News Column

Lighting efficiency

August 12, 2014

Global Times

The advances of Royal Philips are transforming the lighting industry. Photo: CFP

 Imagine stepping into your office with a smartphone in hand, and you turn on all the lights, air-conditioning and electrical devices with a few simple touches of the screen. The power to manipulate energy efficiency in the palm of your hand is the way of the future. As the need to cut fossil fuels and live a more low-carbon lifestyle takes preference in today's world, the demands for technical advancements in the lighting industry are on the agenda.According to a BBC report in April 2013, lighting accounts for more than 19 percent of global electricity consumption, reflecting the great need to advance energy-efficient lighting.Although some businesses have already introduced pioneering technology to this market, one that "shines" is Royal Philips, a Dutch company that specializes in global lighting.In March 2014, the company announced a breakthrough in connected office lighting systems. Through the Philips lighting system, employees can personalize office lighting and office temperature via an application on their smartphones. The company's overhead lighting fixtures can detect an employee's location via his/her phone, and so enable them to adjust the lighting to suit their preferences.Philips' progress in digital lighting technology has led to its advancements in LED (lighting-emitting diode) light bulbs, which use less energy when emitting light. It is these LED lamps that are connected through its lighting system.However, these advancements are not the most groundbreaking part of the Philips system. The system uses Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) to connect office lighting fixtures to the building's IT network. The Ethernet is a system that connects and coordinates the components of a local area network, which then allows the lighting system to act as an information pathway. When outfitted with sensors, the office lighting fixtures are able to capture various data on a room's occupancy, temperature and humidity, and then give feedback to the IT network. It is through these connections with the Ethernet that smartphones can adjust other electrical devices such as air-conditioning. This, therefore, benefits the facility manager who has a single system which shows the building's need for electrical energy. For example, he or she could see that on a Friday afternoon, a particular floor is not used and adjust the temperature and lighting accordingly.Apart from its convenience in energy control, the system also highlights energy efficiency."The LED lighting alone is 80 percent more efficient than conventional lighting," said Jeff Cassis from Royal Philips. "Personal control of the lighting by employees actually increases efficiency as general lighting levels can be kept lower.'' Cassis added that the potential savings on a building's operational costs will be significant, given that heating, cooling and lighting together account for 70 percent of a building's energy usage.The Philips lighting system also enables fixtures to deliver significant cost savings on lighting installation. As these fixtures receive both data and power over a single Ethernet connection, there is no need for expensive electrical wiring.Eric Rondolat, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Philips Lighting Division, proclaimed in a recent interview that the system can save almost 80 percent of the global electrical consumption on lighting. "This is the potential of the lighting business. Going to digital technology enables connection. We believe that through connecting lights, we can enable a new business for lighting," said Rondolat.Global Times

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Source: Global Times

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