Within the next few years, smart buildings with wireless lighting control solutions will save billions of dollars of energy, labor and component costs, according to global technology research firm ON World.
The growth of standards-based solutions are creating a new generation of integrated wireless lighting controls that will reduce communications costs by a factor of 10.
“Today, a typical building wastes almost a third of its lighting energy due to inefficient or non-existent lighting control systems,” says Mareca Hatler ON World’s research director. “Wireless energy management systems that integrate with a building’s lighting infrastructure is one of the fastest growing areas in building automation.”
ON World’s survey of 85 professional installers found that 59 percent are providing wireless lighting controls. Over half provide a centralized wireless lighting control system and about one-quarter install lighting systems that use wireless adapters. Nearly six in 10 provide a wireless lighting control system that features occupancy detection, 34 percent daylighting and 26 percent support utility demand response programs.
There are three major technology trends that are driving adoption of wireless lighting controls in buildings today:
Maintenance-free wireless sensors and switches powered by harvested energy made up about 1 in 3 of the wireless lighting device shipments in 2012. Today, these mostly use the EnOcean wireless protocol that has over 1,000 interoperable products. However, ZigBee Green Power—an extension of ZigBee 2012—enables multiple component suppliers and vendors to provide wireless energy harvesting devices that can participate in widely deployed ZigBee PRO wireless mesh networks.
Wireless Mesh Networking
Wireless mesh networking avoids dependence on a wired backbone that is used by the majority of wireless lighting control systems. Targeted at building-wide wireless energy management as well as outdoor commercial areas, wireless mesh systems attach to, or are integrated with, lighting luminaires. Growing trends are to embed sensors and software into individual fixtures for localized control and to reduce hardware costs with wireless enabled ballasts and smart LED drivers.
The migration to LED lighting is one of the biggest developments in building energy management systems by providing long-lasting light sources that are especially suited for digital controls. Software configurable LED drivers with integrated wireless communications such as those provided by Orama promise to reduce communications costs up to 90 percent by replacing the need for a separate device for the adapter.
Industrial, warehousing, parking garages/lots and outdoor area lighting are currently some of the fastest growing markets for wireless lighting controls. However, traditional commercial buildings such as offices, retail and restaurants, will make up over 40 percent percent of the market by 2017.
By 2020, global commercial wireless lighting control device shipments will increase by more than 1500 percent from 2012 when they will save buildings $4.2 billion in energy costs.
ON World’s recently published report, “Smart Building Wireless Sensor Networks”, is based on phone interviews and online surveys with over 250 individuals including facility/property managers, professional installers, equipment manufacturers, software developers and component suppliers. It covers the global wireless sensor network (WSN) market for non-residential buildings including six application areas (lighting, HVAC, security/safety, metering, environmental monitoring and guest controls) in 10 market segments.
Forecasts are for WSN equipment and services in each market as well as by geography and technology. Technologies included are ZigBee, 802.15.4, WiFi, EnOcean, Z-Wave, 6LoWPAN and several proprietary variants. The report also analyzes 100 companies and presents the results from two surveys as well as test results on the power and performance of several WSN technologies.