The Latest Innovations in Commercial Lighting

Technological advancements in recent years have made commercial lighting much more energy efficient. The latest innovations, however, are improving lighting performance, style, control and the overall indoor environment.

Edge Lighting

Edge lighting (light guide) LED fixtures locate LED diodes around the edge of a glass or clear plastic panel or blade. The light enters the panel thickness and escapes from the opposite edge and any etched surface. The entire panel glows uniformly. For low ceilings and outdoor area lighting, the panels are mounted horizontally and provide a uniform glowing surface that eliminates glare. For high ceilings, one or more parallel panels are hung vertically, which provides maximum vertical illumination.

Acoustic dampening

Manufacturers of light fixtures are integrating sound-deadening materials with LED light engines to improve room acoustics. An acoustic fabric made from recycled materials is fastened to the outside surface of suspended lighting fixtures. One manufacturer places the fabric on the inside of a flat circular ring embedded with LED diodes directed toward the center.

Voice assistance

Some downlights come with voice assistant capability and built-in speakers. One corner light is the master with voice activation and a built-in speaker. The other three corner lights only have a built-in speaker. Additional lights only produce light. All are connected wirelessly. Simply speak to the master downlight to control all the other lights in the room, play music or schedule a public address announcement.

Switchable color and power

More downlight and ceiling troffers come with integrated switches for power and correlated color temperature (CCT). This gives users the ability to select up to three different options for both color temperature and wattage, allowing for a total of nine different light settings from a single fixture.

Built-in sensing

LED linear tube lamps (TLEDs) are becoming more connected. Drop-in TLEDs may now contain sensors (occupancy or daylight), Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, or even battery backup. One manufacturer has integrated visible light communication capability into TLEDs.

LED augmented daylighting

Tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) combine a skylight aperture at the roof, a highly reflective light well, and a diffuser at the finish ceiling plane. LEDs at the diffuser provide a constant light level and consistent color temperature regardless of outside conditions. With direct overhead sunlight, the LEDs are off. In the morning or late afternoon, the LEDs turn on to compensate for lower natural light levels.

Artificial skylights are available that almost perfectly simulate the sun and sky, making spaces without windows or on lower levels appear bathed in natural sunlight.

Two-way communication

Power over Ethernet (PoE) systems supply low voltage power and digital signals over the same cable. This eliminates the need to run expensive high-voltage wiring and conduit plus signal wires for lighting. Installation is fast with simple plug-and-play fixtures and controls. The latest version allows 60 to 100 watts of power per cable. Some manufacturers allow daisy-chaining of non-PoE compliant fixtures, sensors and switches.

DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is an open protocol for lighting control systems. It allows an individual luminaire to respond to more than one input device, such as a wall switch or daylight sensor. Dali-2 allows up to 64 operating devices and 64 control devices on one DALI line. Dali-2 truly leverages the bidirectional communication capability of the interface; it fully supports Internet of Things (IoT) and enables intelligent luminaires.

Look for these and other advanced lighting technologies as you upgrade or develop your indoor spaces. Your local electric cooperative also offers Power Moves® rebates for qualifying upgrades to your business, including potential lighting projects. Contact your co-op’s energy advisor for details.