The Bright Side to Energy Conservation

  • February 21, 2011
  • Case Study

February 21, 2011 - By now, we’re all ingrained with the growing calls for huge improvements in energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption in every imaginable area. Today, approximately 15% of all electricity generated in North America is consumed by the indoor lighting systems of commercial, industrial and institutional facilities. Fifth Light Technology Ltd. based in Oakville, Ontario (Toronto area) has demonstrated that effective lighting management can save a significant portion of this energy while yielding an attractive return on investment (ROI). In addition to energy conservation, Fifth Light solutions simplify facility management, consolidate multiple facilities to a single point of control and allow thousands of users to simultaneously access the lights in their areas through their preferred IP device, such as a VOIP telephone or an iPhone. Fifth Light is a leading developer of centrally-managed, dimmable lighting systems for the commercial lighting market in North America. Fifth Light’s vision is to stay on the leading edge of automation and control to ensure that intelligent lighting is made affordable for all types of lighting fixtures. The basic philosophy is to deliver the desired amount of light, when and where needed, after taking full advantage of ambient light conditions and factoring in the prevailing cost of electricity and user preferences. A Fifth Light solution links thousands of individually addressable and dimmable light fixtures together over an open protocol communication network and provides access to thousands of building occupants through their preferred web device. Fifth Light offers a variety of energy saving lighting devices and a complete control system. The product offering is compliant with the open lighting communication protocol known as the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, (DALI) and includes a line of dimmable ballasts, relays and a suite of web-based software applications. Only Fifth Light ballasts maintain the power factor above 0.95 and the total harmonic distortion below 10% at every dimming level. Fifth Light ballasts are capable of switching lamps on and off 200,000 times without causing deterioration to the lamps. Extending lamp life not only reduces maintenance costs, but also reduces the amount of waste entering landfills each year. The Fifth Light software platform is the only multi-user building automation system that allows simultaneous user access and operates based on user profiles stored in a database. Fifth Light has also developed a powerful set of deployment tools that simplify the installation and commissioning process. Fifth Light employs advanced energy savings strategies such as photo sensor-based daylight harvesting, user-based scheduling, ballast factor tuning and motion sensor based occupancy detection. Fifth Light has pioneered several facility management features including automatic tube fault detection and email dispatch, multi-building consolidation and intelligent software integration with the file format used by architects and engineers to design buildings (DXF). Fifth Light solutions are designed for total building integration and often communicate with HVAC, security and audio visual systems. It’s finally easy being green Using web devices such as a Cisco VOIP telephone, BlackBerry or an iPhone, Fifth Light provides simultaneous access to thousands of users so they can easily adjust light levels anywhere an Internet connection is available. “It’s never been easier or more convenient to save energy and improve lighting quality. Lighting technology has finally met Internet technology,” said Ray Dableh, Director of Research and Development. To help facilitate this connected lighting automation system, Fifth Light utilizes hardware from Beckhoff Automation. “We wanted to standardize the design of our lighting control panels on a reliable control platform that supports a variety of I/O systems and Beckhoff Automation proved to be the ideal supplier,” Dableh said. “We have been using Beckhoff in the field for more than three years in approximately 30 major installations across North America.” This system includes compact Beckhoff C6930 Industrial PCs (IPCs) with Intel Core2 Duo processors, a CP6608 Ethernet Control Panel – customized with the Fifth Light logo and equipped with a 533 MHz Intel IXP420 processor with XScale technology – and TwinCAT PLC software. Fifth Light also utilizes Beckhoff Bus Terminal I/O networked using a variety of Beckhoff BK9000 Ethernet TCP/IP Bus Couplers, KL6811 DALI master terminals for integration of lighting-specific devices and KL6581 EnOcean master terminals for wireless, battery-less building automation devices such as switches and sensors. Fifth Light is not only meeting DALI and EnOcean requirements with Beckhoff I/O, but also covers an assortment of digital and analog signals, power measurement and other communication interfaces. “Perhaps the most compelling contribution of the Beckhoff platform has been expediting development time for Fifth Light,” Dableh said. “The modular architecture of the Bus Terminal I/O allows Fifth Light to support a wide range of lighting equipment and other devices without having to develop custom hardware in-house. Our team simply has to select the appropriate interface terminal and write the software application to meet a customer’s specific requirements.” Due to the Ethernet connectivity of the Beckhoff solution, Fifth Light is able to get thousands of data points back to a central location for processing in a very short time. This permits rapid system response to sensors and other user inputs while allowing for centralized processing of all data. “This is critical when trying to centrally manage tens of thousands of sensors and end devices; managing traffic would otherwise become a nightmare,” Dableh noted. “We need to guarantee rapid response times and with the help of Beckhoff real-time Ethernet communication, we get the data we need within 1 millisecond (ms). Beckhoff sales and technical support has been on time, accurate and professional while providing exceptional communication. This helped accelerate our growth and simplify the deployment of very large and complex systems. Fifth Light will exclusively use the flexible and modular Beckhoff hardware on all systems implemented in the foreseeable future,” he added. Great for the environment, even better for business The savings for users of Fifth Light systems with Beckhoff technology are immediately apparent. “Lighting energy savings can be as high as 80% in certain buildings that implement our solution,” Dableh estimated. “Even in the most energy-efficient buildings, 30 – 40% savings are possible, no matter the type of light fixtures used, whether they are T8 or T5. Savings are achieved through intelligent control and a dynamic operating profile.” Fifth Light tracks savings through a detailed software-based calculation or with an integrated revenue grade electrical metering system. “ROI on Fifth Light systems with Beckhoff PC-based control and I/O can range from 1 – 5 years depending on the application, size of the building(s) and the way the lighting systems were designed previously,” Dableh stated. “The total life cycle cost of the Fifth Light lighting system over 10 years is less than a third of conventional lighting systems.” While saving money on the electrical bill is a no-brainer business case, reducing greenhouse gases is also increasingly important to property owners. Carbon credits are now a legitimate hot commodity since they can be traded and purchased from the most energy competitive buildings. There are also great benefits for architects and property owners when their buildings receive LEED Green Building Rating System certifications. Fifth Light systems track carbon reduction and raise the LEED rating by at least one level following implementation. If a building is LEED silver certified, for example, installing a Fifth Light system can ensure that the building will receive a LEED gold rating after implementation. Depending on the city the building is located in, companies can also participate in Demand Response programs where large consumers of electricity are paid by the utility company for shedding load during times of peak demand. “The considerable financial and environmental benefits of Fifth Light systems with Beckhoff technology allow smart buildings to become part of the world energy solution,” Dableh concluded.

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