Considering the rapid growth and innovation being experienced by Michigan’s advanced lighting industry, the possibilities of what lights can do — and will able to do in the near future — are endless, according to Joshua Brugeman, director of energy efficiency at NextEnergy in Detroit’s Midtown district. Now it’s just a matter of letting the public know.
“One of the industry’s biggest challenges is education,” Brugeman says. “Many people don’t know what can be done (with LED, or light-emitting diodes). They don’t know that there’s a real, tangible value proposition with switching out their traditional light fixtures with advanced technologies. And they don’t know which contractor to call, or how to finance it.”
Brugeman hopes that the upcoming Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference will be able to fill in those blanks. To be held Nov. 19 at the Radisson Hotel Lansing, the event will offer an array of programming.
For manufacturers, Jack Curran of the U.S. Department of Energy will address OEMs about manufacturing advancements, including bidding, customer service, obsolescence, and lighting controls systems. For contractors, there will be a session about navigating the lighting retrofit process and standards that impact quality.
“We need to bring the human capital — ‘the boots on the ground’ — up to speed with the new technology or we’re going to miss the opportunities,” Brugeman says. “This is very important for an electrical contractor who’s been trained to wire electrical (circuits) and is now being asked to essentially program a computer. At the end of the day, the more knowledgeable (contractors, architects, and engineers) are on the subject means the more projects we’re going to get done.”
And while the benefits of today’s advanced lights are clear — longer lifespans, higher energy savings, and lower maintenance requirements — they’re just scratching the surface of what’s next to come.
“The opportunities are pretty limitless in terms of what you can do with a circuit board,” Brugeman says. “In the future, there may be a light bulb in a hospital room that monitors a patient’s heart rate. Or in an office complex, there’s no reason that a light bulb couldn’t have a motion sensor in it to keep track of where people are to better control the building’s lighting, or heating and cooling.”
For more information or to register, visit nextenergy.org/MALC.