Category: News

18 Mar 2019

5 Green Building Trends: A Push to Scale Net Zero

Look at the construction cranes that puncture the skies over every major city. Most of them may as well be smokestacks.

Despite the spread of solar energy, energy efficient equipment and advanced designs, only a tiny fraction of the 60,000 or so new commercial buildings that will be completed this year will approach net zero carbon emissions.

That’s not even counting existing buildings. If our built environment is to meet its carbon emissions goals — whether that means cutting net emissions by half or eliminating them entirely — existing structures will have to be retrofit in meaningful numbers.

But there are signs that the net “zero energy” movement is getting to up scale. (For the purposes of this article, “zero energy” and “net zero” are interchangeable; both describe buildings that generate all their power from clean — or non-carbon-emitting — sources, in most cases onsite.)

“The global Net Zero Energy movement for commercial buildings quietly appears to have achieved critical mass,” one mainstream industry publication declared this month, adding that it “may soon be mainstream across multiple building classifications.”

One of those signs is Unisphere, the headquarters of United Therapeutics. At 135,000 square feet, it’s believed to be the largest net zero building in the United States. That superlative isn’t the only thing that makes Unisphere a poster child for net zero. Because the office building is in the dense downtown of Silver Spring, Maryland, its design team couldn’t get simply sow the surrounding countryside with an unlimited number of ground-based solar panels. Instead, they relied on rooftop solar and a slew of advanced efficiency features. Among them: Daylight harvesting, geothermal wells, natural ventilation, a high-performance envelope, electrochromatic glass and a building automation system.

Barely a decade after modern net zero buildings became remotely viable, such features are increasingly viewed as best building practices. Just as importantly, a growing number architects and engineers have grown proficient enough with such design solutions to have the confidence to pitch property owners to consider committing to net zero.

“This tribe is growing,” declaresCathy Higgins, research director at the New Buildings Institute. Her nonprofit tracks the movements progress with its biannual List of Zero Energy Project.

“In our debut list in 2012, I could name most of the firms of the 60 buildings,” Higgins wrote in a 2018 blog post. “Today’s list has approximately 70 mechanical-electrical-plumbing firms (MEP) and 100 architect firms involved in projects.”

The 2012 list included only 60 net zero buildings. That list counts both buildings that had been verified as operating at net zero for a full year, and those that were that were designed as net zero but were either under construction or not yet fully verified. On last year’s list, that number had already risen to 482. A year later, Higgins says, it’s approaching 600.

Advocates are hoping that such growth will generate a virtuous cycle by providing the critical mass needed for states to devise net zero “stretch” energy codes, for cities to factor net zero buildings into their clean energy plans, and for architects and engineers to make the case to their clients for net zero projects.

The building industry remains well behind in the race to eliminate carbon emissions, Higgins admits. But she’s confident that net zero will continue to accelerate through 2019.

“The exciting thing is that we now have functioning net zero buildings of every size and every type in every North American climate zone. Also a quarter of the buildings are owned by private for-profit companies,” she says. “This is the kind of diversity we need to start really scaling up.”

PHOTO AT TOP: Unisphere, the Silver Spring, Maryland, headquarters of United Therapeutics is the largest net zero building in the United States. Image courtesy United Therapeutics.

The Kendeda Living Building Chronicle reports on regenerative design and construction, which a special focus on the Kendeda Building for Innovative Design and Construction. To explore more of our Five Green Building Trends for 2019click here.

12 Mar 2019

America’s Light Bulb Revolution

Solar panels and wind turbines get a lot of attention, but a more inconspicuous instrument is helping to reshape America’s energy economy right now: The humble light bulb.

Over the past decade, traditional incandescent bulbs, those distinctive glass orbs with glowing wire centers, have been rapidly replaced by more energy-efficient lighting. The shift has driven down electricity demand in American homes, saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The energy savings are expected to grow as highly efficient and increasingly inexpensive LED bulbs continue to replace older lights. But energy efficiency advocates worry that the Trump administration could slow the pace of this lighting revolution.

Last month, the Department of Energy said it would withdraw an Obama-era regulation that nearly doubled the number of light bulbs subject to energy-efficiency requirements. (The chart above shows changes for basic, pear-shaped bulbs that are regulated by current rules. Other bulb styles, including globe, candelabra and reflector bulbs, as well as outdoor lighting, are not included.)

Industry groups are also pushing back on new lighting efficiency requirements slated to go into effect next year.

After climbing for decades, electricity use by American households has declined over the past eight years.

“That’s a staggering change,” said Lucas Davis, an energy economist at the Haas School of Business, part of the University of California, Berkeley.

The economic recession in the late 2000s contributed to an initial dip in electricity demand, but as the economy improved, lighting and other energy-efficiency improvements continued to drive down household electricity use.

Congress established the first national light bulb efficiency standards in 2007, which were signed into law by President George W. Bush. Starting in 2012, the law required new light bulbs to use 28 percent less power than existing incandescent lights — essentially ending the sale of the older, inefficient bulbs.

A new generation of halogen bulbs initially replaced traditional incandescents, but, more recently, sales of highly efficient LEDs have grown as their prices have fallen.

The switch to more efficient lighting has been relatively rapid, Dr. Davis said, because of the short lifespan of traditional light bulbs. While consumers may replace an old refrigerator or dishwasher with an energy-saving model once a decade, incandescent bulbs last only about a year before they need replacing.

And that replacement yields huge relative savings.

“When you take out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with LEDs, the amount of electricity you consume goes down more than 80 percent,” Dr. Davis said. “There’s nothing else like that.”

The Future of Lighting Efficiency

A second phase of the 2007 lighting efficiency rules is scheduled to go into effect next year, prohibiting the sale of lightbulbs that put out less than 45 lumens per watt. Currently, only compact fluorescent and LED bulbs can meet that requirement. That means all basic incandescent bulbs, including the recent generation of halogens, would be eliminated from store shelves on Jan. 1.

Industry groups have contested that standard, along with an Obama-era ruling that expanded which light bulbs it would apply to. The Department of Energy said last month that it had erred when it determined in 2017 that certain decorative and non-basic bulb styles would be subject to the 2020 standards.

Clark Silcox, a lawyer for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a trade group that represents major lighting manufacturers like General Electric and Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), said that consumers were already switching to highly efficient LED bulbs on their own, pointing to industry data that shows LEDs outsold all other types of bulbs for the first time in 2017.

“The question now is: Does the Department of Energy accelerate that by putting on a ban,” Mr. Silcox said, even if it would “disrupt retail terribly.”

But Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said “there’s no reason to move backward,” adding that the lighting industry has had years to prepare for the next phase of efficiency rules.

“The LEDs are already on the shelf,” he said. “They work great, they last longer and they use one-sixth of the power.”

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/03/08/climate/light-bulb-efficiency.html

12 Mar 2019

The coming revolution in LED lighting

A revolution in energy-efficient, environmentally-sound, and powerfully-flexible lighting is coming to businesses and homes, according to a paper in latest special energy issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal.

The paper envisions the future of lighting—a future with widespread use of  (LEDs), which offer a number of obvious and subtle advantages over traditional light bulbs.

“We are at the verge of a revolution,” says the paper’s senior author E. Fred Schubert, a professor of electrical engineering and physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. “There are tremendous opportunities that open up with LED lighting.”

LEDs are more rugged, resembling something closer to hard plastic than thin glass. They are also more environmentally sound, since their manufacture does not require toxic substances such as mercury.

As an alternative to the traditional incandescent light bulb, LED lights provide significant energy savings. They can be 2,000 percent more efficient than conventional light bulbs and 500 percent more efficient than compact fluorescent bulbs. Schubert predicts that widespread use of LEDs over the course of 10 years would save more than $1 trillion in , eliminate the need for nearly a billion barrels of oil over 10 years, and lead to a substantial reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.

All of these advantages make LEDs a good replacement light source, says Schubert, adding that this is why there has been a tremendous recent expansion of the LED industry, which is growing by double-digit rates. However, he adds, the true potential of LED lighting lies in their ability to transform—rather than simply replace—lighting technology.

“Replacement is fine,” says Schubert. “But we must look beyond the replacement paradigm to see the true benefits of LED lights.” Schubert envisions a day when light switches give way to light switchboards that control not only the brightness of a light, but its color temperature and hue. Light spectra could be custom-tailored for all wavelengths, accurately matching the sun’s light qualities and vary these characteristics according to the time of day, for instance. This could revolutionize indoor agriculture and help night-shift workers and people who are jet-lagged. The use of polarized light from LEDs could also improve computer displays and lower the glare from car headlights.

In his article, Schubert lays out how such future, “smart”  sources, can harness the huge potential of LEDs.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-02-revolution.html#jCp

12 Mar 2019

Philadelphia Museum of Art is having a lightbulb moment, swapping out 11,000 bulbs and fixtures for LED ones

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has reopened its Chinese galleries to literally glowing reviews after 10 months of renovations, during which a new LED lighting system was installed, among other improvements.

Visitors can now better appreciate the colorful painted details on lacquered cabinets and vivid expressions on porcelain figures. Artifacts that were covered in grime at one point now gleam under the new lights, thanks to the work of a large team of conservators who worked around the clock to make sure the 7,000 objects in the museum’s collection were ready for their closeups.

The ceramic vases and carved wooden armchairs in the Chinese galleries aren’t the only items visitors will be seeing in a new light.

The LED lighting system in the Chinese galleries is part of a much larger project: The Art Museum plans to replace the 11,000 lightbulbs and fixtures in its main building, Perelman annex, and Rodin Museum with LED bulbs and fixtures.

That includes the American Art galleries, the Modern and Contemporary galleries, and new spaces that are part of the museum’s ongoing renovations, among them the new restaurant.

The museum is joining many other art museums of its caliber around the world, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, looking to increase LED use and move away from incandescent lighting to conserve energy.

The Penn Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University are also starting the transition. A new trend is to blend LED lighting with natural light to give viewers the best experience possible.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s efforts will be the biggest overhaul in favor of LED lighting in a Philadelphia museum to date.

 

“Elegant and effective lighting is a key part of the visitor experience in an art museum,” museum director Timothy Rub said. “It’s our single most significant aesthetic deficit right now. We have a lot of antiquated lighting that is no longer adequate for its purpose. Once we’re done, the lighting we’ll have will be far superior to the lighting we have in most of our galleries and public spaces today.”

The new lighting is part of an $11.3 million energy-conservation upgrade at the museum funded by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and Johnson Controls as part of the city’s energy master plan developed in 2017. The city owns the museum building and pays an average of $3 million a year to heat, light, and cool the space. The energy conservation effort is expected to cut costs by 24 percent annually.

Until now, the museum’s lighting has been largely incandescent and fluorescent.

Incandescent bulbs are lighted by running an electric current through a metallic filament, which wastes a lot of energy as heat. Fluorescent bulbs, which emit less heat and are therefore more efficient, are lighted by exciting a gas, usually a mixture of argon and mercury vapor, with a current, causing it to glow.

LED lights are the most efficient of all. They produce a flow of electrons through a semiconductor, generating light directly without heating metal or gas.

They are particularly well-suited to museums because, unlike traditional light sources, heat is not projected forward with the beam of light, so fragile items are affected less. LEDs also last 25 times longer than traditional lightbulbs, so museums can go a decade or more without having to replace them, according to Jason Rainone, lighting designer at the Penn Museum, where the newly reopened Middle East Galleries feature LED lighting.

Though lighting is not something most visitors think about at the Art Museum, the way an artwork is lighted shapes their experience with it. Tasteful spotlighting and washes of color can draw the eye to certain works in a room crowded with them and highlight details; dim lighting in the wrong color can give a painting a green tint.

Jennifer Sontchi, director of exhibits and public spaces at the Academy of Natural Sciences, said that museum is looking to slowly transition to an all-LED lighting system in the near future.

The Barnes Foundation is also looking to make the transition, said Deidre Maher, director of communications there. The Barnes already uses an intelligent lighting system that allows the museum to control the balance in its galleries between artificial and natural light.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s South Asia galleries reopened in 2016 with a combination of LED, halogen, and fluorescent lighting after 19 months of renovations, significantly improving the presentation of one of the museum’s signature works of art — the 16th-century Indian Temple Hall, the only such structure standing outside India.

One space in the Art Museum that will drastically change after the lighting upgrades have been made is the west entrance, which is currently illuminated by three downlights in the ceiling. Rub said he expects the addition of LED lights in 2020 to provide the room with a much richer and clearer illumination, making it more welcoming to visitors.

“Museum lighting options have changed more in the last five years than in the last 30,” Rub said. “Because of this, we’re able to light both individual works of art and our galleries in ways that are precise, visually compelling, and conservationally sound.”

06 Jan 2016

Researchers create 3Gbps LiFi network with LED bulbs

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Henrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Germany have successfully transmitted data at 3Gbps using conventional LED bulbs in a laboratory setting. In a real-world setting (at a trade fair), the same system was capable of 500Mbps.

The concept of visible light communications (VLC), or LiFi as it is sometimes known, has received a lot of attention in recent years, mostly due to the growing prevalence of LED lighting. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are solid-state electronics, meaning they can be controlled in much the same way as any other electronic component, and switched at a high speed. VLC is essentially WiFi — but using terahertz radiation (light) instead of microwaves (WiFi). Instead of oscillating a WiFi transmitter, VLC oscillates an LED bulb — and of course, on the receiving end there’s a photodetector instead of an antenna.

vlc_prototypeNow, unfortunately the Fraunhofer press release is almost completely devoid of detail, except for the 3Gbps bit — but we do have the technical specifications of Fraunhofer’s previous VLC system, which the 3Gbps system is based on. The previous VLC system was capable of transmitting up to 500Mbps over four meters (13 feet), or 120Mbps over 20 meters (67 feet). Rather than actually using a standard LED bulb, Fraunhofer’s VLC system is a black box, with an LED and photodetector on the front, and an Ethernet jack on the back to connect it to the rest of the network. In this system, the hardware only allowed for 30MHz of bandwidth to be used, limiting the total throughput.

To reach 3Gbps, the HHI researchers have found a way of squeezing 180MHz of bandwidth out of the LEDs — and instead of using just one LED, they now use three different colors. It is not clear whether this new technique has a higher or lower range than the previous, but it is likely the same. In real-world testing at a trade fair, with less-than-optimal atmospheric conditions, 3Gbps becomes 500Mbps — still pretty darn fast.

Visible light communication has a slew of advantages. In essence, LiFi can turn any LED lamp into a network connection. LiFi, by virtue of operating at such high frequencies (hundreds of terahertz), is well beyond the sticky tentacles of the wireless spectrum crunch and regulatory licensing. For the same reason, LiFi can be used in areas where there’s extensive RF noise (conventions, trade fairs), or where RF noise is generally prohibited (hospitals, airplanes). The Fraunhofer researchers even claim that VLC improves privacy, because your signal can be easily obscured from prying eyes with opaque materials — but as you can imagine, that’s also a tick in the “con” column as well.

smartphone-iphone-touched-by-god
Moving forward, we’re still waiting for the first commercial LiFi LED bulbs and LiFi-equipped laptops/smartphones to come to market. There are a few startups that are making headway, and numerous research groups, but no one seems to have a definitive roadmap for commercial products. With so many possible uses, from street lamp-to-car communications through to ultra-fast short-range communications, and the growing maturity of LED lighting, it’s really just a matter of time until LiFi becomes a reality.

06 Jan 2016

Acuity embeds indoor location technology into retail luminaires

Lighting vendor Acuity Brands said it has built GPS-like indoor mapping and positioning services into LED luminaires for the retail industry, a move that allows stores to guide and track onsite customers around the aisles and ping them with promotions, discounts, loyalty incentives and product information.

The Atlanta-based company is using visible light communication (VLC) and Bluetooth technology it acquired when it purchased patents and other intellectual property in April from ByteLight, a lighting-based indoor location specialist.

Acuity

Atlanta-based Acuity said the capability supports a lighting-as-as-a-service business model, in which retailers would store LED-linked customer data in the computing cloud.
“Our LED luminaires enabled with ByteLight technology deliver a superior indoor positioning solution that allows retailers to engage digitally with their customers anywhere in the store,” said Steve Lydecker, Acuity’s senior vice president of applied integrated solutions. “This new capability gives the retailers the potential for increased revenue and shopper loyalty.”
Lighting-based indoor positioning systems could become the greatest thing in retail technology since the barcode. Such indoor location services allow retailers to keep close tabs on a customer’s shopping patterns and interests, to extend the digital shopping experience to the brick-and-mortar world, and to engage the shopper through various means.
For instance, a shopper who has written a shopping list at home on an app would upon walking into a store receive a map on his or her smartphone showing where all the products are located. Smart ceiling lights would recognize the shopper when she’s next to a specific product under a particular light and offer a discount. The same system could reward her with a free cup of coffee during their visit.
It also supports product tracking, enabling retailers to keep better track of inventory and to know when to replenish shelves.
US retailer Target is experimenting with lighting-based indoor location systems at around 100 stores, as reported by our sister publication Lux Review. It has not identified its technology supplier. It is believed to be sampling both VLC and Bluetooth. France’s Carrefour, one of the world’s largest retailers, is trialing a VLC system from Philips at a store in Lille, France.
GE has said that it is trialing lighting-based indoor location technology with two retailers in Europe and two in the US, although it has declined to identify them. One is thought to be ASDA, the UK arm of American retail giant Wal-Mart Stores.
GE has worked with ByteLight on some of its VLC trials. It is not clear how the acquisition of ByteLight intellectual property by GE smart lighting rival Acuity might affect the GE trials, or vice versa. Acuity has also been tapping VLC technology from Qualcomm.
VLC makes use of an LED’s natural flicker (imperceptible to the human eye) by embedding product information in the wavelength modulation at the root of the flicker. A smartphone’s camera picks up the modulation and sends the information to the shopper’s app.
Another smart lighting vendor, Gooee, has so far avoided VLC for its indoor positioning offering. Gooee provides a “Gooee Inside” engine for luminaire makers to embed. While VLC can provide more pinpoint accuracy than can Bluetooth beacons in identifying a product’s location, Gooee notes that a user must keep his or her phone constantly pointing up toward the ceiling lights so that the camera lens has line of sight. By comparison, smartphones have dedicated, embedded Bluetooth chips that can receive signals as long as they’re near the Bluetooth beacon but not necessarily in its sight.
Acuity said it is offering indoor positioning in luminaires and drivers including its:

  • Traditional recessed grid volumetric architectural luminaire
  • High-efficiency recessed grid open louvered solution
  • Open ceiling suspended retail aisle performance luminaire
  • ECOdrive LED drivers from eldoLED

For the indoor location services industry to take off in a big way, the smart lighting industry will have to prove that they are safe from hackers and that they protect end user privacy.

06 Jan 2016

British LED specialist teams with IBM Watson for IoT

The dance of partners getting together from the digital lighting industry and the information technology world is getting livelier all the time. The latest example: British LED specialist PhotonStar has spun its relationship with IBM into a full-fledged Internet of Things (IoT) collaboration.

PhotonStar said it demonstrated its Halcyon intelligent lighting technology working with IBM’s Watson IoT Cloud system, at IBM’s new global Watson IoT headquarters in Munich (pictured).

The Highlight Towers at Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 6 in Munich, Germany will serve as the global headquarters for IBM’s new Watson IoT unit, as well as the company’s first European Watson innovation super center. The center represents IBM’s largest investment in Europe in more than two decades. (Photo copyright: Rainer Viertlböck for IBM, sourced from Flickr.)
Watson is IBM’s business unit that sells cloud computing and Big Data services using the company’s Watson supercomputer. The computer is renowned for having beaten former Jeopardy! champions on the US television game show. IBM is harnessing it to the IoT — including to data-gathering networked LED lights — to help businesses decipher mountains of information from disparate sources and make quick and intelligent decisions, a process sometimes referred to as cognitive computing.
In March IBM said it would invest $3 billion in a new IoT division over the next four years.
PhotonStar’s Halcyon includes software and hardware geared around data collection, circadian rhythm support, and energy-saving applications. The Romsey, UK-based company had teamed with IBM nearly a year ago around IBM’s Bluemix cloud computing service, and has now stepped up the partnership to specifically support the IoT.
“The power of the IBM Watson IoT team and cognitive computing will better equip our business to uncover opportunity and find new avenues of growth,” said PhotonStar CEO James McKenzie. “We will also be better positioned to fulfill client requirements for innovative, end- to-end solutions for the commercial built environment as part of the IBM Partner ecosystem.”
In addition to demonstrating Halcyon at Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, PhotonStar has integrated it into IBM’s mobile and IoT lab at IBM’s Hursley laboratory in Hampshire, UK, where IBM hosts clients interested in deploying IoT and cloud computing services.
PhotonStar also joined IBM’s PartnerWorld program under which PhotonStar and IBM will jointly develop IoT products and services.
IBM Internet of Things vice president Bret Greenstein said the combination of the IoT and smart lighting “ has tremendous opportunity for innovation, especially in the area of buildings retrofit,” adding that it “offers up a whole new world of IoT use cases and possibilities.”
The PhotonStar IBM hookup comes soon after lighting giant Philips linked arms with IT stalwart Cisco to offer IoT and Power over Ethernet (PoE) services. Likewise, small LED specialists such as Carlsbad, CA-based NuLEDs have worked with Cisco to install PoE and data-centric lighting at schools and offices. Gooee, a lighting-focused IT startup, has begun licensing technology to different LED lamp and luminaire manufacturers. Many LED lamp makers have also tied their wares into Google’s Nest home automation product.
The gyration of lighting and IT companies has also featured changing partners. For instance, lighting powerhouse GE recently hired away IBM Watson vice president of solutions Jeff Gordon and named him chief digital officer of Current, GE’s data-oriented energy division that includes LED lighting.

06 Jan 2016

Plessey announces silicon-LED case study, die, and filaments

GaN-on-Si specialist retrofits its Plymouth manufacturing facility with light engines based on its LEDs while also announcing new LED die products and filaments for retro-styled SSL lamps

Plessey has announced that it has retrofitted its LED manufacturing facility in Plymouth, England using modular light engines that integrate the company’s gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) LEDs. The company also recently announced a new group of blue-pump LEDs that deliver wall plug efficiency of 60%. And Plessey is using its GaN-on-Si LEDs to deliver filament components that solid-state lighting (SSL) manufacturers can use to develop lamps with a classic look with multiple filaments.

Plessey has long been an advocate of GaN-on-Si technology as a way to lower LED component cost through the cheaper silicon substrate, relative to sapphire or silicon carbide, and the use of depreciated silicon IC fabs for the back end of the manufacturing process. The company first shipped its GaN-on-Si Magic (Manufactured on GaN-on-Si I/C) LEDs in early 2013, when output levels weren’t really capable of supporting general lighting applications, but the company more than doubled performance in 2013 and has continued to make improvements. Still, neither Plessey, nor any other GaN-on-Si manufacturer, has matched legacy LED performance and few such LEDs have found use in actual applications.

Clearly, Plessey is intent on showing the SSL community that its LEDs are ready for general lighting applications. The company developed its own modular light engines that it is using to retrofit a variety of linear- and compact-fluorescent lighting fixtures in its manufacturing facility. “With recent process enhancements, our LED modules create efficiencies well above existing lighting technologies,” said Mike Snaith, operation director at Plessey. “We have not only developed an efficient fixture, but have developed cost-effective ways to implement the retrofits, which is key in the return-on-investment calculation. Generally, all lamps on site are replaced annually. Fluorescent lamps, due to their mercury content, cannot just be thrown in the bin and have to be processed by a special waste facility. Therefore, they also present a toxic hazard when carrying out maintenance should a lamp break.”
The company is in the process of replacing 4200 fluorescent lamps that consume 1,000,000 kWh of electricity annually. The company said it took 200 man hours per year to maintain the legacy lighting. The retrofit is projected to save 25% to 40% on energy consumption in addition to maintenance savings.
It’s not clear whether Plessey will sell the modules commercially, although many LED makers are in the module business these days. A comment from a company executive would indicate that possibility. “The LED retrofit kits offer the facilities engineers and installation contractors a cost-effective, quick, and easy method to take advantage of the new technology,” said Thomas Abbott, Plessey’s senior facilities engineer. “Another benefit is the dramatically reduced power consumption. It only takes between 5-10 minutes to retrofit a fixture, and as a result, the emergency light fixtures now require less or smaller battery backup, meaning increased cost savings as well as reduced frequency for maintenance.”
LED emitters
At the component level, Plessey announced its second generation of blue LEDs intended for white-light applications with the addition of phosphor. The company first launched blue-pump LEDs in mid-2013 with components that could be driven at 1A. The new family includes products rated for as much as 3A of drive current.
“We have developed a wide range of LED die for a number of applications and our GaN-on-silicon technology works particularly well in higher-power applications such as high bay, street lights, projector lamps, spot lamps, and floodlighting,” said Keith Strickland, Plessey CTO. “This current process technology will become the base for our application-specific LEDs, the ASLED, which bridges the gap between LED component suppliers, solid state lighting fixture designers, and the OEMs.”
Décor lamps
The other recent Plessey announcement centered on 1×48-mm filaments that consist of a string of LEDs connected in series. The filaments are intended for use in the increasingly popular lamps that include a number of filaments that mimic incandescent lamps styled like antique lamps or what Plessey calls Décor lamps. The filaments deliver 50 lm from 18 mA and have a forward voltage of 76V.
“We have taken our existing chip-scale-packaging technology, also used for our dotLEDs, into a revised format for the filament,” said Strickland. “Not only do we have an improvement in terms of manufacturability with GaN-on-silicon and enhanced the power control for filament resistors, but Plessey will also be incorporating other active and passive electronic components for chip-on-board and chip-scale-packaging solutions in the next generation of filaments.”
The company said it will ship samples of the filaments in September. Production volumes are due in October.