LEDs Magazine News & Insights 14 Apr 2021 – Editor’s Column

April 14, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Apr. 14, 2021. Everyone knows what tomorrow, Apr. 15 represents, right? Well, it’s not tax day in the US in this pandemic year. But it is the final deadline for entry into our annual Sapphire Awards program. So you have one day left to complete those submissions. Don’t miss the chance for someone on your team to take down a technology category trophy at our gala in August. And make sure to nominate a person or small team for Illumineer of the Year. Moreover, we have our Design Excellence categories in partnership with the Lighting Controls Association this year covering controls-centric projects.

We report quite often in this space about research in the LED and solid-state lighting sectors ranging from raw technology R&D to studies of the market and technology adoption. One consistent source of such material has been the US Department of Energy (DOE) and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The PNNL crew has done some amazing work and also regularly contributes to our magazine. For instance, last October Benjamin Feagin and Michael Poplawski contributed an article on the topic of occupancy sensors for connected lighting.

Still, I was taken aback a bit at the research that PNNL just published this week. It’s just a hard concept to comprehend. A PNNL team worked with Skumatz Economic Research Associates (SERA) and Navigant on the project that attempts to first define solid-state lighting (SSL) advancements that might result from PNNL technology research, quantify the value of such advancements, and then project energy savings directly tied to those advancements. The value modeling uses a methodology with which I was not familiar called Non-Energy Benefits (NEB). SERA is an expert in that methodology. The conclusion is the only thing that is easily understood. Coming PNNL work in the area of flicker, glare, color rendering, and dark skies will save 334 TBtu annually by the year 2035.

Our Mark Halper meanwhile chased down a horticultural story and got a bit cheeky with the concept of a cloud. Of course, vertical farms in containers are not impacted by cloudy days. But they are going high tech or what we call AgTech, and Halper wrote about Infarm in Germany using cloud computing technology to control the growing operation. Infarm is also another grower raking in investment cash, which is really flowing in the horticultural sector. The company recently raised $170 million.

AgTech will be the focus at our September HortiCann Light + Tech event that will again be held virtually this year. As I mentioned last week, Dr. Ricardo Hernandez from the Horticultural Science program at North Carolina State University will keynote the event. We will have more program details soon.

Back to news of the week, the DesignLights Consortium has released more details of its new LUNA (Light Usage for Night Applications) program focused on outdoor lighting. Outdoor luminaires have been previously eligible for the DLC QPL (Qualified Products List). Companies will soon have to meet LUNA requirements on top of the basic DLC SSL V5.1 requirements for QPL listing of products such as street lights. LUNA adds dark sky requirements and will address human visual comfort at night. The organization is now taking comments on its LUNA draft requirements. So now is your time to speak up if you have concerns.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]