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May 3, 2010

LumiSmart energy savings?

ENVIRONMENT - If you're looking to cutback on electricity costs at the office there's a new solution available today for controlling your fluorescent lighting. LumiSmart is a small box which connects to a breaker panel that feeds power to fluorescent lighting in large buildings. Basically what it does is cut the percentage of power sent to lights during non-peak hours (say 7 PM to 7 AM) and cuts power during regular usage times by basically blinking the lights super fast so that we don't notice it. (I admit that may be a gross simplification, but we don't need to go into great details with the concept.)

The device is being hailed as "revolutionary" by some, but I have to ask... why bother keeping the lights on in office towers to begin with? Why not turn them all off?

For some silly reason many office towers leave the lights on 24/7, wasting thousands of dollars every year when you realize they only use the light for approx. 50 hours out of the 168 hours they are on during the week. Its fundamentally wasteful.

Its the same thing with office computers. They leave all the computers on at night, using approx. 90 to 120 watts per second just to keep them running.

Now fortunately most new computers now come with an automatic sleep mode which reduces the power used to approx. 10 watts per second during those time periods when the computer isn't being used, but there's a lot of companies out there who are still using outdated technology which can't enter sleep mode unless told to do by the user.

In theory what they need is a free software program that automatically tells the computer to go into sleep mode at night. Its a similar concept to the LumiSmart box for fluorescent lighting.

Using such shut down / sleep mode technology would save office buildings approx. 50% on the electricity bills. The LumiSmart system costs roughly $8,000 to install, including labour, for every 50,000 square feet of building lighting covered, but the energy savings is such that the money is made back within 12 to 18 months. For large corporations that are refusing to turn their lights off completely at night it makes for some hefty energy savings.

There is a computer program called "Auto Power-on and Shut-down 2.40" which costs $24.95 which allows you to set sleep mode times on your computer and do other automated functions, but really what the world needs is a free program that simply uses the sleep mode function for the purpose of promoting energy savings. The "Auto Power-on and Shut-down 2.40" program is free to try for 30 days, but if you were a smart computer programmer you could make your own program and promote it as a way to help save energy (and in turn the environment from wasteful coal electricity).

Because you can be sure most companies will continue using their old clunky computers that don't have auto-sleep mode and continue to eat up electricity at the rate of 90 to 120 watts/second for the 118 hours during the week they aren't even being used. Utterly wasteful? Damn right.

2 comments:

  1. Hello, my name is David Berg and I am the EVP of Product Management and Engineering at Cavet Technologies. Unfortunately your analysis of Cavet Technologies and its LumiSmart ILC product is somewhat misguided and wrong. Cavet's LumiSmart is an Intelligent Light Controller that provides power reduction of 30 to 40% without compromise to lighting or occupant comfort using patented adaptive waveform modification and power factor correction. Essentially the product runs all the time and provides immediate power reduction without users knowing that waveforms are being applied to the sinwave. The scheduling module which is available at the end of the year will enable Utilities, Property Managers, Load Aggregators and LDC's to enforce remote scheduling and demand response.

    We have 2 patents awarded on our adaptive waveform and micro control algorithms and 5 patents pending in Europe, Canada and the United States. Clearly, the Canadian Federal and US Federal Government, State Utilities, and Large Scale Global 2000 companies would not stand behind our product if we were simply a scheduler that controls load between 7pm and 7am. I would be interested to understand where you have received your information...

    David Berg
    Executive Vice President
    Cavet Technologies Inc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree that if the Lumismart had been a simple timer switch as you describe, it certainly could not be hailed as revolutionary. However, reading the website and associated stories, it certainly is far from a glorified switch. It performs advanced waveform modification and power factor correction to a lighting circuit 24/7 at the breaker location. Effectively it reduces the power consumption by 30-40%, with no visible loss in lighting quality all of the time that the lights are used. Achieving this at such a low install cost and with so little disruption is certainly a refreshing change.

    ReplyDelete

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