Looking To Innovative Lighting

By Bill Proudfoot, Head Of Infrastructure And Strategic Sales, LEDified

While the use of light-emoting diode (LED) lights is now largely mainstream in Australia, evolution of the disruptive technology movement of “smart” lighting has been painful for sector participants – both pioneers of new technology and industry laggards – and anything but revolutionary for end users…

This article is posted on FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 11 NUMBER 3 |


While best-practice energy initiatives in the property sector mandate their use, those at the cutting edge of the sector haven’t had a smooth ride. A recent report issued by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and produced by Norman Disney & Young (NDY). “Energy in Building: 50 Best Practice Energy Initiatives”, discussed a number of energy initiatives, including lighting technologies, that are now enjoying payback periods of less than five years.

Standards for emerging technologies limit industry uptake, and alternatively, market forces also have an effect. For example, the widespread electricity price rises and changes to industry standards, such as NABERS settable area size threshold, can also play a role,. According to Trevor Stock. Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand, and Lighting Design Lecturer at RMIT, “Australia has one of the highest regulatory and standards control environments word wide, From product approval to commercialisation, including adherence to the National Construction Code requirements, and the various energy-efficiency government schemes, it is a time-consuming and expensive investment that is required by the suppliers for the protection of consumers”.

Vanilla LED lighting or LED technology “with the lot”?

LEDs have been around for more than 55 years in one form or the other, but only in recent times has their adoption within the facilities management sector become ubiquitous.

This was largely driven by the advent of blue LEDs in the early 1990s by Shuji Nakamura at Nichia, which led to the commercialisation of the “white” LED. In addition, the capability of the LED driver and the chipest had to be fully optimised to enable a better user experience though a reduction in flicker and dimming control issues.

Adoption of LED technology has been driven by the significant reduction in pricing; a higher-quality offering with higher efficacy, and higher colour-rendering index (CRI) with better user experiences; and rising energy prices that have encouraged facilities managers to adopt energy-efficient technologies, Adding to this, government energy efficiency schemes in Victoriam New Soth Wales and South Australia in particular have helped underpin the growth and compeition now seen in the market. Despite some setbacks, the industry is pushing ahead. “The success of disruption and innovation in technology is a lot to do with timing and backing the right framework,” says Juv Jayaram, Chief Technology Officer at LEDified – a company that wasn’t immune to the dearth of commercial installation requiring highly sophisticated control systems.

Despite an initial rollout at Lakes Entrance Aquadome in early 2015 using highbay lighting that included sophisticated control systems, few LEDified clients have sought out the benefits of daylight harvesting and wiles controls due to cost constraints and a difficulty to quantify, in advance, the return light on investment (ROI). Verification of post- installation savings of these features has also proven problematic.

The majority of LEDified’s customer base opt for standard retrofits from old technology to energy-efficient and reduced-maintenance LEDs, rather than the alternative of the more sophisticated option.

Internet of Things

“Internet of Things (loT) technology has assisted in the evolution of sensors and controls, which, in the lighting space to date, have been the dominion of incumbents and proprietary technologies, such as digital addressable logic interface, more commonly known as DALI, Jayaram says. “Open standards around protocols, such as ZigBee and Bluetooth mesh networks, turn LEDs into a smart lighting system, and also lower ov the barriers to entry, distributing the capacity to innovate across a wider population.”

According to lan Johnson MIES. Technical Director at Voxlen, “Lighting has moved from ho the analogue control space, with traditional light sources, to the digital age with LED, allowing for the integration of sophisticated control and interface that has not been previously achievable”.

Analogue versus digital

Johnson goes on to say, “Being a digital light source, the control function is vastly simplified. With traditional lighting, effective control solutions have been limited by the restrictive characteristics of discharge luminaires, with long warm-up and re-strike times, LED start, run-up and re-strike is instantaneous.”

The digital revolution sweeping the lighting control industry makes control zoning independent of hard-line circuitry. with a number of obvious benefits. Multiple input devices can be connected to the programmable controller (PC or phone, via the loT), allowing multiple control strategies to be enacted in the same space.

Where to next?

The current battleground in the lighting sector is sports lighting and major road lighting. Both of these sectors have their own unique challenges that the industry is currently focused on solving.

Lighting innovation has been an ongoing trade since the invention of electricity; however, not all innovation is taken up in practice. Ultimately, commercial viability is based on market demand and consumer acceptance. Whatever happened to the sulphur lamp, the induction lamp and the organic light-emitting diode (OLED)?


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