Indoors, connected LED lighting systems with embedded sensors can render buildings, which generate 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, far more energy-efficient.
Occupancy sensors integrated into a connected lighting system can autonomously dim rooms and other spaces when unoccupied and illuminate them when people are present, providing a new degree of control over electricity use: gone are old-school lighting regimes in which lights are either totally on or totally off, and often illuminate empty spaces perpetually or for a fixed amount of time.
As in the smart city, connected lighting systems can serve as a foundation on which to build a smart ecosystem. It’s a logical place to begin, as lighting must be installed wherever people go in a building, regardless of any other services or amenities. Connected lighting systems that use standard networking architectures and protocols (such as Ethernet) can integrate with other systems in a building to create synergies that deliver additional value.
When integrated with a building’s HVAC and window/venting systems, for example, a connected lighting system can monitor internal and external conditions, opening shades to flood a building with direct sunlight while at the same time turning down the heating; or opening apertures to let cooler air flow in while turning down the air conditioning. At scale, such solutions can significantly cut both energy costs and energy use.
Corporate real estate owners can use different kinds of sensor data to make operations more sustainable. A connected lighting system that hosts occupancy sensors can collect data about usage levels and activities throughout an illuminated space over time. They can use this data to perform space optimization analyses. If less space is needed because areas of a floor or even entire floors are underutilized, these spaces can be minimally heated, cooled, and lit, or they could even be rented out or sold to reduce the operation’s physical footprint. Each of these actions have the potential to lower costs, save energy, and reduce emissions.
Large-scale smart lighting solutions are more likely to be deployed in office or industrial contexts, but they’re also available for the housing sector, where they will lead to similar efficiencies. Simply switching home lighting to LED offers immediate reductions in energy consumption, and therefore has a positive impact on energy budgets. With connected LED, residences can realize many of the same benefits as businesses and municipalities do—for example, smart dimming, occupancy sensing, auto notifications, remote system monitoring and maintenance, and integration with other systems such as HVAC. Smart apartment buildings and smart private homes that put connected technology to work for green purposes will increasingly participate in the global response to climate change.