Commercial Lighting 2014 Trends and “5 smart trends to watch in commercial lighting”. The rise of LED technology will transform every part of the commercial lighting industry,” said Jesse Foote, an analyst at Navigant. “While other lighting technologies have limited potential for future improvements, new designs for LEDs that push quality and efficacy to new levels continue to emerge from lighting labs around the world.”

LEDs aren’t the only story in lighting, of course, but they are laying the groundwork for innovations that could have a direct impact on your sustainable business agenda. Here are five related trends we’re watching.

1. More lights get smarter, laying the foundation for more Internet of Things applications

The LED migration is, in turn, stimulating a huge increase in the installation of intelligent lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, photosensors and wireless networks that link them.

Sales of these technologies will more than double between 2013 and 2020, reaching $2.7 billion annually by the end of the forecast period, predicts Navigant Research. “The market for lighting controls in commercial buildings has expanded and transformed dramatically in recent years, as creative ways to visualize lighting usage and new strategies to manage lighting energy consumption proliferate,” Foote said.

Just one player in this market, Digital Lumens, has more than 100 million square feet of smart lights installed.

Just as important, these networks are creating a communications network for other efficiency applications. One example involves climate change: Occupancy sensors can be coordinated for heating and cooling profiles. They also could be a valuable complement to security systems and policies.

2. Viable energy-efficient options to fluorescent tubes emerge

One lighting format notably slow to migrate to LED technology has been fluorescent tube lighting, mainly due to cost factors. But the replacement market across stores, offices, warehouses and so on will get more attention this year, thanks to new technologies from the likes of Philips.Commercial Lighting 2014 Trends

This quarter, Philips will ship InstantFit LED T8, its LED tube lamp offering. The company’s pitch is that these lamps provide a “click to fit” retrofit option for linear fluorescent bulbs. (Many previous offerings have required a rewiring of the ballast.) It estimates a savings of more than 40 percent in energy consumption, with a payback in less than three years.

“Using the new LED tube does not need any special operation,” said Mariano Herranz, maintenance technician at Gas Natural Fenosa, a utility that has been using the bulbs. “You just substitute the old tube for a new LED one.”

According to Philips, the installed base for linear fluorescents is about 12 billion lamp sockets. Put another way, it figures that more than $50 billion in electricity could be saved through LED replacements, which equates to the amount of energy generated by 210 midsize power planets.

3. Solar-powered streetlights expand off-grid solutions

While it’s probably difficult to justify taking existing streetlights off the grid by using solar power or other renewable sources, it makes all sorts of sense to consider this option for new apartment buildings, roadways and buildings. Manufacturers including Clear Blue and Sol Lighting are stepping up to oblige.

So far, Sol Lighting has deployed more than 60,000 systems in more than 60 countries — that’s roughly 10 megawatts of capacity. One example comes from Richmond, Va., where the city saved more than $600,000 in installation costs for more than 20 commercial grid-tied lights in a housing development project. (That’s about half of what it would have cost to lay the wiring for grid-tied alternatives.) The systems have an estimated lifespan of 30 years, and have back-up batteries that can keep them running for up to five nights without being recharged by the sun.

“As much as we are a solar lighting business, we are also a wireless company and this is what people see first,” said Dibs Tailor, president and CEO of Sol Lighting.

While no one really has sized the solar outdoor lighting market, the overall commercial outdoor lighting market is estimated at $11 billion. “By carefully integrating cutting-edge photovoltaic, LED and battery storage technologies into high-quality outdoor lighting products, we have made solar lighting very cost-effective and even more reliable,” Tailor said.

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