It is said that “Information is Power”. Automation systems gain their efficiency using sensor data paired with external data to direct where energy should be routed. The goal is maintaining occupant comfort, safety, and convenience. Doubling efficiency is the same as producing twice the energy, without the life-cycle cost of producing more generation.
Changes in the way energy is produced have combined with a major shift in the type of power being consumed. DC electronic devices are now the most common installed power consumers--LED Lights. This radically changes the traditional utility grid model with an excellent upside for both consumers and the utility grid providers.
Clean rooftop solar and local battery storage can now provide resilience and efficiency to the grid edge. LumenCache adds intelligence to the last 1000’ of power distribution. When tied to the smart grid, it can provide demand management benefits by load-shedding, running on local storage for uninterrupted supply to critical devices such as lighting, communications, and mobile device charging. It also provides accurate and timely demand forecasting back to the utility grid.
The societal and environmental benefits to reducing waste are widely accepted. More light from less energy means smaller wires and smaller electrical panels. Safer electrical systems reduce fire risk and communicating lights with embedded sensors indicate conditions beyond simple occupancy. Large arrays of sensors create an effect called “sensor fusion”, exposing information beyond the physical readings.
With a majority of installed devices consuming less than 20 Watts, let’s flip the equation: instead of adding data to the 100-yr old power system, usually via wireless, let’s add power to the data system.
The “Platform” uses familiar Cat5/6 wires connected to a structured wiring backplane. This backplane provides a DC power layer and a gateway communication layer. Each wire heading to one or more field devices has a module that controls how much power and what data is sent to/from the field device(s), creating a highly modular nano-grid, ripe for analytics.
The modules have significant feature and cost diversity with the only requirements being a consistent mechanical connection and a LumenCache data chip for maintaining the integrity of the communications. Several buses on the backplane allow multiple standards to be developed in an Open Source environment.
Imagine what this competition will look like next year when developers create hundreds of apps on this platform and gateways rollup data into the DOE building performance databases. It's an ESCo (Energy Service Company) dream!
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