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With very little doubt left that it’s our wasteful practices that are the cause of global warming, it’s nice to see some larger scales steps being taken in the right direction. A great example of such a step is the intelligent lighting system installed at the Watt Family Innovation Center at Clemson University in South Carolina. The system uses Philips’ LED and Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology and should provide energy savings of around 70 percent as compared to using conventional lighting.

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Philips has already tested this tech at the Edge building in Amsterdam, Holland, and BREEAM has certified that building as the most sustainable office building in the world. Time will tell how this new installation at Clemson University will fare.

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The PoE lighting system features Ethernet cables, which power individual light points. In this way empirical data can be sent to and from the lights fast, which makes it possible to monitor light point usage and conditions. With the installation of additional sensors, even more data can be collected and analyzed.

According to Phillips, the so-called daylight harvesting is one of the primary ways in which the system saves energy. The way this works it that the system’s light points are able to accurately detect how much natural daylight is entering the room, and then adjust their brightness automatically. The system installed at Clemson also uses passive infrared sensors, as well as ultrasonic sensors in the light points, which are able to detect movement and thereby determine if there are people in the room.

The system uses both real time data, as well as historical data in its automatic operations, such as turning the lights on and off in various rooms. The lighting system can also be controlled manually via the Philips EnvisionManager console, or by a smartphone, tablet and computer app.

A more widespread adoption of such smart lighting systems at office buildings and schools, would no doubt offset a lot of the damage being done to the environment. I’m just afraid the powers that be aren’t realizing this fast enough.