The lighting industry is undergoing drastic changes as solid-state lighting based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) is becoming more powerful, more efficient, and significantly cheaper. This is more than welcome as electrical light sources are responsible for an energy consumption of around 1/6 to 1/5 of the worldwide electricity production and therefore have a significant carbon footprint. Aside from more efficient lighting solutions, further energy savings can be realized by smart lighting control.
Most semiconductor components, including LEDs, operate on Direct Current (DC) whereas mains provides Alternating Current (AC). Connecting these components to the mains requires (integrated) AC/DC converters. The idea of migrating to DC based LED lighting infrastructures has been developed and deployed in this work, partly in the scope of a European project.
Three proofs of concepts (PoCs) have been realized at the premises of Vrije Universiteit Brussel Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus, and several more throughout Europe to evaluate the feasibility, benefits and drawbacks of DC lighting infrastructure. These systems feature straightforward lighting control based on presence and daylight sensing, as well as remote control and monitoring capabilities over the Internet Protocol via an application gateway. In the VUB student restaurant PoC, the migration from compact and linear fluorescent lighting to DC-based LED lighting resulted in a 58% energy reduction while illuminance measurements indicate improved light levels. Enabling presence and daylight based lighting control further increase the energy savings to 68% on average, with certain months yielding up to 75% savings.
Building automation is a relatively new domain with many competing communication technologies, protocols and standards that are currently in use. Furthermore, building infrastructure is a domain requiring extensive long-term support as one cannot expect these products to be replaced every few years. This makes having interoperability with legacy, competing and future systems particularly important. We believe new systems should be deployed on top the ubiquitous networking protocol that is one of the cornerstones of the fourth industrial revolution: the Internet Protocol (IP). Internet of Things (IoT) is the pillar of our student telecom lab PoC which doubles as a visual test bed for future IoT experiments. It features individual and grouped lighting control via IPv6 unicast and multicast respectively. This particular PoC uses IEEE 802.15.4 radios but we also investigate the feasibility of an IPv6 IoT stack on top of other communication systems like LoRa and narrowband power line communication. Aside from interoperability on the networking layer, also called connectivity, we also take semantic and syntactic interoperability at the application layer into account via oneM2M, a framework for realising horizontal integration.