New Light in Old Spaces

The market potential for putting modern LED lighting systems in existing buildings dwarfs new construction, but in many ways it’s a more challenging market to serve.

Doug Chandler Blog | Apr 05, 2019

Thanks to the humble light-emitting diode, the lighting market is among the brighter sectors for distributors in an electrical industry that’s growing steadily overall. Most of the attention goes to new buildings where architects and lighting designers are pushing the boundaries of what the latest LED lighting technology and intelligent controls can do. 

Meanwhile, look around you at all the buildings that make up your city and you’ll quickly realize that all those offices, shops, conference rooms and lobbies, factories, warehouses and parking garages where people spend their days beneath old fluorescent, incandescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting could benefit from the same technologies that are going into new buildings. The trick is getting them in there. 

The scale of the opportunity is hard to estimate and there’s no real consensus. John Engel, CEO of WESCO Distribution, Pittsburgh, told analysts in the company’s quarterly earnings discussion in January, in response to questions about WESCO’s rationale for acquiring Sylvania Lighting Services, that estimates of the lighting retrofit market’s size are in the neighborhood of $300 billion. 

“It’s a tremendous growth engine, and there’s a lot of really interesting developments and dynamics occurring in that market,” Engel said. 

Using 2016 numbers, a report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prepared by Navigant found that 874 million of the lighting systems installed through that year in the United States were LED, which captured 12.6% of the market that year. 

The report, “Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications,” showed that LEDs have seen much more success replacing outdoor lighting, at 29.7% overall, including parking garage and building exterior lighting, both past 30%. Indoors, the penetration rates are smaller at 12.3% overall, but growing quickly. LEDs have taken over 47.6% of small directional light installations, 19.8% of downlighting and 15.3% of directional lighting. 

The major lighting category where LEDs have penetrated least among the categories covered in the study is linear fixtures, but even in that application LEDs’ penetration grew from 1.3% in 2014 to 6% in 2016 and by all accounts has continued to grow since then.

Those figures for the lighting market as a whole suggest an even greater untapped opportunity for retrofits, given that LED penetration percentages in existing buildings are still somewhere in the single digits. 

Historically, lighting sales were tied closely to new construction. Fixtures and ballasts were installed during construction and after that sales were primarily for replacement lamps and the occasional tenant turnover or refresh. LED lighting has changed that picture fundamentally, making the entire installed base a potential market for new lighting systems. 

Getting a handle on the retrofit market means adjusting to some of its nuances. For example, lighting equipment specifications in retrofit projects tend to vary widely, far moreso than new construction due to the variety of incumbent light sources with existing buildings. “A new construction project being specified by a lighting designer or an engineering firm has so much less variation from proposal to proposal,” says Randy Johnson, who sold his lighting distributorship, US Lamp, Inc. to Werner Electric Supply Co. in Appleton, WI in January 2019, and is now Werner’s Lighting Solutions Manager, based in Green Bay. “The specifier will call out his preferred brand of high-bay, based on their designs, and say it needs to have this lumen output, and at least this many lumens-per-Watt, this color rendering index, et cetera. The tighter the spec the less variation there is. On the retrofit side, it’s a whole hodge-podge, because typically the end-user doesn’t hire someone to develop a solution and the product called out for is at the whim and expertise of the vendor quoting the customer, which can vary widely.”

Retrofits also tend to happen on a much faster time frame than construction projects, says John Dellorto, VP of sales for Focal Point, a lighting manufacturer based in Chicago. “Most tenant improvement jobs are fast-track. The landlord doesn’t want to lose rent for too many months. He wants to turn it around in eight to 12 weeks, so he’ll hire an architect or some kind of lighting consultant to do it and they’ll come to us,” he said. “It gets going pretty quickly. The runway on a new construction project is a much longer cycle; you will know 24 months before it’s bid or breaks ground.”

The rapid pace and broad variability of the retrofit market mean that distributors and reps need to be in the loop early on, to keep from “chasing the spec” to get their lines added as equivalent alternatives or worse, resorting to a fight on price. 

Cast of Thousands

For distributors, selling lighting systems for retrofit projects involves cultivating relationships with a more diverse set of buying influences than new construction. Construction projects tend to have a predictable flow of influences including the developer, engineers, architects, lighting designers and of course the lighting rep, whose presence is felt throughout. In a retrofit project the tenant may play a central role, or none at all. The property manager or facilities manager may be the key decision maker, or in the case of a large corporate tenant or a university campus they may have an energy manager tasked with reducing energy consumption across all facilities.

Forging strong, long-term relationships with municipalities, school campus, and industrial facilities managers and others may be the best path to growth in the retrofit lighting market. That can start from anywhere, from online queries to cold calls, but the best opening may be your existing customers who are buying other kinds of electrical equipment, says Johnson of Werner Electric Supply.

“In the retrofit market it’s really a matter of going in and making the customer aware of opportunities that are there that they might not realize. What we’ve done, both as US Lamp and Werner, is get a dialog going with whoever we’ve got the relationship with. If it’s product other than lighting that a given person is responsible for, we can have a fundamental discussion about who would be involved with lighting improvements. It might be the energy manager, might be the facility manager, might be the executive committee, but we’ll open a dialog and ask them, ‘Have you looked at any of this LED technology? We’ll come in and do a first-level observation of your facility for you, at no charge, as a value-added service as a current or potential customer to determine what opportunities are present in lighting and controls.”

Developing long-term relationships with the people involved in existing real estate can avoid having the conversation devolve to price. “Distributors are often not in contact with the end customer and, in the bidding process, will offer bare minimum to provide a low bid,” says Jim Williams, president of Chicago-area lighting rep agency KSA Lighting & Controls, Hanover Park, IL. “Too often we see distributors leading with the lowest cost product with no regards to service on the front end or post sales. In the long run they are having their credibility and reputation impacted negatively because of this.”

Jason Barbour, CEO of START Lighting, a commercial lighting manufacturer in Engelwood, CO, spent 20 years in electrical and lighting distribution before moving into manufacturing. He says distributors are under assault by online suppliers and customers who want to buy direct from manufacturers, but he sees distribution continuing to play a pivotal role in the retrofit lighting market. 

“I still think distribution has the ability to take control, because it owns the relationships,” he says. He points to some large national distributors who have built sales teams dedicated to the retrofit market. “Those folks pay for themselves relatively quickly. They say, ‘We want to grow our retrofit market.’ You go out and forge relationships and go from there.”

Energy and Returns

Energy savings has been one of the strongest selling points for LED lighting since it emerged on the scene. Lifetime energy savings attracted many customers and utility and government rebates helped to sweeten the deal. Distributors, reps and manufacturers serving the retrofit market say the energy savings are still persuasive for owners and building managers and tenants, but the sale also requires a firm grasp of the financial picture and the ability to convey the savings in terms that are compelling for a financial manager. 

“The driving force today in the retrofit market is still by far energy savings, first cost and simple ROI,” says Williams of KSA Lighting & Controls. “Bargain hunters may purchase 3rd tier products at a low cost that on paper provide an attractive ROI not realizing the lumen maintenance and life of the product are not what they expected. 

“The good news is that forward thinkers are investing in connected smart lighting and preparing their buildings to be future proofed and IOT compatible,” Williams adds. “These customers understand the value of the connected system with sensors on board each fixture that will provide the granular control and deep energy savings they desire. These energy savings will pay for the cost of the smart system.”

Energy service companies (ESCOs) have focused on selling the financial picture ahead of the specific technologies forever, and the emphasis has shifted a little, says Chris Gersch, president of Verde Systems, an ESCO in Chicago. “The emphasis now is no money out of pocket. The conversation used to lead with ROI and endless savings, but now it’s, ‘Are you cash flow positive?’”

Rebates drove some of the early action in the market and can accelerate the payback on a project, but many utilities have backed off recently or shifted to incentives in other areas. “Rebates were more important two years ago,” says Dellorto of Focal Point Lighting. “Utilities were offering rebates on LEDs but now they assume that’s what will be installed and feel they don’t have to incentivize the customer.”

Meanwhile the competitive landscape of the semiconductor industry that has taken over the lighting market and the influx of low-cost competitors that come with it have driven pricing down across the market, making financial paybacks from energy savings even faster. 

Taking Control

The evolution of LED lighting technologies appears to have leveled off lately compared to the breakneck pace of advances seen a few years ago. Some customers see little difference among the product offerings. As one distributor said, in their mind an LED is an LED. Distributors can find themselves feeding into that impression if they don’t stay up with the benefits that continue to emerge, such as the possibilities for productivity improvements from “human-centric” lighting or more generally the aesthetics and design options available with tunable color. 

What seems to get customers excited right now, though, comes more from the control side. The emergence of wireless lighting control has changed the game for retrofits, removing the headaches and cost and locked-in feeling of hard-wired proprietary systems while giving end users huge gains in flexible use of their lighting systems. 

“The last two years have changed the conversation,” says Gersch of Verde Solutions. “Not so much around LED, everyone knows about that by now. But customers are now far more aware of sensors, whether it’s motion sensors, daylight dimmers, and so on, compatibility with building automation systems and things like that.”

Williams of KSA Lighting & Controls thinks LED fixtures without controls will be uncommon in the near future. “Customers really get excited about the controls and features that a connected smart system offers like setting the AV mode with the push of a button in a classroom, fixtures with daylight harvesting that dim by zone, exterior fixtures that provide the lighting levels they desire for safety and also provide deep savings by dimming 70% or more when the space is not occupied.”

The flexibility to reconfigure lighting zones and control them separately from a mobile device provides compelling benefits for many customers such as large manufacturing operations where changes in production and demand may require dividing up the plant floor space differently over time, or open office settings where desks and seating areas may need to be redone on occasion. 

With the advances in wireless controls and the declining cost of LED lighting systems generally, sales people in the field are seeing opportunity everywhere they look. Given the scope of the opportunity it seems likely to continue for many years. But once modern lighting systems are installed in most existing buildings, the conversation is almost certain to change again. The life expectancy of modern LED lighting and the continuing advance of future-ready configurable systems will yield a very different competitive landscape once this fun is done.    

6 Ways Companies Are Using Data Analytics to Reduce Expenses

Expense reduction is a constant goal for most companies. Fortunately, data analytics can assist with keeping costs down in several ways. Here are six of them.

1. To Cut Fleet Management Expenses

There’s a rising trend in equipping vehicles from company fleets with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that give management personnel details about things ranging from truck routes to driver fatigue.

One company that participated in a research study to pinpoint the effects of big data analytics on logistics operations found it was possible to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by relying on data analytics software.

Other applications include depending on sensor data to inform maintenance needs, which could cut costs associated with breakdowns, or using the data to assess which drivers frequently engage in risky practices that make those employees liabilities for their companies.

2. To Lessen Instances of Employee Turnover

Human relations professionals are familiar with the extensive costs associated with employee onboarding. But, the total expenses could climb even higher if employees are poor fits for the company and leave quickly after getting hired. According to 2018 data from Work Institute, employers will pay $680 billion in turnover costs by 2020, and companies could prevent 77 percent of turnovers.

Many companies use analytics before hiring candidates because it allows them to analyze information, such as the likelihood of someone aligning with a company’s culture. Big data can also track trends that could indicate a person currently working at a company is getting frustrated in the role and might leave for another opportunity.

As such, businesses that use data analytics in these ways could avoid the costs associated with training new employees that don’t stick around, or not recognizing when an employee is so unhappy they want to leave.

3. To Manage and Minimize Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are those associated with the operations of a company, but not related to products sold. Statistics indicate reducing indirect costs could save companies more than 25 percent in overall expenses. The categories of indirect expenses vary by each enterprise that incurs them, but some of the common ones include rent, utilities and office supplies.

Companies can’t start to reduce their indirect costs without knowing the average amount they spend on things each month. Big data analysis helps in this area by providing baselines that inform enterprises of their most substantial indirect expenses. Then, people can start figuring out where to make improvements.

One accessible way for companies to get started is to invest in IoT utility products like smart light bulbs and thermostats. Those items typically let users know statistics such as the average amount of energy used per month. Some even give tips for cutting utility bills.

Plus, printers and copiers can predict future supply needs based on usage patterns, then alert users to order things like ink and toner before those things run out. People can also log in to specialized dashboards to study trends.

4. To Shorten Testing Processes

Companies frequently go through tests associated with segments of their target markets before launching new products or updating their websites. Such testing helps avoid failures that could occur when businesses don’t connect with their audiences. Analytics platforms make tests less time-consuming, and thereby not as expensive.

Chime Bank wanted to increase the number of people signing up for new accounts and believed personalized content would help reach that goal. When choosing new content for its website, the company deployed a predictive analytics platform that used artificial intelligence to make the process more efficient. Doing that enabled the company to test 216 homepage versions and 21 ideas in only three months.

5. To Avoid Making Customers Upset

Businesses must not overlook how unsolved grievances may cause customers to get frustrated, leading to a rise in preventable costs. According to a report from NewVoiceMedia, there’s a rise in “serial switchers,” or people who willingly go to other providers after getting displeased with the former ones due to bad experiences.

Coverage from Forbes about the report says poor customer service costs brands more than $75 billion annually. But, high-tech analytics software, such as what many call centers use, can evaluate characteristics like tone of voice and word choice to determine when customers start to get frustrated.

Also, Salesforce has a platform called Customer 360 that aims to soothe customers differently. It allows customer service representatives to see the full picture of a customer’s interactions during communications. Then, a caller does not have to keep explaining their situation over and over again to workers in different departments.

6. To Monitor for Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks can disrupt website functionality, erode consumer trust and lead to decreased employee morale, among other adverse effects. Moreover, companies often do not anticipate the total expenses of those issues. A 2019 report from Radware found the average cost of a cyberattack was $1.1 million.

Data analytics platforms for cybersecurity purposes can check network traffic continually and give notifications of suspicious behavior that could indicate breach attempts. Many offerings have AI components, too.

Data Analysis Makes Expense Reduction More Straightforward

It’s not easy to assess where and how to cut expenses. But, these examples show how data analysis can help people make those judgments with confidence.

The 10 big lighting trends for 2019

WHAT'S IN store for the lighting industry in 2019?

The big mega trends of recent years will continue of course, as digital disruption will challenge some business models and create opportunities for others, especially those who can make digital experiences a seamless and positive customer experience. Here’s our take on 10 trends we expect to see in the coming 12 months.

 

The supply chain will breakdown

The client-specifier-manufacturer-wholesaler-contractor supply chain used to be understood by everybody. But with FMs buying from Amazon and margin-chasing contractors bullying manufacturers for rebates, the supply chain is getting more twisted out of shape than a Labour spokesperson explaining the party’s policy on Brexit.

Power Line Communication will go mainstream

Power line communication – a sophisticated reprisal of the ‘mains borne’ signalling of the 1970s – has been the unexpected tech trend in lighting control in recent years. It beats wireless on many levels and is getting adopted by big players such as shopping mall giant Intu and automotive manufacturer Volvo.

Consolidation will accelerate

After the companies jump a few pesky regulatory hurdles this month, iGuzzini will join the Fagerhult Group as the jewel in the crown of its recent acquisitions. While it’s certainly one of the most eye-catching takeovers in the industry it won’t be the last. Driven by falling luminaire prices, consolidation will accelerate this year.

 

Bluetooth Mesh will gain traction

Bluetooth is the new big beast in the lighting controls world and its mesh technology brings simple wireless control to large installations. The familiarity of Bluetooth, the marketing muscle behind the brand and the open protocol nature of the technology will mean its entry into the mainstream lighting is a smooth one.

VR will arrive as a design tool

Virtual reality games may have enlivened your Christmas break but expect 2019 to be the year that they have a serious impact in lighting design. The big architectural practices are already using the tool to get clients excited and Signify - formerly Philips – is investing heavily in the technology as a design and marketing tool.

 Visual comfort will move up the agenda

The right to experience artificial lighting without nasties such as glare and flicker has taken a back seat in recent years as we’ve embraced the stunning energy saving possibilities of LEDs. But expect visual comfort to make a comeback with increasing demand for warm colour temperatures and high CRIs.

Smart hubs will be cut out

The tangle of twinkling ‘smart hubs’ and ‘intelligent bridges’ you need to get your lamps connected to the internet will become a thing of the past. Led by GE’s release of its C by GE light bulbs and C-Start switches this year, lighting will increasingly connect directly to Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s HomeKit and even Siri.

 Self-learning control will arrive

Led by the stunning success of Nest’s digital thermostats which learn about a user’s habits over time and anticipate changes, intuitive control will begin to arrive in the lighting world. Helvar is first out of the blocks with its Active+ system, but a flurry of patent applications in recent months show entrepreneurs are betting its the next big thing in lighting.

1970s design will return

The feminine palette of chalky pinks, brass and er, flamingos is so over, the interior fashionistas tell us. The big trend in interiors is a return to the 1970s but this time with better materiality and softer colours. Expect product designers to blow the dust off Concord and iGuzzini catalogues from the era in the search for inspiration

Modular design will spread

LED luminaire makers can’t believe their luck. They’ve got away with integral products where extracting a failed driver or light source is harder than getting compensation from Ryanair. But European chiefs are on their tail. Expect Eco Design legislation to tighten and put pressure on manufacturers to have deconstruct-able luminaires.

Capitalize on the intersection of commercial lighting and IoT (MAGAZINE)

Published on: Sep 12, 2018

By Chuck Piccirillo
Osram Digital Systems

As the IoT establishes itself as the next adaptation in hardware and software applications, CHUCK PICCIRILLO outlines how enabling technology and lighting providers must shift to a new conceptual and development model to ensure their businesses will thrive in the connected spaces market.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and lighting have been living in separate worlds until very recently. Over the past decade, indoor lighting has evolved from traditional incandescent and fluorescent technology into solid-state lighting (SSL) and subsequently connected lighting management systems. Simultaneously, the IoT has established itself as the next technology revolution destined to create a plethora of smart applications that will change the way we work, play, and live. As the number of connected devices reaches an all-time high, these two worlds are coming together in a way that is mutually beneficial.

Lighting is ubiquitous — it’s in every space within a building. It is the perfect conduit for collecting information on what is happening in a building at any given time, because it is ideally located in the space and is connected to a power source. Sensors embedded in luminaires transform light points into data nodes on the lighting network, creating the enabling technology infrastructure for smart building applications and the IoT. As more emphasis is placed on connected spaces, an increasing number of use cases become possible.

This opportunity spawns several questions. What is driving the adoption of smart lighting and IoT? What will the ecosystem look like that moves this market forward? What factors should be considered when choosing a networked lighting control system, and what are the first steps to get started?Smart lighting and the IoT ecosystem

A complete end-to-end IoT solution requires a lot of capabilities, and no one entity can provide this on its own. In reality, IoT solutions will be based on the latest innovations and technologies as well as partnerships and alliances, where each organization contributes its own area of expertise to form a complete solution.

Partnerships are emerging between lighting companies and other technology-based companies — many of which were unlikely before this latest technology revolution. Although still in its infancy, many lighting companies are teaming up with traditional IT organizations, software service providers, and, in many cases, other lighting companies to tackle new and innovative applications.

For example, lighting companies need a cloud infrastructure to store data collected about the space and are forming partnerships with companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc., which can provide services that connect lighting networks to the cloud.

This begs the question: What do you do with the information that is coming from the lighting network? Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies are taking information to produce the applications and analytics that are needed for particular smart IoT use cases. Since lighting is everywhere, each light point can provide very accurate data about a specific space within a building and this level of accuracy enhances the analytics capability that SaaS applications require. They can gain granular insights from lighting system data about what is happening in the space.

“Coopetition” in the market is increasing. Lighting manufacturers are seeking out other lighting manufacturers to go to market together with solutions that are mutually beneficial. In this new blended world, previous competitors are now seeing the value of combining products and expertise.

Drivers for adoption of smart lighting

As previously mentioned, lighting is ubiquitous and well-suited for collecting information about activities taking place in a building at any given time. With this as its backdrop, there are other major factors leading to the adoption of smart lighting systems.

Energy and operational savings. According to IBM, the day-to-day operation of a building represents more than 70% of the total cost of that building over its life­span — this includes things like electricity, heating and cooling, water, etc. The immediate impact of IoT in commercial buildings is to lower operational costs, particularly in the form of energy savings. And many building codes, especially in the United States, are being rewritten to address these new cost reduction requirements, another factor driving adoption.

Building efficiencies. By creating a digital version of a building and its internal operations including systems and occupant activities, you can visualize what happens in the building on a day-to-day basis and use those insights to make better decisions. These reports enable facility executives to improve efficiencies while they centrally manage systems in the building or group of buildings.

Occupant health and wellbeing. There has been a shift in recent years toward occupant health and wellbeing and the impact that factors like lighting and room temperature have on productivity and alertness levels. With this in mind, many companies are piloting applications that test how these factors impact their employees’ experiences while at work.

Considerations for IoT deployment

Selecting an infrastructure that will support IoT can be an overwhelming task. There are still many unknowns about what the exact requirements will be, and no one wants to make an investment mistake. However, there a few key considerations when choosing an intelligent lighting system infrastructure as a platform for IoT, which can help future-proof the system.

Be prepared to scale. Choose a software-based, scalable infrastructure that can grow in size and scope, protecting and extending the value of your investment. Software is easy and cost effective to upgrade, and you will not need to rip out and replace expensive hardware as you grow or adjust your space.

Stay flexible and agile. Choose an infrastructure that not only supports change but handles it quickly. Most office space is reconfigured regularly to accommodate employee movement and space adjustments. Chances are you will need to adjust lighting and other smart building applications. You’ll want to manage luminaires and control zones quickly with a few mouse clicks and without rewiring or moving fixtures. And individual addressability of each luminaire will enable you to capture the granular data needed for applications such as predictive maintenance.

Go wireless. Wireless technology has improved drastically over the past five years and it will continue to improve moving forward. In the not-so-distant future, virtually everything will communicate wirelessly including emerging IoT applications that will make your smart building even smarter, so be prepared. The initial technical challenges of deploying wireless have been overcome and now wireless is the connectivity of choice because it costs less to install, is more flexible in retrofit spaces than hard-wired systems, and can be deployed quickly.

Stick with non-proprietary technology. A standards-based, non-proprietary platform is key to enabling the variety and number of potential IoT applications that will surface, including those from startups. Access to a broad ecosystem fundamentally conflicts with a proprietary platform strategy. You don’t want your options to be limited as you roll out specific IoT applications. Your system should have the ability to connect to a range of devices from multiple manufacturers. Pick a solution that allows you to select the right hardware for the space, without being beholden to a specific manufacturer.

The platform needs to connect to the cloud for data storage and SaaS-based applications such as space utilization, asset tracking, conference room and desk bookings, and more. Open, cloud-connected platforms enable more developers to deliver more innovative apps quickly and cost-effectively.

Streamline the user experience. Choose a system that is easy-to-use for both the facility manager and occupants. Additional features and functionality should not translate to additional complexity for facility managers and their operations team. As smart systems evolve, facility managers will be putting more control of the environment into the hands of occupants to support their preferences in their workspaces. A simple user experience is crucial to making the facility team’s tasks manageable.

Put IoT potential to work

IoT brings smart lighting to the next level. Think of it as smart lighting on steroids. While smart lighting brings efficiencies and automation to the lighting system, the addition of IoT tells a broader story about the space, the occupants, and the building itself.

Like any new technology wave, there will be those who take a cautious, slow-roll approach, while early adopters want it deployed everywhere as soon as possible. As the industry grows and matures, more pilots are being deployed to ensure the products of all suppliers involved in an IoT system are compatible for seamless operation.

It depends on the use case, but some pilots can run in as few as two weeks, while a more typical pilot period lasts approximately six months, with many choosing a phased approach versus a full deployment. Once deployed, and depending upon the type of application, the return on investment may be immediate or not too far off in the future.

As the IoT and smart lighting worlds continue to merge, the ecosystem of lighting manufacturers and software providers will continue to expand, bringing unique applications to market that have yet to be imagined. The promise of a new intelligent world is a reality and it starts with smart lighting.

CHUCK PICCIRILLO is head of product – Lighting Networks & Services for Osram. A 19-year veteran of the Osram organization, Piccirillo has served in engineering roles, both managing projects and delivering manufacturing solutions, and later moved into product marketing and business development roles with Osram. He participated in a pre-engineering program with Saint Bonaventure University, received a BS in chemical engineering from Clarkson University, and completed an MBA program with a focus on high tech at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Piccirillo is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and is Lighting Certified.

Lighten your retail overheads with energy-efficient lighting

For retail businesses, installing the right lights can reduce energy costs by up to 15 per cent

In today’s competitive retail environment, effective lighting is not only a customer expectation, but essential for achieving ‘the right look’ for a retail outlet.

While most retailers recognise the importance of lighting in providing a pleasant shopping and working environment, few merchandisers realise that it’s possible to reduce up to 15 per cent off their energy costs, by installing the right lighting technology.

The retail industry often demands bright, flattering lighting to draw customers and maximize sales but this is seldom very energy-efficient.  Yet there are substantial savings to be made on both the shop floor and in the back office, with many simple and inexpensive ways to reduce the energy consumption and costs associated with high-impact lighting without compromising profits.

Saving energy in a retail business is one of the simplest ways to directly increase margins without the need to grow sales—in fact, a 20 per cent cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5 per cent increase in sales, making energy-saving the new profit centre for retail businesses.

It’s estimated that a 20 per cent saving in retail energy costs is achievable nationally in the UK, totalling some £340 million per year across the sector.  And whilst energy costs may be only a small percentage of turnover, they represent a much larger proportion of profit.

By focusing on easily actionable measuresyou’ll be amazed at how simple actions can save energy, cut costs and increase productivity with the quickest payback.

Many energy-saving opportunities are within the control of staff and easily achievable at little to no-cost, which is an ideal way of making energy conservation part of a collaborative staff effort.

Low-to-no cost quick wins

Lighting accounts for anything from 15% to 70% of your total energy costs, depending on the type of store, but there are several quick-fixes you can implement to enhance your energy efficiency and reduce your energy spend:

  • Install energy-efficient lights—LED lights and compact fluorescent products use 80 per cent less electricity than conventional light bulbs

  • Use movement detectors, time switches and daylight sensors

  • Encourage staff to switch lights off when they’re not needed

Lighting’s role in the retail environment

Beyond its basic illumination function, a well-designed lighting scheme must satisfy varied business needs in the retail environment:

  • Sets the mood and atmosphere of the store so that customers will want to enter

  • Directs the customers’attention to the merchandise and stimulates impulse buying

  • Draws attention to the shop and its displays

  • Helps to enhance the store’s image

  • Improves the use of space

From the perspective of the owners and staff of a retail outlet, a lighting scheme should:

  • Provide adequate light to enable transactions to be completed efficiently, leading to fewer errors

  • Provide favourable working conditions to minimise eye fatigue and general tiredness

  • Help to create the brand image of a store or chain of stores

  • Convey an inviting atmosphere within the store

  • Provide an effective deterrent against crime

Selecting energy-efficient lighting

With the vast range of lighting sources, designs and controls now available, modern lighting techniques present abundant energy-saving opportunities, whilst achieving a greatly enhanced level of illumination and visual appeal at minimum cost.

Making the switch to LEDs

Lighting accounts for about 20% of all electricity generated in the UK, but with most current lighting systems still reliant on inefficient light sources, moving to low-energy lighting such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) has never been more critical in energy-saving initiatives.

Install low energy lighting

Originally developed for use in electronics, LEDs have become the light source of choice, providing illumination at a fraction of the cost of legacy sources.  LEDs have the highest efficacy and lamp life of all lighting types, are easy to control and have no warm-up period.

They also provide superior colour and contrast, essential in helping to generate sales, particularly in fashion retail where the visual appearance of merchandise is critical, and in food retailing, where produce needs to look appealing.

LED fittings satisfy the demand for superior:

  • Cost, energy and carbon savings

  • Display illumination levels

  • Contrast and highlighting

  • Health and wellbeing

  • High efficacy ratings

  • Glare suppression

  • Colour rendering

LED cost benefits

In addition to providing direct energy savings, LEDs generate further cost savings from:

  • Reduced heat gain: LEDs produce very little waste heat compared to conventional sources, reducing the need for additional cooling on warm days

  • Longer lamp lifespan: this equates to lower and less frequent maintenance costs

  • Better controllability: through dimming and instantaneous switch on and off

Boost your energy-efficiency—and bottom line

There are varied other ways to bring your business energy bills down, by introducing energy-efficient best practices into your store without compromising service levels or health and safety concerns.

“Switch off” policy

Involve staff and increase awareness

  • Involve staff at all levels in savings efforts by encouraging them to turn off light switches

  • Clearly label light switches to help employees know which ones they can turn off

  • Switch off lights in unoccupied areas

Maintenance

Without regular maintenance, light levels can fall by at least 30% in 2-3 years

Establishing a basic lighting maintenance programme can reduce costs by up to 15 per cent while improving in-store appearance:

  • Replace old, dim lamps, and keep controls in good working order by ensuring timers are set to match trading hours

  • Ensure windows, skylights, light fittings and occupancy sensors are kept clean

Refurbishment

Design for adequate, but not excessive, levels of light

Specific display items that require high light levels will benefit from local task lighting, rather than illuminating the whole store to a high level.

Invest in sensors

Occupancy sensors

Installing an occupancy sensor with a photocell override to give the option of keeping lights off on bright days can achieve savings of up to 50% on lighting costs.  These automatically turn lights on when a room is occupied and turn them off after a period of vacancy.

Daylight sensors

Light sensors or ‘photocells’ can be used to dim or turn off artificial lighting when there’s sufficient natural daylight.  As daylight hours vary throughout the year, sensors help to provide closer control and thus, substantial savings and often pay back their costs in less than a year.

Both types of control are sometimes combined with time switches.

Simple energy solutions with a big payoff

Combined, these relatively simple solutions help you save money, increase your staff productivity, and reduce your carbon footprint—all of which enhances your Triple D bottom line.

How Does the IIoT Deliver Real-World Value?

Posted on June 4, 2018

Digital Lumens

People often talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) as a Jetsons-style future state, but the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is already delivering real-world value, to a wide range of commercial, and industrial businesses. Retailers, for example, use beacon technologies that communicate with customers’ smartphones to provide location-specific offers and promotions, enhance the effectiveness of these programs and delivering a new source of data-driven intelligence on consumer behaviors.

Meanwhile, fleet operators are using sensor data to track delivery vehicles and improve the overall efficiency of logistical operations. Yet as interesting as some of these applications are, the larger potential for the IIoT is to deliver wholly new ways to leverage technology for increased productivity. IIoT solutions combine smart sensors and software applications to create smart buildings.

The installation of intelligent LED lighting containing embedded sensors paired with a lighting software application can achieve up to 90% in energy savings. Facility-wide environmental monitoring enables temperature and relative humidity readings to safeguard perishable products and improve workplace comfort. Usage data indicates when machinery or a facility itself needs preventative maintenance, helping to reduce downtime and unexpected repair challenges and costs.

The wide-ranging adaptability of IIoT technology provides great opportunities for businesses. Regardless of your industry or facility type, IIoT solutions seamlessly pivot for varying production schedules, environmental conditions, and more.

For example, foot traffic data insights can inform decisions about the best location for inventory storage units or if a change to regulatory temperature levels occurs, the smart building technology will alert you. IIoT automation is designed to evolve with changes in your facility and business.

This blog post is excerpted from the white paper, “How the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Can Improve Your Business Operations,” which can be downloaded in full through the button below.

Report: IoT Vertical Standards to Emerge and Then Merge

Written by Courtney Bjorlin

  • 13 Aug 2018

    According to research from Georgia Tech, IoT vertical ecosystems -- in which verticals develop their own standards but later combine with others’ -- and design thinking are keys to IoT success.

IoT will grow in industry-specific “clusters,” each adopting vertical standards and, eventually, the separate spheres will seek to talk to one another and merge, according to new research from Georgia Tech.

Defining the IoT’s “end game as the interconnection of intelligent things,” Alain Louchez, the co-founder and managing director of The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT), said industries such as agriculturehealth care and manufacturing will each act as their own IoT ecosystem, smoothly functioning with their own standards. At some point, the different IoT vertical clusters will seek to share information and even combine, with standards and regulation emerging to enhance their ability to work together on a common platform, according to the whitepaper.

Louchez likened it to the development of the U.S. electrical grid, where small clusters were using a standards approach and continued to combine until the separate grids communicated with each other.

“We’re still at the very beginning of something huge that will unfold over decades,” Louchez said.

Defining IoT as a “metaphor that captures something big that’s going on,” Louchez and CDAIT researchers and members recently released the comprehensive white paper, “Driving New Modes of IoT-Facilitated Citizen/User Engagement.” The paper, intended to educate and spur conversation across academia, industry and government on IoT technologies, defines IoT, provides a list of current standards bodies and security resources, and examines how connected technologies can play out in a user-centric manner in the context of smart cities.

CDAIT brings together academia and industry, with working groups led by the leaders of global companies such as Honeywell, Coca-Cola and Georgia Pacific. Those working groups aim to tackle the main dimensions of IoT, including education and training; startups; IoT thought leadership; security and privacy; and standards, including those for IoT verticals, Louchez said.

In this paper, researchers look at the potential for IoT in cities, examining IoT use cases and their results in places like Barcelona, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

They call special attention to the impact of design thinking on smart city projects.

Developing user-centric solutions will be crucial to the proliferation of the IoT, the researchers contend. As such, they recommend leveraging design thinking, for both its principles and supporting methodologies. Agile development processes will help cities, for instance, test and launch small projects, and evolve them quickly with user needs, while the focus on empathy ensures that the user is intrinsic to the development process.

“It has to be focused on the user. You cannot be successful in the IoT if you center whatever you’re doing on technology,” Louchez said. “You have to include the human dimension.”

To help smart cities adopt this approach, researchers created a model – EPIC, short for Ethics, Profit (economic and social), Intimacy and Connectivity — to review the opportunity and impact of investing in IoT. EPIC screens the IoT effort through the four variables for which it was named. Cities can use EPIC as a grid and take the project through the criteria to see how it fares, Louchez said.

In all, the team hopes to foster a dialogue around issues crucial for IoT proliferation and success, along with the understanding that it will be a long process.

“IoT is not a technology. It’s just an outcome brought about by many, many moving parts, many IoT-enabling technologies,” Louchez said.

Smart home lighting just got smarter with major Philips Hue app update

May 8, 2018

Smart home lighting just got smarter with major Philips Hue app update

  • Available for iOS and Android devices this month

  • Convenient shortcuts make it even easier to set your room’s lighting or adjust individual lights

  • Instantly transform your space with 30 new colorful light scenes, handpicked by lighting designers


Somerset, New Jersey – Signify (AEX: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting, today announced that it will roll out a major update to its Philips Hue app for iOS and Android-based devices this month. Consumers will enjoy new features as well as enhancements of existing app capabilities, so they can easily and quickly personalize and control their home’s Philips Hue smart lighting system.

We’ve made our smart home lighting even smarter. Our new app is easier to use than ever. New features include shortcuts, which make setting up rooms a breeze, new color pickers as well as 30 new scenes that allow instant scene setting to match your mood or that special moment. In designing the upgrade, we took advice from lighting designers, user experience specialists and, most importantly, from our customers. The result is an app befitting the world’s most loved smart lighting system for the home.”

 

Jasper Vervoort

Head of Marketing and Product Management, Home Systems & Luminaires at Signify.

Simple navigation to light your home smarter

 

The app delivers a new look-and-feel and convenient shortcuts, so you can adjust your Philips Hue smart lighting in a few simple taps. For example, with a single press and hold on your room setup or individual lights, you can change the color or set your four last used scenes.

Set your desired ambiance effortlessly

 

Use the new color pickers feature to transform your lighting into an extraordinary experience. This allows you to group and ungroup lights in a room, and easily choose an exact shade of white or colored light from the palette.

The app also comes with 30 new scenes, handpicked from our lighting designers. With a simple tap, you can enjoy a sunset in Honolulu or a night out in London's Soho district, and match the lighting to your mood. The app update also gives you more scenes to choose from and lets you easily create your own personal scenes. The app extracts the relevant colors from your favorite pictures and intelligently applies them to your lights, bringing your pictures to life.

For an overview of all Philips Hue app updates and features, please visit meethue.com.

 

Stay tuned to MeetHue.com and our social media channels (FacebookTwitter and Instagram).

LED Lighting Cuts Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Half a Billion Tons in 2017

Source: www.semiconductor-today.com

4 January 2018

LED lighting cuts carbon dioxide emissions by half a billion tons in 2017
The use of LEDs to illuminate buildings and outdoor spaces reduced the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of lighting by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017 (equivalent to shutting down 162 coal-fired power plants), according to analyst firm IHS Markit. LED lighting uses an average of 40% less power than fluorescents, and 80% less than incandescents, to produce the same amount of light.

“The efficiency of LEDs is essentially what makes them environmentally friendly,” comments Jamie Fox, principal analyst, lighting & LEDs group. “Therefore, LED conversion is unlike other measures, which require people to reduce consumption or make lifestyle changes.”

LED component and lighting companies were responsible for reducing the global carbon (CO2e) footprint by an estimated 1.5% in 2017, and that is likely to continue to grow as more LEDs are installed worldwide, says IHS Markit.

Another environmental benefit is that LEDs have a longer life span than traditional bulbs and fewer are produced, so the emissions and pollution associated with the production, shipping, sale and disposal of the products is reduced. Secondly, unlike fluorescents, LEDs do not contain mercury. LEDs also decrease air pollution, since most electrical energy is still generated by burning fossil fuels. “While other activities affect climate change more than lighting does, it is still a very strong contribution from a single industry sector,” Fox says.



IHS Markit has tracked the market share for top LED component suppliers for many years. Based on an analysis of this data, Nichia can claim credit for having saved the most carbon overall — accounting for 10% of all LED lighting reduction achieved in 2017, which translates into 57 million tons of CO2 (about the same as 16 coal plants). Cree followed Nichia with 8%, while Lumileds, Seoul Semiconductor, MLS, Samsung and LG Innotek each have a share of 4-7%.

Savings achieved by each company relate to the energy saved by the use of its components while installed in lighting applications. It does not include a whole lifecycle analysis, which would likely lead to a small additional positive benefit, due to the longer life of LEDs.

“LED component companies and lighting companies have transformed their industry,” Fox comments. “They are fighting climate change much more effectively than other industries, and they should be given credit for it. Unlike in other industry sectors, workers at LED companies can honestly say that by selling more of their products, they are helping to reduce global warming.”

IHS Markit notes that its figures are only based on the lighting market. They do not include energy saved by LEDs that replaced other technologies in other sectors, such as automotive and consumer technology.

Why LED Light Technology?

Since 2006, LED Light Technology has provided professional LED lighting services for industrial, commercial and office-based clients. LED Light Technology founders have spent their careers in the general lighting and LED integration. Collectively our executive team has over 70 years in the lighting business coming from companies such as GE, Philips and Cree.  We have a vast amount of experience and knowledge of both traditional and LED lighting products and applications.  LED Light Technology is a certified women-owned company supporting corporate diversity programs.

As lighting professionals, it is our responsibility to inform our customers of ideal methods to implementing LEDs into their facilities. It is in our best interest to bring you the most cost-effective solution while meeting your primary objectives of improving the quality and performance for your lighting systems.

We offer a complete assortment of LED for all lighting applications.  Our team conducts energy audits to determine the most cost-effective solution for each project location. The audit results in a financial analysis showing detailed owning and operating cost savings/avoidance including all benefits realized by converting to maintenance-free LED lighting products.

We are focused on fortifying our clients’ balance sheet by reducing facility energy consumption and HVAC load while eliminating time and maintenance associated with traditional lighting systems. We offer environmentally friendly LED bulbs, retrofit kits and new fixtures for most every lighting application.

LED Light Technology supplies a full range of traditional and LED bulbs and fixtures including recognized brands such as Philips, GE, CREE, A-Line, Brownlee, Day-Brite, Digital Lumens, Green Creative, Hubble, Levition, Liteline, Lighting Science Group, LSI, Lunera, Maxlite, MSI, Revolt Lighting, TCP, Terralux and WattStopper…as well as our house brand…LED Light Technology.

Our professional lighting experts will perform a complimentary site survey of your facility or produce the financial analysis and conversion recommendations if provided with a PDF or DWG drawing of the facility and a Lighting Fixture Schedule.

In addition to LED Lighting conversions, we offer complete Energy Services to address every aspect of your energy needs.

 

The intelligence features added to the LED lighting and control systems have reduced owning & operating costs by 97%.

 

It’s easy and affordable to convert your lighting systems to LED.

Who is LED Light Technology

 

LED Light Technology offers unique products which convert existing light fixtures in most cases without replacing or removing the original fixture from the ceiling. Facility energy audits are conducted to determine the most cost effective solution. The resulting energy and maintenance cost savings will strengthen our customers’ balance sheet.

LED Light Technology founders have spent their careers in the general lighting and LED integration business. We are a female owned company supporting diversity programs.

We are focused on assisting customers in increasing bottom-line savings and eliminating time and maintenance associated with traditional lighting systems. We offer environmentally friendly LED solutions for reduced energy and maintenance savings.

LED Light Technology sells a range of LED bulbs and fixtures in addition to traditional lighting products.

Providing a lighting experience to ensure that our customer is comfortable and excited about their transition to LEDs.