Wireless lighting controls will save buildings $4 billion in energy savings by 2020, according to ON World’s report Smart Building Wireless Sensor Networks.
Research firm ON World says it conducted a survey of 85 professional lighting installers and found that 59 percent are providing wireless lighting controls. Over half provide a centralized wireless lighting control system and about a quarter install lighting systems that use wireless adapters. Nearly 6 in 10 provide a wireless lighting control system that features occupancy detection, 34 percent daylighting and 26 percent support utility demand response programs.
There are three major technology trends that are driving adoption of wireless lighting controls in buildings today according to ON World: energy harvesting, wireless mesh networking and wireless enabled smart LED drivers.
- Energy Harvesting – Maintenance-free wireless sensors and switches powered by harvested energy made up about 1 in 3 of the wireless lighting device shipments in 2012. Today, these mostly use the EnOcean wireless protocol that has over 1,000 interoperable products. However, ZigBee Green Power – an extension of ZigBee 2012 – enables multiple component suppliers and vendors to provide wireless energy harvesting devices that can participate in widely deployed ZigBee PRO wireless mesh networks.
- Wireless Mesh Networking – Wireless mesh networking avoids dependence on a wired backbone that is used by the majority of wireless lighting control systems. Targeted at building-wide wireless energy management as well as outdoor commercial areas, wireless mesh systems attach to, or integrate with, lighting luminaires. Growing trends are to embed sensors and software into individual fixtures for localized control and to reduce hardware costs with wireless enabled ballasts and smart LED drivers.
- Smart Drivers – The migration to LED lighting is one of the biggest developments in building energy management systems by providing long-lasting light sources that are especially suited for digital controls. Software configurable LED drivers with integrated wireless communications such as those provided by Orama promise to reduce communications costs up to 90 percent by replacing the need for a separate device for the adapter.
Industrial, warehousing, parking garages/lots and outdoor area lighting are currently some of the fastest growing markets for wireless lighting controls. However, traditional commercial buildings such as offices, retail and restaurants will make up over 40 percent of the market by 2017, says ON World.
By 2020, global commercial wireless lighting control device shipments will increase by over 1500 percent from 2012 when they will save buildings $4.2 billion in energy costs, according to ON World. Competition is increasing from system innovators such as CIMCON, Convergence Wireless, Daintree, Enlighted and TwistHDM as well as lighting manufacturers including Acuity, Digital Lumens, Harvard Engineering, Hubbell, Light Corporation, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Philips and Venture Lighting Corporation.