New frontiers in lighting technology
New lighting technology is delivering an incredible array of benefits: cost reduction, vibrant colours, long distance visibility and intensity, controllability and exciting and practical applications. Some lighting developers have released, or are refining, LED and LED/laser-based devices that will deliver previously impossible savings in energy costs.
For example, in some European cities power providers are able to monitor the output of lighting systems as well as adjust lighting levels as and where needed. Energy savings of up to 70 percent compared with the old technology are being achieved in these city applications.
Using wireless technology and sensors, smart streetlights in the Dutch city of Eindhoven turn themselves on and off depending on whether they sense people or cars on the street. The technology also enables a range of lighting colours so residents can create different atmospheres on different streets. Smart lighting can also be remotely adjusted using wireless technology to illuminate areas as small as a street corner.
We have always known that the many characteristics of lighting can influence a person’s well-being, productivity and general state of mind. So the new lighting technologies have the potential to recalibrate a person’s biometric status to keep them at an optimum state of concentration and focus.
Tunable lighting characteristics such as colour, hue and warmth can be adjusted to change a person’s environment and mimic different times of day to compensate for changing natural light patterns. That’s why airlines such as Virgin Atlantic are already using seductive LED mood lighting to minimise the effects of stress and jetlag on passengers.
New light distribution tech
There has been considerable work done on the use of lasers to deliver lighting and enable more radical lighting configurations. This is where just a few point sources of laser light on a building may be transmitted throughout a site by fibre-optic cabling.
Because of the speed at which LED technology has advanced, it is no surprise that property owners have been treading cautiously in terms of retrofitting LED lighting. We are seeing more property managers taking a serious look at the return on investment of retrofitting LED systems, as the latest products have proved to deliver equal or better performance, while producing up to 80 percent in electricity cost savings.
As the established and reputable suppliers of LED systems prove themselves in the market, facility managers will be more prepared to embrace both the performance and cost saving benefits that come with this new technology. And beyond the cost savings, owners will be looking at some of these innovative lighting solutions to add excitement and appeal, as well as adding value and differentiation to their properties.
As with any new technology, buyers need to be careful about the experience and credentials of their supplier, so it is good practice to check out sites where the lights are already installed. You should also review a supplier’s test and approval certificates and check that products are marked with the Australian mandatory Registered Compliance Mark (RCM).
In evaluating the potential return on investment from retro fitting LED lighting systems, check for eligibility for financial incentives offered by the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET), the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS), and demand reduction incentives offered by Energex in Queensland.