The need for homes and businesses to reduce both energy consumption and costs is increasing rapidly. Consequently smart-energy solutions are becoming more important to deliver higher energy efficiency and to reduce carbon footprints overall. Lighting is a natural application for smart-energy solutions as it can typically account for as much as 25% of electricity usage in the home – and a significant proportion of energy consumption in businesses. Approximately 12 billion lamps are sold worldwide annually. In terms of revenues, according to a report published in November 2011 by Transparency Market Research , the global energy-efficient lighting technology market is estimated to be US$118.7 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach US$173.4 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%. The LED segment of the market is predicted to be the fastest growing with a CAGR of 14.9% over the same period.
Affordable smart lighting in the home now a reality
A smart lighting system provides easy and remote access to lighting control and allows energy-saving light bulbs, such as solid-state-lighting (SSL) LED lamps and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to be switched on/off and dimmed using a control device. Additionally, compatibility with sensors can provide an automatic response to ambient light levels or a motion detector – for example, when a person leaves a room. A smart system also enables flexibility of control that can be used for many purposes, such as reducing energy consumption by dimming lighting when watching TV, saving between 10 and 30 per cent of energy usage; or offering increased security of premises by enabling the automatic or remote switching on/off of lights.
A confluence of factors has now made it possible to deliver a highly cost-effective retrofitted smart-lighting system for the domestic home. Some of the contributing factors include the emergence of solid-state LED lamps (and also the dimming capabilities of solid-state LEDs and, recently, CFLs); the relatively recent emergence and availability of important new