October 2009

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Ebb and flow of lighting needs require flexible controls
Realize energy and cost savings with lighting control systems.
 

Kevin Braley
Communications Specialist
Orion Energy Systems
 

Like the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, facility lighting needs are in constant flux — or at least should be — as lights are turned on and off as needed.

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The unfortunate reality is that too many facilities simply leave the lights on — sometimes for days at a time — regardless of whether employees are in the lighted areas.

It is excusable, though. After all, many lighting control panels are tucked away in a dark and cobweb-covered area, away from much of the activity. And, most facility lighting is controlled by a complicated and confusing breaker panel, providing no flexibility to turn on or off individual fixtures.

But as energy spend continues to climb the corporate expense report, changing your lighting needs is important, as lighting consumes a large portion of the monthly electric bill. By turning off lights that aren’t needed, facilities can significantly trim their energy bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and help save the environment for future generations.

But it’s easier said than done. Your options are limited. Companies could appoint a lighting czar, hired to roam a facility, following around employees and turning on and off lights as needed, or you could threaten your current employees with torture, hoping they become vigilant and turn off lights themselves.

Neither scenario is likely to happen.

A realistic solution

One option that’s economically viable and catching on at facilities for companies like Trane Corp., PepsiAmericas and Sysco Foods, is the implementation of wireless control technology from Orion Energy Systems Inc.

Orion is a leading power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and deploys energy management systems, consisting primarily of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting platforms, intelligent wireless control systems and direct renewable solar technology.

InteLite® wireless control system gives users complete automation and flexibility of its lighting needs, while reducing energy consumption and the associated costs.

This wireless control system is available in a control panel that allows users to set lighting schedules in five zones within the facility — like shipping, receiving and production — while a second model, which incorporates an easy-to-use touch screen, allows facility staff to individually control each fixture.

The touch screen model, also allows users to measure and verify the guaranteed energy savings.

Each model allows users to set times for the lights to automatically turn on and off, meaning you no longer have to worry about accidentally leaving lights on over a long holiday weekend, running up the electric bill.

By controlling your lighting needs in zones, areas of the facility can be completely turned off when there is no activity. For example, if your company operates a third shift when few, if any, shipments are received, you can order the lights over the receiving department be turned off during those hours, automatically creating energy savings.

And all of this technology is wireless, allowing you the flexibility to change your lighting needs in the future, without the costly rewiring of the facility.

Implement the wireless controls with other energy-saving technology, like the Compact Modular™, high-intensity fluorescent lighting platform and Apollo® solar light pipe, and facilities can further decrease their light-related energy costs.

The Apollo® solar light pipe is a rooftop installed device that harvests daylight and focuses it to a facility floor, replacing the needs for electric lights for up to 10 hours a day.

Automating Trane

At one of their facilities in Vidalia, Ga., the Trane Corp. installed Orion’s Compact Modular™ system as part of a retrofit of their outdated, inefficient high-intensity discharge fixtures. Overall results show an increase of more than 50 percent in light levels as well as a reduction in energy consumption of more than 467,000 kilowatt-hours, translating to annual savings of over $30,000 in energy expenditures.

But because there was no easy way to control its lights, the facility kept the lights on for safety 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By adding the InteLite® control system, Trane is now able to wirelessly turn off 90 percent of lighting in areas where it is not needed, thereby driving further efficiencies while maintaining its safe work environment.

The wireless control platform positions them to save up to an additional 498,000 kilowatt-hours annually through intelligent control of light usage. In total, Trane has the potential to save $62,000 annually in energy expenditures while gaining dramatically improved light levels.

Control Solutions, Inc Add technology, increase flexibility

Pair the control system with InteLite® Occupancy Sensors and you can further control your lighting needs. The Occupancy Sensors collect data regarding the presence of people who routinely move through a space during a 24-hour period. The sensors have the unique ability to adapt the lighting schedule based on this intelligence and to automatically adjust the settings of each fixture to stay on longer or turn off sooner to save even more energy. In essence, the lights turn on and off based on motion, regardless of the set schedules.

In a project recently completed, the actual cost to operate the lighting system was reduced from $285 per high-intensity discharge fixture to $44 per fixture a year when the occupancy sensor was used with Orion’s Compact Modular™ lighting platform and InteLite® control system. In other areas of the facility, the addition of the Apollo® Solar Light Pipe decreased operating costs nearly to zero during peak hours of the day.

A Sysco Foods facility in Walnut, Calif., installed the new smart sensor technology on more than 1,000 of Compact Modular™ fixtures previously installed at the facility. The InteLite® occupancy sensors alone are estimated to help the facility reduce energy waste by nearly 1.3 million kilowatt-hours.

At a PepsiAmericas production and warehouse facility in Reserve, La., the beverage giant is installing the intelligent occupancy sensors on 155 of the Compact fixtures. The Compact Modular™ system alone will save PepsiAmericas 334,000 kilowatt-hours. The addition of the occupancy sensors will increase the savings by another 211,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

As a result of the annual kilowatt-hour reductions at Sysco’s Walnut, Calif., facility and PepsiAmerica’s Reserve, La., facility, the companies will displace a combined 19,706 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the sensor technology. The companies also are reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by nearly 80 tons and nitrogen oxides by almost 30 tons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

By automating your lighting needs, you can significantly reduce your energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint and gain the flexibility you need to control your lighting.

Or, you can hire a lighting czar.


Orion Energy Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OESX) is a leading power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and implements energy management systems, consisting primarily of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting systems and controls and related services, for commercial and industrial customers without compromising their quantity or quality of light. For more information about Orion and how you can transform to an energy management company, visit www.oesx.com.


 

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