By Anne Cosgrove
From the October 2018 Issue
In July 2018, the DesignLights Consortium published a report examining energy savings for lighting—and the potential still available in both the non-residential and residential spheres. Titled “Energy Savings Potential of DLC Commercial Lighting and Networked Lighting Controls,” the report highlights LED lighting adoption to date, and also takes a look at the role of lighting controls in these projects. Following are some highlights from the report for facility executives to consider.
The report’s author, Dan Mellinger of Energy Futures Group, writes in the introduction: “Energy saving opportunities for residential utility lighting programs will soon be largely exhausted due to growing market saturation and EISA federal standards set to take effect in 2020. Lighting product types used by C&I [commercial & industrial] facilities are primarily indoor linear fixtures (72% of installed products) followed by outdoor fixtures (10%), and indoor non-linear products (8%). In each of these C&I product categories, the large installed base coupled with relatively low LED market saturation offers significant potential for future energy savings, particularly when paired with networked lighting controls.
LED Lighting Adoption, Going Up
Under the LED Lamp and Fixture Potential heading, the report finds: “The adoption of C&I LED lighting products has grown rapidly in recent years. The portion of installed lighting stock that has been converted to LED in 2017, with a projection through 2035 Adoption accelerates across the board as prices continue to fall and product performance steadily improves. All product categories have entered their growth phase, although none have surpassed 50% market adoption as of 2018. Outdoor products, such as parking area and street lights, have achieved higher levels of adoption due to earlier market introductions and greater savings potential compared to incumbent technologies, among other factors. Indoor products, such as linear troffers and high/low bay fixtures, are much lower on the adoption curve. These products were slower to mature and compete against a reasonably efficient fluorescent incumbent technology. Linear products, which represent the largest portion of the installed base, have achieved only 6.5% LED adoption as of 2017.
The report also notes that: “The adoption of C&I LED lighting products has grown rapidly in recent years. Adoption accelerates across the board as prices continue to fall and product performance steadily improves. All product categories have entered their growth phase, although none have surpassed 50% market adoption as of 2018. Outdoor products, such as parking area and street lights, have achieved higher levels of adoption due to earlier market introductions and greater savings potential compared to incumbent technologies, among other factors. Indoor products, such as linear troffers and high/low bay fixtures, are much lower on the adoption curve. These products were slower to mature and compete against a reasonably efficient fluorescent incumbent technology. Linear products, which represent the largest portion of the installed base, have achieved only 6.5% LED adoption as of 2017.”
Networked Lighting Controls
With a focus on the potential of networked lighting controls for facilities, the report states: “Networked lighting controls (NLC) offer added savings potential—on average 47% additional savings are possible after LED conversion (DLC 2017). NLC adoption has been limited to date by the expensive and complicated nature of the systems; under-trained contractors; poorly understood benefits; and limited (or poorly designed) utility support. Additionally, NLC adoption is hindered when utility programs focus on the lowest cost incremental saving opportunities such as LED tube retrofits. Unfortunately, if C&I LED products are installed without networked lighting controls, the opportunity to capture much of the savings potential that they offer can become stranded for many years because retrofitting NLC systems onto already installed LED products is both expensive and technically challenging.
The slow adoption to date of NLC systems has not yet adversely affected total C&I savings potential in a significant way. However, with adoption of indoor LED products accelerating rapidly, we are now at a crossroads for NLCs. As Figure 1 illustrates, if current levels of relatively limited utility promotion of NLCs continue into the future, the additional savings NLCs will provide (shown the solid green area) will be very modest throughout the 2020s. However, if utilities aggressively promote and support NLCs, the additional savings possible (shown in the cross-hatched green area) result in total NLC savings of more than twice as much compared to what might be realized under the current path by 2035.
Accelerating the adoption of NLCs ensures that more systems are coupled with LED products at the time of installation. Aggressive utility promotion of networked lighting controls will push the peak savings to a higher level in the mid-2020s and will enable C&I utility lighting savings to be maintained at or above 2017 levels until 2030—twice as long when compared to LED fixtures and lamps alone. This long-term potential offered by NLCs is even more important when considered in the context of net savings. Lighting controls have historically had very low levels of free ridership, so NLCs offer a potentially dependable path for utility savings.
To capitalize on the NLC opportunity, utilities should consider employing strategies that address both breadth and depth. Prescriptive and midstream program designs are simple to understand, make participation easy for customers, and are preferred by supply chain partners. Increasingly, utilities are using these program models to more rapidly reach scale of NLC adoption. These widget-based programs are especially well suited to networked lighting control solutions that are integral to LED lighting fixtures. When establishing prescriptive and midstream NLC rebate levels, utilities should consider shifting resources away from stand-alone LED lighting measures and toward the system solution of LED + NLC. Performance-based or space-based program models are being employed by some utilities to accommodate more complex NLC systems and/or larger scale projects. While these program designs tend to be more complicated and are less likely to reach high volumes, they can maximize the per-project savings of NLCs.”
The report also considered LED and NLC installation by region, in the United States. It states: “Adoption of efficient lighting has not occurred uniformly throughout the United States. Aggressive energy policies in some states have resulted in a more efficient inventory of installed lighting and have achieved greater levels of LED adoption. As a result, the remaining savings potential for C&I lighting will not be distributed evenly among states. A regional analysis was completed to better understand these differences. States were grouped according to their association with Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations, or “REEOs”, as shown in Figure 2.
Relative to other regions, SEEA [the Southwest Energy Efficiency Alliance] contains the most number of C&I businesses and has accomplished the least in terms of lighting energy efficiency. As such, SEEA holds the highest remaining potential for C&I lighting savings—nearly 50% more compared to the next closest region. In contrast, NEEA [Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance] has the lowest remaining potential due to a smaller territory and more mature utility programs. Within each region, the contribution of savings from indoor and outdoor LED is roughly equal. However, the quantity of indoor products will far exceed outdoor products by a margin of nearly 6-to-1.”
Download a PDF of the full report at the DesignLights Consortium website.
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