230: Power over Ethernet lighting


The more efficient the light bulb, the less energy it will need.


Energy-efficiency has driven the evolution of the light bulb, but the next iteration of the light bulb will launch it into the Era of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As LED lights slowly replace compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) due to greater energy-efficiency, businesses have been exploring the profitability of replacing LED lights’ electrical power source with an alternate but common power source found in the networking world — Power over Ethernet (PoE). Following pioneering work by Cisco Systems of San Jose, California, there are several common techniques for transmitting power over Ethernet cabling. Three of them have been standardized by IEEE 802.3 since 2003.

A Light over Ethernet (LoE) LED system is powered by Ethernet and 100% IP based. This makes the system (i.e. each luminaire individually) computer controllable, so that changes can be implemented quickly and easily without opening suspended ceilings. The luminaires are furthermore equipped with Philips’ ‘coded-light’ system allowing for a highly precise localisation via smartphone down to 8 in (20 cm) accuracy, much more precise than known WiFi or beacon systems.

One of the digital buildings using the PoE is The Edge, a 430,000 ft² (40,000m²) office building in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. It was designed for the global financial firm and main tenant, Deloitte. The project aimed to consolidate Deloitte’s employees from multiple buildings throughout the city into a single environment, and to create a ‘smart building’ to act as a catalyst for Deloitte’s transition into the digital age.

Around 6,000 of these luminaires were placed in The Edge with every second luminaire being equipped with an additional multi-sensor to detect movement, light, infrared and temperature. The Philips LoE LED system was used in all office spaces to reduce the energy requirement by around 50% compared to conventional TL-5 Lighting. Via the LoE system daily building use can be monitored.

The Edge’s orientation is based on the path of the sun. The atrium bathes the building in northern daylight while the solar panels on the southern facade shield the workspaces from the sun. The roof and the south-facing facade incorporate the largest array of PV panels of any European office building, and an aquifer thermal energy storage system provides all of the energy required for heating and cooling. A heat-pump was applied to this storage system significantly increases efficiency.

The Edge uses about 70% less energy than most buildings but is not glass-fronted on all sides – the southern, eastern and western sides have smaller window openings to reduce heat gain, and openable windows.

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