We found that in NYC, PoE Lighting Systems are about 30% cheaper to install when compared to traditional lighting systems. This observation applied to gut renovations, new tenant fit outs and new construction projects.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a proven technology. Businesses typically use PoE systems to power VOIP telephones, security cameras and other small devices generally categorized in the Information Technology domain. With the advent of LED lighting however, the “Digital Ceiling” is emerging.
In reality, LED Fixtures operate on DC Power. In practice however, manufacturers fit LED fixtures with AC to DC converters called “LED Drivers”. Manufacturers design LED fixtures in this way so they can be integrated into existing high voltage networks of traditional lighting fixtures. PoE Lighting Fixtures however operate on DC electricity and are powered by data cables. Specifically Cat5E data cables deliver power from a special power supply called a PoE switch. Data cables carry harmless low-voltage power which feed directly into the LED fixtures. PoE lighting fixtures do not have ballasts or traditional drivers. PoE Lighting fixtures are also IP Addressable – this is a major breakthrough in lighting technology. For new construction projects, gut renovation projects, or tenant fit-outs, PoE Lighting systems offers a lower install cost, and hyper-value added features.
All of this technology for a lighting system may seem expensive. However we found that in NYC at least, the labor and materials costs is significantly lower for PoE Lighting Systems. We observed that a total PoE lighting project’s install cost is 30% cheaper than a traditional lighting system. “Why?”, one might ask? For starters, low voltage data cables are much easier, and cheaper to install when compared to hazardous high voltage wiring.
Now that you have a modern, low cost PoE Lighting System, what can you do with it? Well, one can order PoE fixtures with IP Addressable sensors including CO2, Temperature, Humidity, Occupancy, and others. These sensors collect space conditions and relay them back to the digital ceiling. The digital ceiling then sends this information to a building management system (BMS) or to the Inspextor PoE hub. Some PoE fixtures can be dynamically color tuned. Lighting designers can now specify an automated circadian rhythm protocol in their plans. Your digital ceiling can now re-configure the space conditions of one’s business to accommodate employees and boost productivity.
Natural lighting is dynamic and changes throughout the day. Traditional office lighting does not follow this dynamic “color tuning”. Studies have shown that humans respond to the natural lighting fluctuations that occur throughout a 24 hour cycle. The static nature of traditional office lighting systems disrupt circadian rhythms and can stress out employees. It is not uncommon for people complaining about office lighting causing them headaches and discomfort.
There is a national Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that has done extensive studies on circadian rhythms and lighting effects. You can learn more about Circadian rhythms and lighting by clicking on the LRC image on this page.
If you are interested in learning more, LRC has studies on their website. These studies show employees are more productive and less stressed out in office spaces where lighting fixtures are dynamically color-tuned. In many cases, businesses with dynamically color-tuned spaces report that employees stay at work longer. These employees indicate that they enjoy their job much more than employees in spaces where traditional lighting is used.
Circadian rhythms and lighting for office spaces has been extensively studied. In fact, the LRC created an online “Circadian Stimulus Calculator” that lighting designers can use to analyze their lighting layouts.
Now that we are all brought up to speed on color-tuning and circadian rhythms, how do we effectively design our office spaces to make effective use of this phenomena. By specifying PoE Lighting Systems with Color-Tuning capability, architects and designers can provide a space that caters to its occupants, rather than the other way around. Businesses will be able to offer its staff a comfortable place to work that will foster productivity and overall well-being. Architects and lighting designers will be able to provide this solution at a lower installation and operation cost to their customers.
Customers typically purchase PoE Lighting systems as engineered systems. What this means is that retailers like Home Depot most likely do not carry them. LCA has a team of lighting designers on staff that can design a PoE lighting system for your office or classroom. We have worked with a number of architects and engineers that are familiar with the nuances of setting up a PoE System. We posted links to a few of the better known firms below.