LED Conversions Light the Way to Building Automation

March 19, 2019 Robert Moss

The advantages of LED lighting are obvious: Organizations can reduce energy costs by more than 50 percent purely by converting their existing lighting fixtures to LEDs.

What's not so obvious is that LED retrofits present a unique opportunity to transform ordinary buildings into intelligent ones through innovative technologies. Installing a digital ceiling with sensors while converting to LED lighting fixtures is an easy decision. Both actions offer a ubiquitous source of power and reduce installation costs, since they can happen simultaneously.

Rolling an intelligent building solution upgrade into LED retrofits makes financial sense. By investing the savings gained with LEDs into an intelligent building solution, a total savings of up to 70 percent on energy costs for lighting can be attained.

These savings are only the beginning. An intelligent building solution offers great energy efficiency gains with HVAC, refrigeration, and more. Further, it can help customers drive improved business productivity through space planning, optimized lighting and environmental conditions, as well as many other applications. The current technology is less obtrusive than previous generations of energy controls. That makes it simple to install gateways and other equipment—much of it is now wireless—while an LED retrofit is taking place.

Gain More Than Savings

The ease of combining lighting and digital building upgrades is particularly important for smaller buildings. Until now, the complexity of energy and other control systems has limited deployments to large buildings with on-site facility management. Approximately 90 percent of the world's small to midsize buildings do not have automation systems. This lack of automation leads to wasted energy and unnecessary spending.

An intelligent building solution can maximize building efficiency and reduce energy costs while increasing employee safety, comfort, and productivity. Such a solution can also help organizations meet their sustainability and carbon reduction goals. By taking a scalable approach to green initiatives, organizations can achieve them without increasing their overall costs in the process.

By deploying an intelligent building solution, organizations can attain the following benefits:

  • Save money with lighting controls such as daylight harvesting and occupancy sensing.
  • Monitor and manage energy consumption and savings.
  • Unify disparate building management systems, including HVAC, thermostats, refrigeration, BacNet, and more.
  • Assess and control devices, building zones, and energy use across multiple facilities.
  • Track and analyze system status, events, occupancy, space utilization, and energy consumption in a consolidated dashboard.
  • Receive alerts when lights and other devices malfunction or need replacing, or for environmental events.
  • Automatically comply with DR programs by shedding load in response to utility signals.

Driving Sustainability with Daintree

Consider the case of the world's largest tire and rubber manufacturer. The company plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 35 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050. To meet these goals, it selected GE Current to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs at its 1.4-million-square-foot tire distribution center in Jacksonville, Florida.

It deployed 925 GE LED fixtures, which enabled it to decrease its wattage per fixture by 51 percent. This also increased fixture life threefold (from 30,000 hours to 100,000 hours). Next, it implemented the Daintree wireless control system, which provides the building with specified zones for dimming schedules, as well as exhaust fan controls for even more energy savings.

Together, these smart enhancements resulted in achieving a 60 percent reduction of annual lighting-related energy consumption and significantly lowered maintenance costs—giving the company more control of its lighting and aligning to its sustainability goals.

Transforming Ordinary Buildings into Intelligent Ones

The Daintree Enterprise controls solution is an example of a smart IoT building system that enables a wide range of use cases and applications. This scalable solution can be applied to a single office, a floor, or an entire building. It can be deployed across an entire campus, and a portfolio of properties in multiple cities.

With developments such as the Daintree Enterprise solution, existing buildings can cost-effectively deploy IoT technology and not disrupt tenants.

It is common for customers to achieve ROI within two to four years.  And beyond reducing energy consumption through LEDs, customers are gaining a comprehensive solution that lets them monitor and control HVAC, refrigeration, and other productivity applications from a single pane of glass.

Open at the Bottom and Open at the Top

Open at the bottom means that the solution can combine a wide range of sensors and systems—to monitor and control HVAC, plug loads, thermostats, refrigeration, and more—over a wireless Zigbee-based mesh network.

Open at the top means organizations can develop and use the Daintree AllSites energy management and analytics application or even other third-party apps. AllSites is an intuitive, web-based, multi-tenant software that enables organizations to configure systems—as well as monitor and control devices, building zones, and energy use across their entire portfolio of properties—from any location using a PC, smartphone, or tablet (Figure 1).

Figure 1. AllSites transforms how companies approach multisite energy management.

Powered by Intel®

Daintree Enterprise incorporates Intel® gateways and Intel Atom® processors. Additional components to the solution include Wireless Area Controllers and Wireless Adapters to connect existing wired devices, and an on-site or cloud-based System Controller (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The Daintree Enterprise solution enables organizations to reduce energy costs in a single office, building, or an entire campus.

Organizations gain the advantage of using sensors at the edge. This enables faster response times and reduces latency by processing data where it is collected rather than sending it to the cloud for computation. Data is stored in the cloud for analytics to make data-driven decisions. This information can be organized and used in new apps built with the Daintree Enterprise open, robust APIs.

As a result, organizations have the ability to select and respond to relevant data, linked to specific goals and outcomes related to occupancy, temperature, productivity, and other metrics. This puts data to work with secure intelligence from the edge to the cloud.

The Need for Flexibility

The diversity of system configurations in buildings can make it challenging to apply building management solutions (BMS) across a large portfolio of properties, especially those designed for single-purpose applications or that use proprietary software. Daintree Enterprise is an open platform that works with all kinds of systems and software for HVAC, thermostat, lighting, refrigeration, security, water, and more—enabling real-time insights and action.

Smart Buildings Are Smart Investments

A variety of organizations have found that solutions such as those of the Daintree Enterprise can reduce costs by minimizing energy use and maintenance needs. Owners, managers, and tenants of properties—including office and retail spaces, warehouses, factories, and schools—rely on data, digital solutions, and intelligent building applications to achieve their energy reduction and optimization goals. And, in the process, they are improving worker productivity and comfort.

About the Author

Robert Moss

Robert Moss is an independent consultant and strategist who focuses on the value gained through IoT, AI, machine learning and other technologies. He also helps give voice to executives at leading technology companies, enabling their personal stories to show how they encourage innovation, overcome obstacles, and improve their leadership skills. Tweets @RobertMoss_IoT

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