Monday, 23 February 2015

'Largest Street Lighting Upgrade' Signed by Philips

The Spanish capital city of Madrid is having its entire street lighting system replaced by Philips, a total of nearly a quarter of a million luminaries are to be upgraded. 
Lighting up Madrid
Lighting up Madrid

Since Philips announced their split in late 2014 their lighting division's annual sales have fallen by 3% to a mere $6.9 billion for the last year. CEO Frans van Houten has commented to investors that the North American division's performance was 'unsatisfactory' and because of this he has appointed Amy Huntington as the new head of North America's lighting business. He also commented that China's sales had also dropped due to deteriorating market conditions. This is different to the wider divisions performance which has continued to grow rapidly due to selling of LED-based solid-state lighting products in addition to a contract to replace the entire street lighting system of Madrid.

Philips is also planning to sell the automotive lighting unit in addition to Lumileds, the LED chip making branch. Lumileds commented that, 'The company is in discussion with external investors for the combined Lumileds and automotive lighting businesses and expects to complete translation in the first half of 2015.'
These two divisions composed of 8300 employees have delivered sales of $1.4 billion.

Madrid project

Philips has estimated that the market for high-power LEDs will grow at an annual growth rate of 17-21% up to 2018, whilst the growth of the the overall lighting market is estimated to be 3-5%. The lighting industry is rapidly transforming from inefficient products to highly efficient goods and now demands extreme innovation.

The CEO has claimed that Philips is outlaying over 30% more than its closest competitor in research and development to set a higher pace of technological advancement. Van Houten expects that the emerging market of data-enabled lighting systems will expand the overall market by roughly $1 billion in the next few years.

Whilst all this is going on, Philips have undertaken a monumental project to replace street lighting in Spain, Van Houten commented that, 'We signed a contract to provide the city of Madrid with what is the world's largest street lighting upgrade to date, involving the replacement of 225,000 luminaries.' He also commented that the new system would create a saving of 40% in energy which would mean the installation cost would be paid back almost instantly and mean no extra cost to Madrid's citizens.

The new system is said to feature an 'integrated command centre' which means that the entirety of the street lighting system could be controlled by a single control point.
Another project that is set for the future will see the distribution of 1.5 million Philips LED lamps in India to over a million households. This should cut lighting energy consumption by 80% and would save 80 MW in electricity generation.
With these projects Philips lighting is looking to have a prosperous year ahead but 2015 will present challenges due to the $400 million in costs due to the split and reconstruction of the company.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Is The Light Switch Becoming Extinct?

The LED lamp has got a pretty certain future but with the way that technology is changing so rapidly, how much longer will the humble light switch last? 
Lux Magazine's James Holloway has looked into what the future holds for Light Switches and proposes five things that could replace the switch

1. Gestures
The idea behind gesture controlled lighting is pretty simple. Why have to always travel to the light switch to turn a light not when you could wave at it from the comfort of your seat. As a matter of fact, the technology already exists to make gestured lighting controls. An example already being produced is Ubiquilux's 'e-Motion', in which you wave up and down to turn a light on or off, but also you can wave side to side to adjust brightness. 
One reason to change to this type of switch is purely due to cleanliness, with less physical contact with a switch, germs won't be passed on as easily, extremely useful in hospitals. What is unsure is how close you would need to be for your gesture to turn the light on, if you need to be very close, whats the point? You may as well have a switch! if further away, surely your normal movements could be confused for a light switching gesture. 

2. Voice Control
Our phones, computers and tvs can now all be controlled by our voice so why not our lighting? 'Vocca' is a new voice activated light bulb adaptor which simply screws in between your lamp and its housing. It can work with any lamp and adds on a minuscule 0.25W of power. Finding it hard to see the downside? Imagine someone listening in on your private conversations, scary. 

3.Presence Detection
Motion detection is getting on a bit now but the problem with it is, if you're sat reading a book in the comfort of your own home, you're likely to be sitting still, and the problem with sitting still and lights powered by motion detectors is that they will turn off. 'Zulu' is a new product that aims to tackle this issue, it is a wireless power adaptor that connects to your phone via bluetooth. This detects your presence inside your home and in certain rooms, it doesn't matter whether you are moving or sitting perfectly still, the light will stay on as long as you are in the room. No more standing up and waving erratically when you get plunged into darkness mid sentence. 

 4. Apps
We are all pretty familiar with the Philips Hue, an app which allows you to control your lighting from your tablet or smartphone through bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Not only can you control whether your light is on or off, you can dim your lighting or even chose your favourite colour to light the room. Although we automatically reach for our phone for practically everything we do, is digging your phone out and finding the correct app really much easier than just flicking a switch? 

5. Smart Home Hubs
Smart homes are the most smart when all systems can communicate with each other. A way to do this is to put a smart thermostat in your home. Google's 'Nest' is the ideal smart home hub as it can do more than just control your lighting, combined with a smart alarm system, you could set your lights to turn on at a particular level when your alarm system is activated and you are not at home. Other systems can make your lights flash when carbon monoxide levels are too high. Very clever but the technology still needs to improve to learn people's preferences

Is the noble light switch facing extinction after all?
All of the new technologies above are extremely innovative and we can't see any reason why they could not become part or our everyday lives. However, as impressing as they all are, it is more likely that they will enhance the light switch rather than supersede it. Although, this point of view may not last for ever. We are always looking for a simpler way to do things and our expectations of technology are getting higher and higher. Maybe light switches will become extinct sooner than we expect. 

Article adapted for this blog from Lux Magazine article 'Five things that could replace the light switch.' 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Demand Side Energy Benefits Are (almost) Invisible to UK Government.

(image courtesy of ADE website)
A report carried out by the ADE (Association for Decentralised Energy) has shown that the UK is saving billions of pounds per year due to the invisible benefits of reduced energy demand. Over the last thirty years we are doing a lot more but with a lot less. 

The ADE represents the heat and power industry and claims that producing energy locally and using it more efficiently saves consumers over £37 billion per year compared with 1980. 
The report looked at local energy generation and energy saving schemes such as LED lighting switchovers, such actions have helped the UK to avoid building 14 new power stations, which equals the same as the country's current power generating capacity. 
The ADE stated in its report that 'invisible' benefits are often discounted as policymakers are focusing on energy supply rather than demand.It continues to say that it is easier for politicians to make big changes and evaluate on a bigger scale rather than looking into the finer detail of demand changes taking place across the country. 
 Lighting industry figures have come to similar conclusions of the government's approach to energy, promoting that more time and attention needs to be put into reducing demand, rather than boosting capacity and moving to renewable energy sources.
Last year Lux Magazine developed its own ideas of how capacity could be reduced if low-energy lighting was more widely used.
The ADE wants energy demand to be put in the spotlight as the focal point of future policy making. Director, Tim Rotheray said, ' Actions on the demand side have helped keep Britain's lights on, making the UK a better place to do business by keeping energy supplies consistent and reliable… Despite these considerable achievements, new energy policy often repeats the same patterns, taking a centralised approach to solving the energy challenge and overlooking the substantial contribution that users and individual actions can make.
‘With a clear, simple policy approach that values these smaller contributions, demand-side services can help consumers do even more to cut waste, improve competitiveness and reduce emissions. By 2020, we could save consumers a further £5.6 billion and make the UK a more attractive place to do business.
‘Adopting the right policy could mean that by 2020 we could save enough power to run the London Underground for 30 years, equivalent to 45 TWh (45 billion units). Further reduction in energy demand will make the UK more secure and enable greater energy independence.’

For more information on the ADE's report, click here.

Led lighting switchovers are an excellent way to reduce the demand for energy, please go to our website The LED Specialist and start making your home more energy efficient, 

Help reduce energy demand!