of the study.

The key challenges identified for CLS are:

  • Complexity and Variability
  • Experience and Relationship-Based Market
  • Contractor Apprehension and Reluctance
  • Consumer Lack of Perceived Value
  • Embedded Sensors & Controls
  • Cost Transparency
  • Interoperability

Potential opportunities identified to address these challenges are:

  • Workforce Development
  • Technical Research and Development
  • Data Collection / Field Validation
  • Market
  • Education
  • Stakeholder Engagement

Detailed research findings are available here.

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Luminaire Level Lighting Controls, Catching On or Catching Hell?

The Portland IES will feature a presentation by John Arthur Wilson of Fernhill Shopworks on Wednesday, February 16, at 11:45 am PST. Wilson will be presenting findings from his 2021 lighting controls research. The free…

The Portland IES will feature a presentation by John Arthur Wilson of Fernhill Shopworks on Wednesday, February 16, at 11:45 am PST. Wilson will be presenting findings from his 2021 lighting controls research. The free webinar is open to anyone in the industry. No pre-registration is required. Use the link below to join the Teams event :
“Luminaire Level Lighting Controls, Catching On or Catching Hell?”

His 2021 research also resulted in a learning guide that can be used to support basic education around wireless trends in lighting. NEEA has published that document on their Better Bricks website, available to the public here.

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GE Lighting Lauches Decorative Smart Lamps

Cync, powered by Savant Systems, Inc. (previously called C by GE) recently announced 11 new smart lamps at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Cync, powered by Savant Systems, Inc. (previously called C by GE), recently announced 11 new smart lamps at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Cync has committed to the new Matter smart home standard, a new foundation for connected things. Matter is an industry-unifying standard that is reliable and secure. Instead of having to fuss with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and other setup methods for smart bulbs and other in-home technology, Matter promises to let users take something out of the box, plug it in, and set it up right through an app – no extra connectivity steps or hassle. Matter was created by over 200 companies and it’s open-source, so Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, iRobot, Philips Hue, Ecobee, Whyze, and hundreds of others have agreed to intertwine Thread, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even ethernet to let devices communicate with each other locally – no server-side cloud necessary.

The Cync portfolio grows now by 11 new lamps, including a candelabra and globe light, as well as its popular Reveal bulbs. After setting these up, you can control them by voice with the new Cync app, and even control them via schedules. These will be available at Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon this March of 2022 at the starting price of just $11.99 USD. The Cync app is updated to be interoperable with all of the new devices shown off at CES, including smart thermostat, smart camera, and more.

The full story is here.

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: NEC 2020 Impacts 0–10V Control Wiring

Per a change in the 2020 National Electrical Code effective January 1, 2022, 0–10V (Class 2) dimming wire insulation colors have changed to eliminate use of any reserved colors, notably gray. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) responded with an industry guideline adopting pink as a substitute.

Per a change in the 2020 National Electrical Code effective January 1, 2022, 0–10V (Class 2) dimming wire insulation colors have changed to eliminate use of any reserved colors, notably gray. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) responded with an industry guideline adopting pink as a substitute.

In this article written for the December 2021 issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, I discuss the color change and then take a quick look at the cost-effectiveness of 0–10V versus digital dimming.

Click here to check it out.

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