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Connected Lighting - LED Technology

Connected Lighting: The Second Wave of LED Lighting Technology

For the past several years, building owners and managers who have converted to using LED lights have experienced the first wave of benefits provided by LED Lighting – energy savings. A well designed LED retrofit or tenant improvement project can cut energy consumption by 50% or more, reducing operating costs and improving net operating income.

The transformation from fluorescent or HID lighting to LED lighting can be viewed as a shift from analog to digital technology. The last significant device that shifted from analog to digital technology was the cell phone. Remember life before smartphones? Just 10 years ago, few of us imagined the breadth of applications that smartphones provide us daily. Today, few of us can imagine the breadth of applications that digital light fixtures will provide us in commercial buildings.

The second wave of benefits from LED lighting is approaching. This new technology, known as “Connected Lighting,” promises to provide building owners and managers the capability of controlling and tracking data, analytics, security, ambiance, and energy savings in their buildings.

Connected Lighting is a technology in which lighting fixtures are connected to an intelligence system that can communicate with other smart devices within a building, including smartphones and intelligent sensory devices. Connected Lighting holds the promise of truly smart buildings, and with that, an array of applications that will change the way we work and the way we operate and manage a building.

At Monterey Lighting Solutions, we are already seeing the first set of applications emerge based upon connected lighting. These include:

  • Space Planning: Utilizing smart Bluetooth beacons embedded in the light fixtures, the light fixtures can monitor and track the movement of people throughout a building. Analytics are then applied to determine how often rooms are used, the average number of occupants in a space and the length of time they are there. This information is very useful for corporate real estate executives for planning purposes, and also for building owners to understand which tenants may need more or less space.
  • Space Utilization – Again, using smart beacons within the light fixtures, real time information can be provided to users to determine open conference rooms or work spaces. The real time information is key because traditional room scheduling applications cannot determine when a meeting is cancelled, ends early or runs late.
  • Security – Geo-fencing systems can be created to identify when someone enters an area where they should not be. Because light fixtures are everywhere, there is an increased ability to monitor secure areas above and beyond what security cameras may provide.
  • Safety – In the event of an emergency, a connected lighting system can provide precise location information for every occupant in a building. The system can also be used to push alerts or instructions and provide turn-by-turn guidance (indoor GPS) for safe exit.  
  • Occupant Comfort – A smart connected lighting system can understand individual user preferences for workspace, light levels and temperature settings.  In a collaborative work environment, the system can identify which of their preferred workspaces is open. Once they arrive, light levels and temperature can automatically be adjusted to their preferred levels.

The second wave of LED technology, Connected Lighting, is on the horizon and coming towards us quickly. At Monterey Lighting Solutions, we encourage our customers to begin to look beyond energy savings or code compliance when upgrading their existing lighting to LED. This means not just when retrofitting a space, but also when performing tenant improvements. Many products on the market today already include the advanced communication technology that is required for Connected Lighting.  The cost differential is minimal.  The LED fixtures that you install in your building are likely to be there for 10 or more years. We believe our clients are well advised to understand the next wave of technology, and wherever possible, lay the proper technology foundation for advanced smart building applications.

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Lighting Control Systems - Building-wide Standard

Lighting Control Systems: The Importance of Setting a Building-wide Standard

For many building owners and managers, the decision on the lighting control systems used in tenant improvement projects has been left to the tenants. However, in the past few years, Title 24 regulations requiring continuous dimming, daylighting, plug load control and demand response have increased the cost and complexity of lighting control systems in commercial office space. The increase in complexity has led some owners and managers to begin to enforce building-wide standards.

Prior to Title 24 2014, lighting control systems were relatively simple. Therefore, the lack of standards had minimal impact on the operation of a building.  Today things are different. Controls systems have become much more advanced. Most control systems involve wired or wireless networking, and often include a software platform for configuration and management. Without an established standard, facilities managers and engineers are faced with an increasingly difficult challenge of supporting various control systems. A lack of a standard also prohibits the ability for advanced efficiency measures through building-wide control.

Increasingly, we are seeing a trend in which lighting controls systems are being considered as part of the building infrastructure, and in turn, building-wide standards are being set.

Establishing a standard for a fully networked lighting control backbone in commercial office space has the following advantages:

  • Simplifies ongoing maintenance and control of the space
  • Increases tenant satisfaction
  • Decreases energy costs
  • Optimizes efficiencies by tightly integrating lighting and HVAC controls Tracks each tenant’s energy consumption
Next Steps:

Lighting control systems from the leading manufacturers such as Acuity, Eaton, Philips, Lutron, Wattstopper, GE and OSRAM are advancing at a rapid pace. Each product has its own strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating which system is best suited for your building can be a complex task. Owners and managers are well advised to seek assistance from a neutral third party that is educated on the various lighting control platforms. The sooner the standards are set, the faster the benefits will begin to accrue.

For additional information on establishing standards for lighting controls, contact us at or email

*This article was originally published by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association).

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GE Evolve LED scalable area light

GE awarded for its Evolve LED scalable area light

GE has been recognized as one of the top commercial lighting manufacturers and suppliers by Building Operating Management.

The company was given the 2014 Top Products Award for its Evolve LED scalable area light. GE’s selection for the top products category was based on a survey of building and facility executives, and the publication’s readers were responsible for selecting the winners. The Evolve LED scalable area light surpassed the popularity of 464 other products to earn the award.

GE’s commercial LED lighting product was designed for malls, commercial properties, retailer locations, auto dealerships and a wide range of other outdoor settings. With a high lumen output and two color temperature options, the Evolve LED scalable area light is an adaptable lighting solution. It also has a 50,000-hour rated service time and offers a 30 percent reduction in energy usage compared to traditional high intensity discharge lamps used in similar applications.

In addition to this most recent recognition, GE was given the LightTrades award in 2013, an honor that recognized the top 10 lighting products launched last year.

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New commercial lighting products Wattstopper and Soraa

New commercial lighting products from Wattstopper and Soraa

Both Soraa and Wattstopper have introduced new lighting products to improve energy maintenance. These cutting-edge manufacturers produce high-quality devices that can create higher quality lighting while lowering electrical costs.

Soraa to light up EuroShop
At the 2014 EuroShop event, Soraa will unveil its new AR111 lamp. As the first-ever full-visible-spectrum LED AR111, the lamps boast exceptional light quality and the manufacturer’s trademarked gallium nitride on gallium nitride technology. This lighting solution, which has been optimized for retail settings, excels in beam uniformity and intensity as well as white and color rendering.

The lamp is scheduled to be available in June, and will have a luminous intensity of 27,500 candela in addition to 980 lumens. With these specifications, the AR111 LED lighting systems will have coloring rendering index options of 90 and 95. There will also be an 80-CRI option with luminous intensity of 34,000 Cd.

“Soraa’s lamp is a game-changer in the LED AR111 landscape,” said Nick Farraway, international senior vice president of Soraa. “With it, we bring to the market an energy-efficient AR111 lamp of exceptionally high intensity and quality of light. This year, we will expand our portfolio beyond our award-winning MR16 GU5.3 and GU10 lamps to create a full line of four inch lamps powered by our GaN on GaN LED technology.”

Advanced control from Wattstopper
Wattstopper occupancy sensor devices are widely known as some of the top lighting control products on the market. The manufacturer has expanded its industry-leading portfolio with a new product line.

The radio frequency products were crafted for simple, code-compliant installation. Each system in the new line includes an infrared sensor with 360 degree coverage that is powered by energy-harvesting photovoltaic panels. These sensors can be used in conjunction with single or dual relay 120/277 volt RF wall switches. Additionally, users can pair the sensors with wall-mounted or self-powered handheld remotes.

These occupancy sensors were created for ease. In addition to their low-maintenance installation, they do not require low voltage wiring or a power pack. As a result, they are the perfect fit for spaces with hard ceilings, historic buildings and buildings with asbestos in the plenum.

Wattstopper’s new products can even be mounted on non-traditional surfaces such as glass due to a number of mounting options, including magnetic and adhesive surface-mounting solutions.

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Lighting Award

Cooper Lighting receives recognition for Halo products

Cooper Lighting has been named the Brand Leader in lighting by Builder magazine for the 16th consecutive year for its Halo line of commercial lighting products. The manufacturer took the top spot in multiple categories, including brands used most and brand familiarity.

“This latest honor is further validation of our commitment to the development of unique products that address the changing needs of our customers,” said Cooper Lighting President Mark Eubanks.

The recognition came from Builder’s Brand Use Study, which is sponsored by Hanley Wood and conducted by Readex Research, an independent research company. The purpose of the study is to gather data on the products that builders trust and use. Additionally, the research rates the quality of those products.

Cooper Lighting’s Halo commercial lighting fixtures have been manufactured for more than 50 years. In addition to the product line’s most recent accolade, a Halo downlight became the first Energy Star-qualified LED downlight in 2009. Eubanks noted that the company is working hard to stay current with the latest energy standards and provide builders with the best lighting solutions available.

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New LED arrays from Cree

Less is more: New LED arrays from Cree

Cree has introduced three new commercial LED lighting products, the CXA High-Density LED Arrays.

Although these lights comes in a small package, they have intense point sources, with unmatched lumen density. Each of the new XLamp CXA products – the CXA2590, CXA1850 and CXA1310 – have brightness that exceeds competing ceramic metal halide and halogen devices. The 19-millimeter CXA2590 emits 15,000 lumens. The 12-millimeter CXA1850 and 6-millimeter CXA1310 emit 9,000 and 2,000 lumens, respectively.

“The high-density LED arrays from Cree are extremely impressive,” said Intense Lighting President Kenny Eidsvold. “We are looking forward to using these products in applications requiring very-high-center-beam candlepower that previously could not be achieved with LED-based solutions.”

These low voltage LED lighting products can be purchased with various options. Color temperatures range from 2700K to 6500K, and there are color rendering choices of 70, 80 and 95. Furthermore, these devices offer the best color consistency of any single-LED product.

Mike Wang, vice president of lighting engineering for Edison Price Lighting, Inc., stated that with Cree’s groundbreaking innovation, his own company is able to offer revolutionary products to its clients.

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Solar commercial LED lighting

Solar commercial LED lighting slotted for growth

Solar low voltage LED lighting products are expected to see more use in the commercial airport lighting market by 2016, according to a report from Research and Markets.

The Global Commercial Airport Lighting Market 2012-2016 report noted that solar LED lighting devices are among of the most suitable lamps for airports. Within this setting, they can be used for apron edge, obstruction, construction barricade and taxiway edge lighting applications in the airside areas of an airport.

“The increasing penetration and adoption of solar LED lighting is a major trend emerging in the Global Commercial Airport Lighting System market,” said one analyst from the research team. “Currently, solar LED lighting systems are low-maintenance and easy-to-install lighting systems for airports.”

Not only are solar LED lamps approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, popular airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Dubai International Airport already employ these lighting solutions. Due to a larger volume of global air traffic, it is expected that more airports will make the transition. As new airports are built, a larger number of people travel by air, thereby increasing the number of planes in the air and the need for efficient commercial lighting in these settings.

Solar lighting and outdoor lighting
LED lamps already provide significant reductions to energy usage. With the addition of solar panels, they further reduce the electrical demands on airports, schools, warehouses and other facilities. As a result of their low voltage, they can get more use out the energy harvested from the sun, thereby making them a viable solution even if there are a few overcast days.

According to Forbes, there is also the advantage of not needing cabling or wiring for solar LED lighting devices – reducing the time and money needed for installation, a big advantage when trying to quickly retrofit several fixtures. Besides airside applications at airports, these green lighting solutions have already been implemented in many other roadway and outdoor area lighting applications.

Solar Novus Today reported that solar LED lighting is especially useful in remote locations that do not have dependable electricity. These lamps were installed in low income communities known as colonias in Hidalgo, Texas, a rural area on the U.S./Mexico border. To improve safety and security, lights were installed at local parks, bus stops and other areas.

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Soraa new MR16 lamps

Soraa introduces new MR16 lamps

Soraa has added new MR16 lamps to its portfolio of low voltage LED lighting products.

The devices are the first high color temperature, high color rendering MR16 lamps. Available in 4000K, 5000K and other CCT options, the Vivid 2 LED MR16, excels in rendering colors and whites the same as they would appear under natural light.

“Our full spectrum technology renders colors vividly and whites accurately; our single source LED and innovative optics create perfectly uniform beams of exceptionally high intensity light, casting clear single shadows; and our lamps are ideally suited for fully enclosed, non-ventilated fixtures – a place where other LED lamps struggle to perform,” said Soraa CEO Jeff Parker.

In addition to the advantages of Soraa’s new LED lighting systems, the products lack many of the disadvantages common to other lighting solutions, such as heat emissions from ceramic metal halide and halogen lamps as well as multiple shadows, beam striations and artifacts found in some competing LED products.

A no-compromise solution
The Vivid 2 LED MR16 is a lighting solution suited for high-end retail and gemstone jewelry displays. Unlike other high color rendering lamps, these products do not create a cold ambiance because they represent every color in the visible spectrum so that mood is not lost in exchange for light quality. As a result, these commercial LED lighting lamps offer an R9 value above 90 and CRI-95.

“And now with our 4000K and 5000K products, you can bring the energizing feel of natural light indoors without sacrificing light quality and compatibility,” Parker said.

A lamp for various needs
Soraa offers the Vivid 2 LED MR16 in a variety of configurations. They can be purchased in 12-volt and line voltage options, and there are 2700K, 3000K, 4000K and 5000K CCT variations. In addition to numerous choices for light quality, there are 10, 25, 36 and 60 degree beam angles. Furthermore, these efficient commercial lighting products are compatible with a wide array of dimming controls.

A unique brand
Soraa has carved a niche for itself with its full spectrum, gallium nitride on gallium nitride LED lamps. These products render every color of the rainbow and they excel in white rendering. In fact, in an independent study conducted at Penn State University, 90 percent of respondents preferred the white rendering capabilities of Soraa’s products.

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Philips new technology Euroshop

Philips to unveil new technology at Euroshop

At the 2014 Euroshop event – a retail trade fair scheduled Feb. 16-20 in Dusseldorf, Germany – Philips plans to introduce its new “light signatures” technology.

This innovation is designed to help retailers market their brand through the lighting in their stores. With light signatures, they can change the color of their low voltage LED lighting devices to match their brand. As a result, retailers have another means of conveying luxury, value or any of their other hallmark traits.

“In a retail setting, we see warm light lending itself to luxury shopping where the customer will spend time relaxing and browsing,” said Frank van Son of Philips lighting. “Cool light makes us feel efficient and active which is why it can be found in light signatures for value, convenience and sports stores where customers want to feel alert.”

Philips’ research in the area of specification of LED lighting systems in retail applications is also evident through the manufacturer’s scheduled showcase on the appropriate lighting for different types of food, a presentation that will also be featured at Euroshop 2014. The company will share its expertise on how tuning the color spectrum – a feature of LED lighting – can be used to highlight items in supermarkets and help them remain attractive to customers.

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utron wireless lighting controls

Lutron unveils four new wireless lighting controls

Lutron, a leading manufacturer of wireless lighting control devices, has expanded its portfolio with four new products.

The new devices were designed with dimming in mind. With these lighting controls, facilities managers and business owners can improve the flexibility and energy maintenance of their fixtures. Moreover, they are all affordable solutions, with average suggested list prices below $140.

“Lutron is committed to helping its customers adjust to the quick adoption of LEDs and all of the newest energy-saving light sources,” said Lutron Director of Product Management Gerard Darville.

Industry-leading drivers and modules
The first of the new Lutron dimmer products is the Hi-lume A-series UL-listed driver. This device is dimmable down to 1 percent and an optimal solution for cove and under-cabinet lighting. It also has simple installation and wire termination because the driver is provided on a junction box. In addition to compatibility with three-wire fluorescent controls, the Hi-lume A-series driver can be used with Lutron Ecosystem digital controls and forward phase controls. Furthermore, it has an extended product life of 50,000 hours and universal input voltage.

In addition to a new driver, the Lutron lighting control portfolio now includes the PowPak 0- to 10-volt dimming module for the Energi TriPak control system. This new product is a junction-box mounted device designed to work with 0- to 10-volt drivers, fixtures or ballasts. It is compatible with Lutron’s Radio Powr Savr sensor to add daylighting and occupancy sensing capabilities.

Innovative control switches
Lutron’s list of new products includes the Maestro Wireless C•L dimmer. This device can be paired with dimmable compact-fluorescent and screw-in LED, incandescent, halogen and magnetic low-voltage bulbs. With the touch of a button, these Lutron light switches allow for seamless, wireless control from any room.

The Nova T* 0-10 V Dimmer offers direct control of 0- to 10-volt drivers and ballasts without the need of a separate power pack. As a result, both money and time are saved. Additionally, this device lacks a visible heat sink to provide improved performance.

“These four new products will simplify the control of LEDs and provide the same quality dimming experience you would expect from all Lutron products,” Darville continued. “As LEDs continue to grow in popularity, Lutron will continue to innovate new products and solutions that offer contractors and building owners the best products and value.”