Our homes and offices are now the dumbest thing in our lives. We can talk to our smartphones. A growing number of our cars can park themselves. But our buildings just sit there making us do the work of running them.
That is about to radically change. Our buildings are on the cusp of a digital transformation. Surprisingly, it is the humble lightbulb that will be the enabling disruptive technology.
LEDs are semiconductor-based technology. They use electricity to excite a diode that then emits light (light emitting diode or LED). Because LEDs use so little electricity, they can be hooked up to a building’s electricity supply by using computer ethernet cables rather than electrical wiring. Or LED light designs can integrate Wi-Fi technology just like our smartphones. Either through cable or a Wi-Fi “mesh,” an LED light system can be a digital communications pathway.
This enables LED lighting systems to serve as a connectivity link between sensors, things, smart applications, artificial intelligence programming and human wearables. The disruptive result will be a lighting system that delivers both light and artificial intelligence for running our buildings.
The next technology step is the mass adoption of autonomous LEDs. This next generation of smarter LED lighting will deliver these additional cost savings and productivity enhancements:
Smart autonomous buildings will integrate these three technologies to reshape our work and life experience:
Smart buildings will achieve these results at an optimized cost. They will be able to optimize for energy price by arbitraging between the building’s onsite renewable generation, the building’s batteries, buying from a community solar or wind provider, or buying from the grid. They will make money by selling renewable energy to other smart buildings once utilities and regulators finally align with the cost savings, emissions reduction and reliability advantages of distributed generation.
In the following exclusive interview, Cree VP Greg Merritt outlines how close LED smart technology is to mass adoption. Greg also speaks to how autonomous smart lighting will reshape our buildings and your life.
Image credit: Bill Roth
Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!