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Auto-dimming LED tech gives new meaning to daylight savings

By embedding digital sensors normally used on cell phones, commercial-lighting company Digital Lumens upgrades its commercial LED fixture to be more efficient.

Digital Lumens is using daylight to ratchet up the efficiency of its commercial LED light fixtures.

The company today is announcing a new product line that boosts the amount of light each fixture can give off and improves energy efficiency by up to 50 percent with an embedded daylight sensor.

Efficient LED lighting promises to bring significant energy savings to commercial and industrial customers because businesses tend to spend more money on lighting. But just like the consumer LED lightbulb market, the cost of LED fixtures is still higher than other lighting technologies.

Digital Lumens' fixture, which is about the size of a desktop PC, combines an array of LED light sources with a networking chip. This connects fixtures to a centralized management application to schedule and control lights, thus improving efficiency. The product is designed for warehouse aisles and manufacturing spaces, and it pays back the initial higher cost within a year or two, according to the company.

The fixture's daylight sensor enables it to gradually dim itself when there's daylight available, leading to energy savings between 25 percent and 50 percent, according to the company.

Engineers decided to use digital sensors normally used for automatically dimming screens on cell phones, said Joseph Adiletta, senior product manager. Photo light sensors are normally added to an area after fixtures are put up, rather than being integrated into each fixture, he said.

Digital Lumens' latest products also give off brighter light, between 10,000 and 26,000 lumens. That makes them suitable for a broader set of uses--and competitive with high-intensity discharge or fluorescent lamps--but by producing between 81 and 85 lumens per watt, they are more energy-efficient, said Michael Feinstein, vice president of sales and marketing.