Category: Products + Technology

Eko Traffic Light May Help in the Fight Against Road Rage

Serbian designer Damjan Stankovic has introduced a practical idea for traffic lights: EKO, an integral visual countdown letting waiting drivers know when the signal will change from red to green….

ekoSerbian designer Damjan Stankovic has introduced a practical idea for traffic lights: EKO, an integral visual countdown letting waiting drivers know when the signal will change from red to green.

Check it out here.

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Fluorescent Emergency Ballasts

Last fall, TED Magazine published my column on fluorescent emergency ballasts, available here. A fluorescent emergency ballast is basically a ballast with a built-in battery that senses when power is…

Last fall, TED Magazine published my column on fluorescent emergency ballasts, available here.

A fluorescent emergency ballast is basically a ballast with a built-in battery that senses when power is cut to the unit, resulting in relays inside the ballast switching to battery power to operate the lamp(s) and produce code-compliant illumination during an emergency.

Corridor with all lamps ON. Image courtesy of Bodine.

Corridor with all lamps ON. Image courtesy of Bodine.

The approach has several advantages:

* The emergency lighting is “invisible”
* Because the ballast is concealed, a degree of tamper resistance is acquired
* Can be a fast and economical retrofit solution

Ideal applications:

* When retrofitting fluorescent lighting to be more energy-efficient
* Corridors, intersections, stairwells and other fluorescent lighting
* Large office buildings, schools and colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, auditoriums, stadiums
* Growth application: Hi-bay spaces where MH fixtures are replaced with fluorescent to save energy

Corridor during power cut with emergency lighting in operation provided by a fluorescent emergency ballast. Image courtesy of Bodine.

Corridor during power cut with emergency lighting in operation provided by a fluorescent emergency ballast. Image courtesy of Bodine.

Characteristics (generally speaking, individual products may vary):

* Operate most single- and bi-pin linear lamps
* Operate most 2- and 4-pin CFLs
* Typically operates a single lamp in a fixture to provide 500-3,000 lumens of light output
* Compatible with most 1, 2-, 3- and 4-lamp electronic, standard, energy-saving and dimmable AC-power ballasts
* Compatible with energy-saving controls such as occupancy sensors and photosensors

Special features:

* Self-diagnostic and self-testing emergency ballasts
* Compatibility with low-mercury CFLs via AC output current
* Compact sizing for installation in small fixtures and spaces
* Parallel operation of two lamps
* Delay circuits to ensure compatibility with new ballast technology
* Suitability for special applications such as outdoor egress and damp locations

And what’s next: Emergency battery packs to drive LED lighting in emergency mode for 90 minutes to meet code.

This, and more, here.

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GE Debuts Incandescent-Shaped CFL

Miniaturized electronics developed by GE Consumer & Industrial engineers and scientists are the enabling technology of a new covered GE Energy Smart CFL featuring the GE Spiral® CFL inside the…

Miniaturized electronics developed by GE Consumer & Industrial engineers and scientists are the enabling technology of a new covered GE Energy Smart CFL featuring the GE Spiral® CFL inside the glass bulb. With this new CFL, protected by more than a dozen U.S. patent applications, the electronics fit in the neck of the bulb. The result is a profile that’s virtually identical to a standard incandescent light bulb.

energysmartcfl

The new covered GE Energy Smart® CFL debuted nationwide at Target on December 28, 2008. It is being launched at selected Ace Hardware stores this month and more broadly around Earth Day (April 22, 2009) at retailers such as Sam’s Club and Walmart.

Click here to see videos showing the prototype.

GE anticipates its new 15W Energy Smart CFL will appeal to people that want the energy savings and long-life performance of a GE Energy Smart Spiral CFL with the appearance, size and fit of a traditional incandescent bulb. The equivalent of a 60W incandescent bulb, the new 8,000-hour CFL is guaranteed for five years based on four hours of daily use.

”These fit in more lamps and fixtures than standard GE Spiral CFLs with the plastic base,” says Kathy Sterio, general manager of consumer marketing, GE Consumer & Industrial. ”Some people just want an incandescent bulb profile so they can easily use it with clip-on lampshades or smaller table lamps. Other people may see it as more aesthetically pleasing than GE Spiral CFLs in lamps or fixtures where the bulb is visible. It provides a more finished or tailored look that appeals to a lot of consumers.”

Between April and June 2009, GE plans to introduce 9W and 20W versions as 40W and 75W equivalents, respectively. Each will offer the same rated life and guarantee. The 20W CFL will have a slightly taller profile that mirrors a standard incandescent 3-way bulb. A 100W equivalent, meanwhile, could be introduced as early as 2010.

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Free PIER Technical Briefs Available for Download

Interested in new lighting technologies? PIER has published three briefs about emerging technologies that are available for free download. Note: All files download as PDF files. Savings Persist with Monitoring-Based…

Interested in new lighting technologies? PIER has published three briefs about emerging technologies that are available for free download. Note: All files download as PDF files.

Savings Persist with Monitoring-Based Commissioning (TB-39) shows how monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx), a program approach that combines permanent building-energy-system monitoring with standard retrocommissioning practices, can provide substantial, persistent energy savings. A pilot program conducted at 25 California university campuses demonstrated that MBCx has the ability to:

* Reduce peak-period electricity use and total annual energy use;
* Trend and benchmark building-performance data continuously;
* Catch problems with control systems that are normally hard to detect; and
* Identify cost-effective retrofit opportunities.

MBCx can be used in commercial and institutional buildings with energy information or energy-management systems that are capable of trending building energy use.

pierbrief

Daylight Harvesting Made Simple (TB-36): Daylight harvesting systems, which automatically adjust lights in response to the amount of daylight in a space, can provide significant energy and demand savings. However, these systems are usually expensive to install, commission, and maintain and may not perform as well as expected.

This brief explains how researchers at the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California at Davis developed a new approach called the Simplified Daylight Harvesting system that is easy to install and provides automatic and continuous calibration. The system uses photosensor readings to set lights to on, off, or intermediate levels and gives users the ability to adjust settings. The fixtures can be cost-effectively used in daylit spaces in commercial buildings to produce energy-cost savings and reductions in peak demand charges.

LED Hybrid Porch Light Cuts Energy, Maintenance Costs (TB-37) addresses the problem of wasted energy in keeping outdoor areas, such as porches and walkways, illuminated all night long. A new hybrid lighting design features a low-wattage, high-brightness LED integrated with an occupancy sensor that turns on a CFL or incandescent lamp only when motion is detected—enough to light a path or allow a person to unlock a front door. After a few minutes, the occupancy sensor turns off the CFL or incandescent, while the LED array continues to run. The hybrid porch fixture enhances security while saving energy. The fixture is well-suited for entry and walkway lighting at office buildings, hospitals, apartment complexes, residential housing, universities, hotels and motels.

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GE Suspends Work on the HEI Lamp

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 regulates the efficiency of general-service 40-100W incandescent and halogen screw-in lamps starting in 2012. With only a few exceptions among energy-saving screw-in…

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 regulates the efficiency of general-service 40-100W incandescent and halogen screw-in lamps starting in 2012. With only a few exceptions among energy-saving screw-in halogen lamps, today’s incandescent lamps do not comply and will therefore be eliminated.

Light Bulb Crash

The good news for incandescent fans (and those who simply want choice in residential sockets, or use dimmers) is that the law does not present an outright ban on incandescent lamps but instead approximately doubles the efficacy of today’s lamps. After the passage of the Act, GE announced that it intended to launch a compliant high-efficiency incandescent (HEI) lamp by 2010.

The bad news is that GE has suspended work on the lamp. The company issued a brief statement:

“GE Consumer & Industrial and GE Global Research have suspended the development of the [HEI lamp] to place a greater focus and investment on what we believe will be the ultimate in energy-efficient lighting—light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).”

While there may still be some options for consumers interested in retaining incandescent lighting, generally demand is expected to shift to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which have been rapidly gaining share of market against incandescents in recent years.

Right behind the CFL, however, is LED and OLED lighting:

“Research and development of these technologies is moving at an impressive pace and will be ready for general lighting in the near future,” said GE. “LEDs and OLEDs used in general lighting are now poised to surpass the projected efficiency levels of HEI along with other energy-efficient technologies like fluorescent, and have the additional benefits of long life and durability.”

Philips Lighting similarly recently indicated that it would not be investing in R&D for CFLs but instead focusing on LED lighting. Kaj den Daas, chairman and CEO of Philips Lighting, said it’s not spending any money on CFL R&D but is instead focusing most of its R&D budget–5.2% of the company’s global lighting revenue–on research into LED light sources.

Omnidirectional LED lamps bombed in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) product testing over the past 2+ years and are therefore not yet considered ready for prime time as a replacement against workhorses such as 60W incandescent A-lamps. To speed things along, DOE created a $10 million L Prize offered to whomever can produce a high-performing LED replacement lamp for 60W incandescents, and is expected to release final ENERGY STAR criteria for LED replacement lamps in summer 2009.

DOE is optimistic, expecting a replacement lamp to be developed in the next 1-3 years.

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