This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
In my last post I described a unique moment—our moment—when a convergence of technological advances and societal demands is driving an evolutionary leap in how we generate, distribute, consume and manage energy. This leap will be transformational, and it will be felt everywhere from the home to the workplace, from the city to the grid.
Energy innovation will play a strategic role in meeting an array of challenges. It will help accomplish the goals of COP21 in battling climate change; drive bottom-line savings across industries; create new opportunities for customer engagement and competitive advantage; and establish a new energy paradigm for the 21st century.
Businesses that successfully seize this moment will win. At Current, powered by GE, we are activating and leading the transition to a 21st century ecosystem by helping companies excel at the following four things:
- Reduce—Reduce energy cost and consumption by adopting energy-savings technologies such as LEDs.
- Produce—Become more energy independent, resilient and environmentally friendly by adopting on-site generation technologies, including solar and combined heat & power.
- Shift—Leverage energy storage, EV charging and demand response to reduce energy cost, consumption and carbon footprint.
- Optimize—Turn energy data into actionable information through the use of sensors and the Industrial Internet, harnessing insights to improve energy performance and create new value streams.
Today, I want to focus on that first step—Reduce—and explore how LED lighting can make the enterprise significantly more efficient and, through the addition of “intelligence,” radically better.
Get the LED out
The fastest and most effective way for a business to reduce its energy costs is by adopting LED lighting. LEDs typically use 50 percent less electricity than traditional lighting sources, delivering an energy cost savings of 15 percent or more per building. LEDs also have an expected lifespan dwarfing that of legacy bulbs. A high-quality LED can typically run for 30,000-50,000 hours, 30-50 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb and 3-5 times longer than a comparable compact fluorescent. Considering that lighting is a major component of energy cost in the enterprise, these benefits are of even greater consequence.
Switching to LEDs should be central to any strategic energy plan.
LED adoption reduces overall energy consumption, driving down cost while improving a company’s environmental footprint. Business-friendly financing options for LED conversion also enable companies to make this switch quickly and at scale, maximizing the benefits while moving the expense to the operating line. As an added benefit, the energy cost savings created by LEDs is immediately reflected in that operating cost, delivering immediate payback.
Fortune 500 companies like what they see in LED. Attracted by both the cost and environmental benefits, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has embarked on the largest single order LED retrofit in history for 5,000 of its Chase Bank branches. This sweeping energy initiative is expected to cut Chase’s lighting bill in half by outfitting a projected 25 million square feet of retail banking space—an area 40 times the size of the Louvre—with more than 1.4 million energy-efficient LEDs.
Smart Sockets, Intelligent Environments
If increased energy efficiency and dramatic cost savings were the only benefits of LED lighting, I would still be its biggest champion. LEDs are a “prime time,” ready-to-deploy-now technology that delivers tremendous energy efficiencies and value. But along with these demonstrable, easy-to quantify benefits, and the ongoing, rapid improvement of the technology itself—every 10 years, LEDs are being produced at one-tenth the cost while delivering 20 times the capabilities—they also are getting “smart.” Equipped with simple sensors, LEDs can be prolific producers of data to arm intelligent enterprises and intelligent cities.
The advent of the “smart socket” is a game changer. Turning an estimated 2 billion lighting endpoints—our estimate of the lighting footprint of U.S. Commercial & Industrial buildings—into real-time data feeds for energy applications on premise and in the cloud, provides an information foundation for more intelligent energy use that will benefit a building’s occupants, a company’s bottom line, and the health of the planet.
Smart sockets can already react to environmental conditions—dimming lights in a sun-drenched room, for example—and monitor occupancy—linking with a building management system to turn off lights and adjust heat or air when a room is vacant.
Better yet, the benefits of smart lighting aren’t limited to energy. Already won over by the cost-saving and margin-enhancing qualities of LEDs, retailers are beginning to push the envelope with smart lighting. Sensors on LEDs can track the movement of shoppers throughout a store; facilitate a dialogue between customers on their smartphones and products on the shelf; and prompt proactive customer service. Data gathered by smart fixtures can also be shared with, and parsed by, data-analytics software and other enterprise systems to deliver greater insights into shoppers’ habits and needs, enhancing in-store sales and customer loyalty.
This kind of innovation, emanating from the wellspring of the LED and the “smart fixture,” is beginning to take hold across industries, from grocery and retail to health care and manufacturing. The omnipresence of lighting—in every building, every business—positions it at the nexus of our most basic energy needs and brightest economic opportunities. Maximizing that potential, on both fronts, is starting a revolution.
Current, powered by GE is leading that revolution. It’s why we exist.
Our first priority is winning the race to the socket, something we’re accomplishing with mammoth deals like JPMorgan Chase & Company. But that’s only the beginning. When customers pair the power of LEDs with the analytical might of our Predix software, they spark a new conversation between and among building and enterprise systems that has long lain dormant and is paramount to creating intelligent environments. We see this marriage of socket and software as the new gold standard in energy management, a new kind of energy infrastructure—enabled by the Internet of Things and characterized by constant, closed-loop communications—that can deliver exponential value far beyond single point solutions.
Interested in learning more?