A Big Push for Control at Lightfair

By Staff June 1, 2006

There were even more dazzling lights than usual in Las Vegas last month, as once again, Lightfair rolled into town. But in the shadows of the glow, a subject on many people’s mind was energy efficiency—specifically, the drive to have lighting systems adhere to the requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1.

A big part of this compliance initiative means lighting fixtures need to be controllable. As such, many exhibitors touted their products’ control capabilities. One was Schneider Electric, who announced it was expanding its Square D Powerlink lighting control system. In partnering with Clipsal, a maker of touchscreens, keypads and sensors, Schneider will add these features, including Clipsal’s Dynamic Labeling Technology, into Powerlink. DLT allows users to create electronic labeling for various lighting scenarios.

Cooper Lighting also brought its “A” game to the show, introducing ThinkWatt, the industry’s first wireless mesh-networked motion and photo sensor that can operate fluorescent and incandescent light sources in compliance with the Energy Policy Act. Up to 230 lighting devices can be incorporated into a basic network, which employs Z-Wave RF mesh-networking technology. Networks can also be bridged together, combining up to 5,000 devices. The system is being beta-tested and is expected to ship by the end of the year.

Daylighting, and control of natural light, was another hot topic at the show. One of the more notable products on display was Nature’s Lighting SunTracking Daylighting unit, which can be used in place of passive skylighting. The system takes an active approach to daylighting, with each unit using a three-mirror array driven by a solar-powered motor to track the sun as it moves across the sky, maximizing available daylight.

The mirrors reflect daylight through two prism lenses that diffuse and spread it evenly throughout the indoor environment. Artificial lighting takes over when ample daylight isn’t available.