When Ardo UK switched its cold storage facility to Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting System, the food company reduced its lighting-related energy cost by 97 percent at the warehouse.

But for those savings to be sustained, even more can be done. 

Digital Lumens just launched LightRules Monitor, a new application that sits on top of its platform and delivers ongoing analysis of the lighting system performance and recommendations about how to further optimize settings.

“This is the first step to a complete service offering,” said Tom Pincince, president and CEO of Digital Lumens. He noted that increased savings can come from fine-tuning daylight harvesting values or by understanding patterns in shifts of the day or seasonality. “We’re providing a level of diagnostic service and using the knowledge of our system to continuously optimize the settings.” 

For Digital Lumens, this is just the first of many apps to come, said Pincince. Even though installing LEDs can save significant amounts of energy, people will still override settings, or lights can still be left on when no one is in the room. “We’re seeing opportunities over time to make sure things don’t go off commission,” said Pincince.

For the first year, Digital Lumens customers can get LightRules Monitor at no charge, but it will eventually be offered as a layered service. The additional measurement and verification capability will allow some customers to invest in the LED system as a lighting-as-a-service program, rather than an outright capital upgrade.

Eventually, the LED system and sensors could also offer other energy savings. Large customers may have building management systems, but Pincince said that for many of Digital Lumens’ customers, the system is the first intelligent thing that has been installed in the building.

Costs for LEDs have dropped considerably, but LEDs will continue to be a premium product over legacy technologies. That has meant companies like Digital Lumens need to sell the lights, as well as all of the advantages that come along with them. “There’s a tremendous amount of data tied to lighting,” he said -- and companies will need to leverage that to stay competitive.

Earlier this year, Redwood Systems, which offers lighting networks, opened its platform for applications. Rather than lighting controls, however, most of the early apps were around occupancy sensors.

The U.S. General Services Administration is currently looking at the advantages of LEDs versus LEDs with controls using Cree and Daintree technology. If the nation’s largest landlord and tenant decides that controls and sensors pay off, it could accelerate the proliferation of lighting apps even more.

“The responsibility of the lighting market is to find way for customers to overcome the [price] premium,” said Pincince. “That comes with rapid payback and innovative business models.”