Urban Farming Goes Vertical with LEDs

Green Sense Farms vertical LED farm warehouse

Green Sense Farms vertical LED farm warehouse

We like to report on interesting applications using LEDs. This latest application we are focusing on takes LEDs and combines them with farming to leverage unique properties – temperature and wavelenghths —  of LEDs to grow more, better plants, indoors without the use of pesticides.

Chicago’s Green Sense Farms takes advantage of LEDs to make the largest indoor commercial vertical farm in the United States. According to a report in Gizmodo, Green Sense Farms recently announced two new huge climate-controlled grow rooms in its Chicago-area production warehouse. Green Sense Farms combines towering racks of vertical hydroponic systems with Philips “light recipe” LED grow lights.

Philips is building a database of ‘light recipes’ for different plant varieties since each plant has its own needs for light. A Philips Horticulture “light recipe” is an instruction based on knowledge of how to use light to grow a certain crop under certain conditions. Because LEDs produce less heat than traditional lighting, the light fixtures can be placed much closer to the crops without fear of burning them— reducing the vertical farm’s footprint and ensuring that each leaf gets the light it needs.

Using the system, Green Sense Farms is able to harvest its crops 26 times a year while using 85 percent less energy, 1/10th the amount of water, no pesticides or herbicides, and reducing the facility’s CO2 output by two tons a month. And, to make the Earth a better place, it even produces an average of 46 pounds of oxygen daily.

For Further Reading

Gizmodo, Chicago’s Huge Vertical Farm Glows Under Countless LED Suns, http://gizmodo.com/chicagos-huge-vertical-farm-farm-glows-under-countless-1575275486

LED Spotlight: Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris Goes LED

notre dame paris cathedral photos LED 11

Recently, a familiar European landmark got an illuminating facelift: Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. The famous 13th century gothic cathedral was retrofitted with a new LED lighting system by Philips, designed by Benoit Ferré, the resident bishop’s architect (European Architecture Company, EUROGIP). The project used a total of more than 400 luminaires with an installed capacity of just 30 kW, compared with almost 140 kW previously – reducing energy consumption by 80 percent.

The 400 luminaires are controlled by an easy-to-use touch-pad operated computerized system.  The system contains several lighting programs that can change the lighting due to the requirements of the day and Notre-Dame’s manager can add more if required. Almost all of the luminaires are dimmable, making it possible to modify the lighting according to the event taking place (ceremonies, concerts, prayers, etc.), the time of day, or the season.

The new lighting highlights two key works of art:

The Virgin and Child — This statue, moved to Notre-Dame in 1818, is the most famous of the thirty-seven representations of the Virgin that the cathedral contains. The LED lighting, using profile spots, redefines the characters while at the same time shining a gentle light onto the sculpture and the white flowers laid out at her feet.

The north and south rose windows — Made in the 13th century, the windows symbolize the flowers of paradise. Positioned discretely above the north and south doors more than 50 meters from the windows, two 250W LED spotlights shine onto each rose window, revealing the delicacy of the sculptures. Since they are invisible, the lighting gives the impression that the stained-glass window itself is radiating light.

For Further Reading

Artinfo, Notre Dame Refitted with LED Lights, http://blogs.artinfo.com/artintheair/2014/03/17/notre-dame-refitted-with-led-lights/

Philips, Philips lights up Notre-Dame as never seen before, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2014/20140312-philips-lights-up-notre-dame-as-never-seen-before.wpd#.U07GHPl90xE

Earth Day 2014 – Companies Get Greener

Walmart goes for LEDs

Walmart goes for LEDs

In honor of Earth Day 2014, we’ll take a look at how some companies are leveraging LEDs to save energy, bring new aesthetics to their businesses and even save that other valuable resource, money.

Starbucks is committed to using LED lighting in their coffee houses globally. By 2010, Starbucks was able to complete installation in more than 7,000 company-owned stores in the United States, Canada, the UK, China and Singapore. According to Starbucks, This effort has helped reduce the company’s electricity consumption by 3.3 percent since 2008 along with other measures. In FY2011, the company said that electricity use had decreased by more than 7.5 percent since 2008 with a goal of 25 percent by 2015.

Most recently worldwide discount chain Walmart, along with their lighting vendor GE, announced that Walmart will convert to energy-efficient LED ceiling lighting fixtures for new supercenters in the United States, stores in Asia and Latin America, and Asda locations in the United Kingdom. The new fixtures will use 40 percent less energy than lighting sources historically used in stores, and will help the retailer achieve a 20 percent reduction in the kilowatt hour (kWh) per square foot of energy required to power Walmart’s buildings globally by 2020.

Philips worked with Harrods to convert their Wedgewood display to LED lighting in their famous department store in Knightsbridge, London. LEDs replaced halogen lamps in the chandeliers bringing the sparkle back to the Wedgwood area. The LED lighting provides a 74% reduction in installed electrical load, considerably lower heat gains and reduced maintenance requirements. “The chandeliers now look brilliant and the floor staff is very happy with the new candle lamps. We will be specifying them for all of the chandeliers throughout the store in the future,” said Mark Fleming, Harrods Engineering Technical Manager, in a Philips case study about the project.

The New England Aquarium (NEAQ) in Boston recently installed over 160 LED fixtures from Lumenpulse, a leading manufacturer of high-performance, architectural LED lighting solutions.  The project, by Lighting design firm Available Light, enhanced the overall visitor experience, improved animal care with a more naturalistic lighting approach, and even helped biologists curb the growth of algae in the NEAQ’s Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) through LED lighting.

Part of a six-year renovation of the NEAQ, the goal of the lighting project was to bring a sense of theatricality to the aquarium, highlighting the animals and coral reef with new dynamic lighting based on a unique WGB color mixing system that uses white, blue and green LEDs to show off the water while inhibiting algae growth.

“We learned that higher color temperatures are less conducive to algae growth,” said Matt Zelkowitz, Assoc. IALD, LC Principal at Available Light, in a press release. “Red light did not really penetrate or affect the water, while blue and green were magical in manipulating tonality.”

For Further Reading

LEDs Magazine, Starbucks converts US stores to LED lighting, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2009/11/starbucks-converts-us-stores-to-led-lighting.html

Walmart, Walmart and GE Transforming Retail Lighting with Energy-Efficient LEDs Globally, http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/04/09/walmart-and-ge-transforming-retail-lighting-with-energy-efficient-leds-globally

Philips, Harrods, UK, http://www.lighting.philips.com/main/projects/harrods.wpd

LEDs Magazine, New England Aquarium recaptures spotlight with Lumenpulse LED lighting fixtures, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/content/leds/en/ugc/2013/10/new-england-aquarium-recaptures-spotlight-with-lumenpulse-led-lighting-fixtures.html

LEDs, Sleep and SAD –Innovations in Light

Philips Wake Up Light

Philips Wake Up Light

In the past, most people just bought light bulbs without a thought. It was simply about light. There weren’t many extra considerations. Today’s lighting purchase might be made with intelligent applications and even therapeutic reasons in mind, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Light can help prevent or lessen the symptoms of SAD. According to WebMD, as many as 3% of Americans can suffer from SAD in the winter. When people are exposed to less natural light they may develop depression and anxiety, oversleep, and even have difficulty concentrating. Some people who live in extreme areas that depend on artificial light during long winter months without sunlight can use artificial light derived from LED light bulbs for some SAD relief.

Until now, most SAD sufferers needed special light boxes for SAD-related light therapy. LEDs are a natural light therapy source. Light from almost all LEDs used for lighting, displays and even TVs tend to naturally skew towards the blue part of the spectrum. Blue light stimulates a photoreceptor in the eye that reduces the production of the hormone melatonin and helps people stay awake.

LED lighting companies have begun to leverage blue light for those with seasonal disorders and even sleep issues.

Philips tackled the issue of the lack of light during polar winter in a town in the Arctic, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, where they experience dark for four months straight. Longyearbyen is the northernmost town in the world with 2,000 inhabitants (outnumbered by 3,000 polar bears). For two months, 186 volunteers used the Philips Wake-up Light for a study.  Already proven to work in a number of independent clinical studies, the Philips Wake-up Light was used to help wake up the volunteers with gradually increasing LED light prior to the alarm.

After using the Philips Wake-up Light for six weeks during the polar winter, 87% of residents said that they wake up feeling more refreshed, alert and ready for the day. Philips reported that 98% of residents said they would continue to use the Philips Wake-up Light rather than their previous method of waking up.  You can see a video about the experiment here.

Philips also has designed Philips goLITE BLU to help stave off the winter blues. The goLITEBLU provides the right level of blue light to help regulate a body’s clock and improve mood and energy levels. It is more efficient than traditional white light boxes, producing more concentrated light in a considerably smaller form factor.

For those challenged to wake up without hitting the snooze button repeatedly, there’s the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light that leverages both music and light to wake you up.  Here’s a link to an entertaining review written by a snooze button addict from Gizmodo.

Lighting Science’s Awake and Alert LED lamp brings more blue light to help people stay awake, while the company’s Good Night light reduces the blue light to help people sleep. The company also has designed the Rhythm Downlight with an app that can keep a sleep schedule for shift workers, those in extra long nights in cold climates and even those in space. The app syncs up with a specially designed digital LED light bulb. When it’s time to begin waking, the bulb will emit more blue light to help you wake up. But when it’s time go to sleep, the percentage of blue light is reduced, turning on your melatonin so you can sleep.

For Further Reading

Discover Magazine, Smart Bulb Helps You Sleep and Wake on Schedule, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/04/04/smart-bulb-helps-you-sleep-and-wake-on-schedule/#.U0K5m_l90xF

The New York Times, LEDs Change Thinking about the Light Bulb, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/06/technology/personaltech/leds-change-thinking-about-the-light-bulb.html?_r=0

Philips, Philips Wake Up the Town, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wotUrbYs0QI

Philips, Wake up the Town: Arctic Experiment Results, http://www.digitalnewsroom.philips.com/pressreleases/Wakeup_light_campaign/Philips_Wake_up_the_town_Final_results_report.pdf

Gizmodo, A Light-Up Alarm Completely Changed My Life, http://gizmodo.com/a-light-up-alarm-completely-changed-my-life-1535668863

The Business Standard, Lights are no longer just for lighting, http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/lights-are-no-longer-just-for-lighting-114031401155_1.html

LEDs and Location – A New Way to Shop

Location, location, location. Location-based applications have matured a great deal since early navigation devices like Garmin and Magellan GPSs.  Location-based applications are very popular in smart phones. Using the location-based applications, you can tell your friends where you are and can find the nearest coffee shop.  These applications typically use a GPS chip inside the phone or even location technology called U-TDOA (uplink time difference of arrival). These are the same location technologies used for e-911.

The next generation of location based applications are moving indoors. These new apps can bring all kinds of new uses to the typical smart phone. Because these applications are used inside, they can’t rely on GPS or U-TDOA because these technologies need line-of-sight where walls and other obstructions can limit their effectiveness. These next generation indoor location apps rely on new location technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC), a new version of Bluetooth called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology, RFID and even LEDs.

ABI Research predicts that the indoor location market will reach $4 billion US in 2018. Big companies are exploring the indoor location market.  Apple and eBay have announced that they’re going to use BLE iBeacon. Apple is actively looking to establish an iBeacon program that can leverage its installed base of iPhones and iTouch devices to provide mobile transactions and offers to retailers and their customers. Retailers such as Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters are testing iBeacon.  Major League Baseball announced a new agreement to use iBeacon for the upcoming baseball season using Qualcomm hardware.

How do LEDs fit in? Several companies are looking to leverage light.  Philips is looking at one-way communication between networked LED-based luminaires and customers’ smartphones and a new system from ByteLight that uses a LED light fixture to communicate a unique identifier to individuals with smart phones using tiny pulses of light.

Philips recently shared a demo that uses a supermarket scenario using indoor location technology to guide a customer around a store to gather items for a recipe, and allows the store to send special coupons or offers to customers based on their location in the store.  The technology would operate based on the instantaneous response of LEDs in on-off cycles that could transmit data to the camera of a smartphone using light changes undetectable to humans in the store. The customer would need to download an app on their smart phone. Like the ByteLight application, the communication link from the LED luminaires to the smartphone would deliver location data and other offers.

Here’s a diagram from Philips that illustrates how their LED location application would work in a grocery store.

Philips Connected Retail Lighting System

Philips Connected Retail Lighting System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Further Reading

LEDsMagazine, Philips Lighting demonstrates LED-based indoor location detection, technology, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2014/02/philips-lighting-demonstrates-led-based-indoor-location-detection-technology.html

RFID Journal, Retailers Test ByteLight’s Light-Based Indoor Positioning Technology, http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?11474

FierceMobileIT, Indoor location market to reach $4 billion in 2018, predicts ABI, http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/indoor-location-market-reach-4-billion-2018-predicts-abi/2013-10-18#ixzz2v7TLbqKe

And the Survey Says: Consumer Awareness of Light Bulb Phase-Out Grows

LED Light Bulb

LED Light Bulb

Have you noticed a change in the light bulb aisle at your favorite store?  The shelves look quite a bit different than they did a mere two or three years ago.

When Congress enacted The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, they changed general lighting in the United States forever. The legislation created higher efficiency standards for lighting of all kinds from 40–100W incandescent and halogen general-service lamps. As a result, light bulbs that don’t conform to the new standard have been phased-out. Beginning in 2012, 100W lamps were required to be 28% more efficient.  That standard was applied to 75W lamps in 2013 and 40-60W lamps in January of 2014 in a rolling phase-out.

So, what do consumers think? The sixth annual SYLVANIA Socket Survey found that 65 percent of Americans plan to switch to more energy-efficient lighting technologies, as a result of the light bulb phase-out. But, consumers aren’t all the way there yet. The survey revealed that 30 percent of consumers say that they plan to buy a lot of incandescent light bulbs while they’re still available and will continue using them. The 2012 survey found only 19 percent planned to hoard light bulbs. The higher 2013 number is probably due to awareness of the phase-out. Think hoarders…

The survey did have some good news about the phase-out. Since the yearly survey began in 2009, more consumers are aware of it.  This year, 64 percent of consumers were aware of the phase out, compared with only 26 percent in 2009 when the survey began.  And now, more than half of consumers surveyed are excited about the phase-out.  This year’s survey also found that 46 percent of consumers plan to switch to CFLs, 24 percent will opt for LEDs, and 13 percent say that they will choose halogens.

For Further Reading

Sylvania, 6th Annual “SYLVANIA Socket Survey” Finds That Almost Two-Third Of Americans Plan To Switch To Energy-Efficient Lighting As A Result Of Legislation, https://www.sylvania.com/en-us/tools-and-resources/surveys/Pages/socket-survey.aspx

Clearlysapphire.com, Incandescent Bulbs Days are Numbered, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=27

Clearlysapphire.com, US DOE Reports on Efficiency and Environmental Impact of LED Lighting, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=156

Happy New Year 2014 – Times Square Ball LED Trivia

2014 New Year's Ball (Source: Philips)

2014 New Year’s Ball (Source: Philips)

Each year hundreds of thousands of New Year’s revelers brave the chilly New York City weather to see the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at midnight to usher in the New Year.  More than a billion more people worldwide watch the Ball Drop via television.  Since 2007, the Ball has featured LED lights.

The 2014 Ball, a geodesic sphere, is 12 feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds. The Times Square 2014 Ball will feature 2,688 of the Waterford Crystal triangles, each including a series of intricate wedge cuts that appear to be endless mirrored reflections of each other to bring a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns on the Ball.  The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs – 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.

Every year, the Ball undergoes improvements to improve the celebratory lighting experience.  For the 14th consecutive year, Philips is the official lighting partner for the world-famous Times Square New Year’s Eve – produced by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment.  This year, the Ball was accompanied by the year 2014 with the “1” and “4” in special color-changing, programmable LED light bulbs from Philips’ line of hue bulbs.  Each programmable bulb has more than 16 million color options while the “2” and “0” will feature Philips’ outdoor rated BR30 LED bulbs.

Philips compiled trivia questions for the big celebration.  How smart are you about the Ball? Here’s the trivia quiz:

1) What year did the first New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square take place?

A) 1885
B) 1900
C) 1904
D) 1915

The first ever celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square took place 109 years ago on Dec 31 1904. The party was organized to commemorate the official opening of the new headquarters of the New York Times. The area known back then as Longacre Square was renamed Times Square in honor of the famous publication.

2) When did the first Times Square Ball drop happen?

A) 1900
B) 1907
C) 1924
D) 1950

“The first Times Square Ball was lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight on December 31 1907, to signal the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908.”

3) How many people attended the first ever Times Square Ball Ceremony?

A) 50,000 people
B) 200,000 people
C) 500,000 people
D) 1 million people

Considered a big success, “the joyful sound of cheering, rattles and noisemakers from the over 200,000 attendees could be heard thirty miles north along the Hudson River.”

4) How much did the first Times Square Ball weigh?

A) 100 pounds
B) 300 pounds
C) 500 pounds
D) 700 pounds

The first Ball made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds.

5) How many lights were installed in the first Times Square Ball?

A) 100 lights
B) 250 lights
C) 500 lights
D) 1000 lights

If you said A you are right. In 1907 the first Time Square Ball was covered with 100 light bulbs.
“In 1920, a 400 pound iron Ball replaced the iron and wood Ball.
In 1955, a 150 pound aluminum Ball with 180 light bulbs replaced the iron Ball.
In 1995, the aluminum Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, and computer controls.
In 1999, the crystal New Year’s Eve Ball was created and lit by Philips to welcome the new millennium.”

6) What year did LED technology replace the light bulbs in the Times Square Ball?

A) 2007
B) 2009
C) 2011
D) 2012

“To mark the 100th Anniversary of the New Year’s Eve Ball in 2007, modern LED technology replaced the light bulbs of the past. In 2008, the permanent Big Ball was unveiled atop One Times Square where it sparkles above Times Square throughout the year.”

7) How much will the 2014 TS Ball weigh?

A) 99 pounds
B) Over 5,000 pounds
C) Over 11,000 pounds
D) Almost 17,000 pounds

“The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds. For Times Square 2014, all 2,688 of the Waterford Crystal triangles introduce the new design Gift of Imagination – featuring a series of intricate wedge cuts that appear to be endless mirrored reflections of each other inspiring our imagination with a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns on the Ball.”

8 ) How many LED modules are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball?

A) 333 LED modules
B) 528 LED modules
C) 672 LED modules
D) 980 LED modules

The 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles are bolted to 672 LED modules which are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball.

9) How many LEDs are required to illuminate this year’s Times Square Ball?

A) Over 11,000 LEDs
B) Over 24,000 LEDs
C) Over 32,000 LEDs
D) Over 53,000 LEDs

“The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs – 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.”

10) The Ball can create how many vibrant colors?

A) 2 million
B) 7 million
C) 10 million
D) 16 million

“In order to produce a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square, the Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns.”

For Further Reading

Times Square Alliance, http://www.timessquarenyc.org/events/new-years-eve/nye-faq/index.aspx#.Ur2eM_SIwxE

Philips, Philips hue to Mark Colorful Start to 2014 at Times Square, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/us_en/standard/news/press/2013/20131217-Hue-New-Years-Eve.wpd#.Ur2gFfSIwxG