Delta News

2020 Hindsight – The End of Energy Efficiency

10 years into LED – End of Life – What is the economic model going forward? The end of the energy efficiency model.

Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), Smart Factory, Machine to Machine (M2M) are akin to the buzzwords associated with Smart City. What does it really mean? Is it really SCADA rebranded? And what are the benefits?

During the last 10 years we have seen significant changes to industrial warehouse lighting where the economic benefit  for replacing old 400 watt Mercury and Metal Halide Highbays has seen the rapid deployment of low cost LED Highbays. As we approach 2020 we are approaching the end of life for those early LED deployments and with the energy efficiency modelling harder to justify, what will be the economic model for these replacements? Is there an economic model for a Smart Factory?


Very few deployments have occurred with lighting controls, missing the opportunity to take advantage of significant daylight contribution afforded by sky lights. Those that have deployed sophisticated lighting controls with IIoT capability have either chosen proprietary systems that lock the customer into a lighting system that really has limited capability. Can they really digitize the ceiling? And what does that really mean?

Does digitizing the ceiling mean that they have an ecosystem of sensors available or much like the vapour-ware to all things Internet, it’s on the product road-map and forever coming.

Is the company a corporate start-up with limited working capital that makes warranty claims difficult? What does a 15 year warranty really mean? Where will that company be in 5 years time?

Digitizing the ceiling can have some benefits such as pallet racking sensors that sense when impact has been made and whether that impact is reportable; saving both time, expense and improvements in safety. Heat sensors that measure specific critical areas that prevent stock loss. Movement and asset tracking sensors that secure stock or provide pathways of light for dark warehouses. Humidity sensors that allow the rearrangement of products to avoid spoiling. In much the same way we can track the food we eat, IoT and digitizing the ceiling enables the tracking of the goods, enabling consumer transparency.

The economic model is there, it’s just this time, it may not be energy efficiency and it make take some detailed work, technical prowess to unearth these opportunities.  With Delta involved in many aspects of the Smart City and Smart Factory future, there are significant financial models being unearthed from the collaboration that is happening between the different business units and customers. 

The question for Property owners and facility Managers is what type of luminaires (light fittings) will it deploy? With the benefit of 2020 hindsight, would the same decision be made?

Standard dimmable light fittings that may report only one way with only a dashboard of information or two-way control of light fittings built on open industry standard protocols with an ecosystem of sensors.

How do you know and what questions do you need to ask?

Here are some helpful hints:

What communication protocol does the LED Driver talk in?

What is the ecosystem of controls currently available?

Who supplies that LED Driver in Australia and New Zealand? 

Can I have two-way functionality on the lighting controls?

What are the financial resources of the organization to make good on any warranty claims?

Does dimming provide group or individual control or both?

Any company that delays these simple answers should raise concerns.

With benefit of 2020 hindsight from the first wave of LED deployments, the opportunity awaits those that wish to lead their competitors into the future and, maybe with that the arrival of Industry 4.0 .

Author:  Adam Carey MIES is a Member of the Illuminating Engineering Society Aus NZ and leads the Smart Lighting Business Unit for Delta Electronics in Australia NZ.

30 July 2019