We already know that smart daylighting can greatly reduce the need for artificial lighting. But what if you combined that technology with today's ultra-efficient LEDs? And what if you then added smart sensors to intensify or dim artificial lighting as needed, according to both availability of natural light and whether or not an area of a building is in use? And maybe solar panels to power the lights when they are turned on?
That's what the folks at Kingspan are doing with their Zer0 Energy Lighting products.
Previously known for their insulated panels for commercial buildings, Kingspan is now offering an integrated, intelligent lighting system that includes efficient natural daylighting that automatically coordinates with high-efficiency LEDs to optimize lighting in the building at any given moment. The company claims the system can deliver 80 to 90 percent energy savings over a standard commercial lighting system. With the addition of rooftop solar panels, external energy demand is actually brought down to zero, meaning a payback time on initial capital investments of just a few years.
As Lloyd Alter has written many times before, there's good reason to be skeptical about some of the technical trickery being paraded as "smart" buildings these days. But a truly intelligent approach to integrating simple, natural daylighting with supplemental, artificial light is what truly smart green technology should be all about.
This looks like a very cool system indeed. According to an article over at Business Green, the company already has a pipeline of £10,000,000 (about US$15,000,000) of projects lined up prior to launch. If it performs as well as it is claimed, there may be many more prospective customers lining up at the door.