At the Greenbuild 2012 conference in San Francisco, CA, Osram Sylvania announced a partnership with Armstrong Ceilings in which the two will promote DC-powered, low-voltage integrated lighting and ceiling systems. The partners will co-market Armstrong's DC FlexZone celiing systems and Sylvania's low-voltage luminaires.
The partnership will rely on DC-power-supply and -distribution standards developed by the EMerge Alliance that is seeking to use a single AC-DC power supply mounted in a ceiling area to drive multiple solid-state lighting (SSL) fixtures integrated in ceilings or even walls. The single AC-DC power conversion results in a net gain in energy efficiency relative to scenarios in which each luminaire is powered from the AC line.
Both Osram and Armstrong are founding member of the EMerge Alliance. It has taken more than two years for the EMerge group to fully define useable standards and galvanize support, but apparently commercial product are headed to market.
"Armstrong’s UL Listed DC FlexZone grid makes the use of low-voltage DC powering our newest energy-saving, high-efficiency LED lighting fixtures, sensors and controls in ceilings safe and practical," said Dwight Kitchen, vice president of luminaires at Osram Sylvania. "The DC power interface for our new EMerge Alliance Registered, environmentally preferable RLC22 LED luminaire brings unprecedented design and space flexibility, greater energy efficiency and improved sustainability."
The RLC22 is a 2×2-ft LED-based ceiling troffer that would generally be used in place of a linear-fluorescent fixture. You can expect troffer-style fixtures in various sizes to come to marker from Sylvania and other sources that use the EMerge standard.
One of the advantages of the EMerge technology is that ceiling lighting can easily be reconfigured without the aid of an electrician. "Together we can significantly improve the flexibility and reuse opportunities within interior spaces by enabling faster and easier repurposing and reconfiguration that satisfy the changing needs of a building’s occupants without the need for costly rewiring," said Joann Davis Brayman, vice president of North American marketing at Armstrong Ceilings. "Our adherence to the EMerge standard also allows a modular and scalable implementation of cost and energy-efficient DC power distribution and use."