Making Use of Energy Efficient LEDs for Wireless Lighting
What if the future of lighting is one where wireless technology can help contribute towards greater energy efficiency in the home? The amount of light might be driven by the application, focused on using energy and light when and where it is needed rather than expending energy in less common areas around the home.
For lighting within the home, it would be nice to have lighting designed to provide light exactly where it is needed and only the light necessary without wasting energy. Lighting can turn on and off intelligently, be positioned for optimal use, and provide just the right amount of light without having shadows or bright spots. The future does not have to be one of over-lighting an area but rather trying to select an intelligent light at the right brightness installed exactly where it is needed.
The vision for the future is one where more lighting for general illumination will be battery powered or battery backed. The off-grid lighting market will continue to expand. Hybrid versions of lighting will emerge in more applications where energy storage will be used to reduce power consumption from the grid during times of peak energy usage.
Energy use will be optimized. For example, when the power company is experiencing peak energy demand in the middle of a hot summer day, a building will be able to reduce its energy consumption from the grid by using energy it had stored within its lights in the middle of the night.
This vision can become a reality. Advances in technology for LEDs over the past several years enable this level of energy efficiency in everyday lighting.
Last year, several manufacturers were showing 200 lumen per watt performance for LED components in their R&D labs. Most recently, Cree announced their XLamp MK-R LED putting onto the market a next generation single die LED component delivering 200 lumens per watt. As this research continues to become market reality, lighting companies are focusing their technology on energy efficiency that meets everyday demand and need.
Advances in energy efficiency allow companies to bring to market bright, intelligently controlled LED lights that can run for one or more years off of a single set of alkaline or rechargeable batteries. This advancement in LED technology allows a typical light in the kitchen or bath to offer the same lighting output using less power. Couple this with battery-powered lights and manufacturers are able to create battery-powered lights that offer the same brightness and functionality as traditional lighting—without the need for on-the-grid power.
Wireless lighting will replace more applications in the future. LED lights that are battery-powered and offer the same quality and brightness of traditional lighting, yet do not require the use of the electrical grid are what homes demand today. Those companies that create innovative off-grid lighting products that can be used in everyday life and provide new solutions toward a more energy efficient future in lighting will win. With power outages, grid shortages, and natural disasters keeping millions in the dark, this lighting evolution will ensure that no one gets stuck there.
Michael Recker is the chief technology officer at Wireless Environment, makers of Mr Beams wireless lighting. Visit www.mrbeams.com for product information.
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