April 2010


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A Wireless Solution For Energy Control In Existing Buildings
Costs Could Drop 30 to 70 Percent

Jack Bolick
President and Chief Executive Officer
Adura Technologies

In a world in which people, places and things are becoming increasingly connected, your building’s energy systems need to be connected as well. Unfortunately, less than 2 percent of the 80 billion square feet of existing commercial real estate in the U.S. take advantage of distributed lighting controls to save energy and reduce costs and carbon emissions.

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Lighting alone accounts for 30 to 40 percent of a commercial building’s electrical use, so the inability to control lighting through a distributed intelligent network to reduce costs is a tremendous missed opportunity.

Wiring and installation costs are often cited as major barriers to deploying advanced controls in existing buildings. Adura® Technologies, which designs and manufactures turn-key, full-featured digital lighting and energy management control solutions, overcomes this barrier by connecting lights with robust, secure distributed wireless controls that lower electricity costs 30 to 70 percent, while enhancing the long-term value and viability of buildings. By going wireless, the cost drops dramatically and disruption to building occupants during installation is minimized.

The Adura LightPoint System™ (ALPS™) control platform provides unprecedented management over commercial building lighting. A key component of the system is the Adura Light Controller™ which can control one or more ballasts or other lighting loads to provide the ultimate in granular control. No longer does an entire floor of lighting need to be wasting energy only because a few lights are needed. The distributed control platform communicates with field devices such as switches, motion sensors, light sensors and our enterprise web software to provide flexible scheduling, daylight harvesting, occupancy control, personal control and load shedding.

Beyond controlling lighting, the ALPS Enterprise Database tracks and monitors energy use, carbon footprint and peak load and shows users when and where they are using energy. It also can provide valuable predictive maintenance information including reports on failed lamps and ballasts.

ALPS is easy to install and use. In fact, it takes just minutes to install our controller or sensor in a light fixture or switch. The Light Controller even comes with magnets for tool-free installation.

Existing daylight and motion sensors can be wirelessly integrated into the system or, for ease of installation, We can supply the devices, which can be added “lick-and-stick”- style to the network. The sensors are battery-powered with a minimum five year life.

Wireless Mesh Network

The ALPS platform is a distributed wireless mesh network, based on the ZigBee® protocol. Field devices are connected to the Internet by a gateway. That means that, at an enterprise level, control scales from a single device to a room, a floor, an entire building or even a campus.

Mesh networking provides highly reliable control by enabling multiple paths for the data to flow between sensing and control elements on the network. The mesh is also self-healing so that if one path fails, the network will re-route the data to ensure the integrity of the communications.

Additionally, a ZigBee mesh network is easily expandable. Each new node is automatically discovered and can be configured with the appropriate control action.

Finally, if a facility is renovated or walls are moved, the entire control network can be easily reconfigured from a central location with no need for rewiring.

ALPS is also light source agnostic – it can work with fluorescent, incandescent, CFL, HID, LED or any other type of lighting.

Energy Management Dashboard

A powerful feature of Adura’s browser application is an energy dashboard that enables a wide range of management options. The dashboard provides immediate and graphical feedback on energy savings for an entire system or a specific area. Energy savings can be viewed in terms of monetary savings, carbon emissions or kilowatt hours.


ALPS enables facility managers to implement dynamic lighting control, including scheduling by time or event, occupancy, daylight, task-tuning and personal control. There is even an astronomical clock that can be used for automatic seasonal adjustments.

Lights can be dimmed, where such capability exists, or individual ballasts in fixtures can be shut off. Such granular control allows for tremendous lighting energy savings. Spaces can frequently be lit at levels well below their installed capacity and are often more comfortable for the occupants as a result.

While central control is critical to system efficiency and effectiveness, ALPS also provides local overrides to meet personal requirements. Individuals can be given the use of simple wall switches, personal remotes or web aplets to adjust lighting to their immediate needs. Since ALPS provides an individual IP address for every controller, any device can be controlled by authorized users through a secure web interface. For example, someone working in a cubicle late in the evening when the rest of the office floor is empty can turn on lights just in his or her area.

Just as important for management purposes, ALPS has a full-featured enterprise application that collects historical information for analysis of energy consumption, provides administrative and user security levels, performs administrator override of all system functions, sets up lighting groups behaviors, alerts users of lighting and system alarms and has a rich set of reports.

All data in the network is encrypted and there are extensive security features for user access to the system. Management can set access levels from full administrative control to a single user being able to control a single light fixture

contemporary Demand Response

Another key ALPS feature is its ability to support automated demand response via a signal from the utility or by an e-mail where the system administrator can set the demand response level. The system can be configured such that there is limited user override capability during a demand response event.

This same functionality can be used to manage peak demand. Users can program the system to receive a signal from their smart meter when a peak consumption level is about to be exceeded and automatically execute lighting control to manage the peak load.

Beyond lighting controls, ALPS provides a platform for the management of other building functions. Adura already has partnered with Cypress Envirosystems to provide HVAC monitoring and control. Since lighting and HVAC comprise 60 percent of a buildings energy use, the savings potential is significant – up to 50 percent, according to estimates by both companies.

In fact, just about anything that can be outfitted with a sensor or controller can be integrated into the system, including air quality monitors, HVAC components, security systems, fire extinguishers, etc. That’s our long-term vision – a total building system management system, with mass controls at the enterprise level that can be tailored to a facility’s specific needs.

Adura has proven that its system works in numerous case studies.

In 2008, the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Research Program issued a technical brief entitled “Wireless Lighting Controls Make Retrofits Practical” in which it concluded: “An innovative wireless light-control, monitoring and management system developed by Adura Technologies is easy to install, cost-effective and can provide significant energy savings.” The conclusion of the study came from work that a team, including Adura’s founders and the University of California, Berkeley, performed at two libraries on the campus. Adura’s wireless control system was installed in facilities where lights burned 24 hours a day because the only controls were in circuit breakers in a locked closet or near a skylight. Our wireless solution showed a 65 percent reduction in cost and resulted in a nearly instant payback.

Wireless Lighting Control

In 2009, we completed a project for Webcor Builders at one of its facilities in Hayward, Calif. The 2,300-square-foot open space was occupied by a mix of project and administrative personnel and the occupancy pattern changed constantly. Many employees were in the office part of the day, but in the field the rest of the time. With no individual controls for the overhead lighting, lights burned at full brightness all day. We installed wireless controllers in each fixture and gave remote control devices to each cubicle occupant. As a result of employees turning lights on when needed and off when they left, the facility saved 65 percent on lighting.

In two other studies last year by Pacific Gas and Electric, Adura lowered energy use in at an Alameda County Water District facility by 70 percent and met utility company requirements for demand response.

In summary, distributed wireless mesh controls provide exciting new opportunities for improving energy use efficiency in commercial buildings. They are particularly attractive for existing buildings, where retrofitting with traditional wired systems can be expensive and disruptive.

Adura’s solution is cost-effective for retrofits, renovations and new construction. With the wireless solution, building owners, tenants and facility managers can implement energy efficiency and load curtailment strategies to reduce operating costs and carbon emissions at a third of the cost of traditional control systems.

About The Author

Jack D. Bolick is President and Chief Executive Officer of Adura Technologies and is in charge of driving both the commercial and technical growth and development of the company. Adura is focused on wireless management controls for commercial buildings and creating a platform that provides other building energy management systems as well.

Bolick joined Adura May 2009 after retiring as President of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), where he led a global organization of more than 13,000 employees with $3 billion in annual sales and turned the company into a leading process automation solution provider.

He has had a career in semiconductor and manufacturing materials supply, global marketing and manufacturing strategies for high-growth markets. He has Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt certifications and was awarded the 2008 Frost and Sullivan “Lifetime Achievements” award in the automation industry.

He was Vice President and General Manager of the AlliedSignal and Johnson Matthew consolidation that became Honeywell Electronic Materials in 1999. Prior to the consolidation, he worked at Johnson Matthey Electronics for eight years.

He also has worked at International Resistive Co., Analog Devices, Inc., Burlington Industries, Inc. and United Merchants and Manufacturing, Inc.

Bolick has a M.S. in industrial engineering, with a concentration on systems analysis and design, from North Carolina A&T State University.


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