Thinking Smart About Energy

Last week, the Washington Post brought together businessmen and women, government officials, lobbyists and advocates from across the country to discuss the future of energy consumption. The conversations ranged from automobiles to government regulations to business opportunities and covered everything in between. The Washington Post published several excerpts from the Smart Energy conference. My two favorite quotes are below:

You may want a more brilliant world; it doesn’t mean we need to consume more power to do it. If we do it smartly, we can actually consume a bit less and live a life that everyone likes regardless of what their taste is.  – Fred Maxik, Founder and CTO of Lighting Science Group

Maxik then went on to discuss microprocessors inside light bulbs that will communicate with you in terms of dimming and color control.  He explained that lighting is undergoing an amazing transition. “It could be a light bulb that’s just so smart that it detects sunlight coming through the window [and] starts dimming until you get the light that you desire,” he said. (more…)

Read More

Smart Lighting: 2011’s New Technology?

A recent article on the innovation blog GreenBeat discussed the rise of the “building energy management market.”  In other words, 2011 may be the year for smart buildings.  This type of technology involves software that automatically detects environmental factors and building characteristics in order to regulate energy usage for efficiency.   

It’s certainly an area with potential: One EPA report found that 30 percent of the energy usage in commercial buildings is completely wasted.  And lighting makes up a large percentage of energy use in a commercial building – 25.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

Smart lighting will mean buildings are programmed to automatically dim or shut off lights if the building is not in use, or if the amount of natural sunlight streaming through windows calls for lower artificial light levels.

The technology is expected to take off in commercial buildings because it offers extremely high return on investment.  Digital Lumens and Lumenergi, two lighting systems companies, claim investing in an LED smart lighting project will result in savings of 50% on electricity bills. 

The DOE predicts LED lighting alone will result in billions of dollars in national energy savings and a massive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years.

Read More