Emily Fisher

Integrated Lighting Can Deliver 24% Returns and Create Energy Gains of $27 Billion

Combining the energy-saving technologies with sensors is a winning formula to overcome high capex and long payback periods, Lux Research says


BOSTON, MA – June 18, 2015 – Integrated lighting technologies – those that combine daylighting with light sensing and controls – can achieve internal rates of return (IRR) of 24% and lead to gains of up to $27 billion in lighting energy costs, according to Lux Research.

Daylighting technologies deliver energy savings of between 90% and 95%, depending on weather conditions but have a high capex hurdle, with costs ranging from $10/m2 to $43/m2. But sensors are well under $1/m2 and help drive other savings, reducing cooling costs by up to 10%, extending the lifespan of lamps and reducing maintenance costs.

“For some daylighting technologies the payback is on the threshold of tolerance, at about five years, but for many others it stretches above 10 years or even 20 years,” said Alex Herceg, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Investigating the Economics of Integrated Lighting Technologies.”

“Consequently, technology developers need to look at additional benefits such as improved light quality and worker productivity, besides considering alternative financing schemes such as daylighting-as-a-service to drive adoption,” he added.

Lux Research analysts studied the economics of integrated lighting and how it drives adoption. Among their findings:

  • Target market is huge. Lighting in commercial buildings is the second-highest energy end-use, accounting for 22% of annual consumption and cumulatively gobbling up 274 billion kWh annually in the U.S. alone.
  • Daylighting with sensors lowers payback period. Coupling daylighting with sensors is a winning strategy, with an IRR of 24%, double that for light shelves. The net present value (NPV) for sensors and controls ($7,315) in our modelled case is similar to a 10-year NPV for solar control film combined with sensors ($7,291).
  • Daylighting is a hotbed for startups. There are five times more companies in daylighting in Lux’s coverage than in sensors and controls. Larger players have largely neglected the daylighting technology, though Acuity has been forward-thinking with strategic acquisitions, most recently of Distech Controls.

The report, titled “Investigating the Economics of Integrated Lighting Technologies,” is part of the Lux Research Intelligent Buildings Intelligence and the Sustainable Building Materials Intelligence services.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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