From the Field

EnOcean Smart Grid Solutions Validated in Study

EnOcean-based wireless lighting controls, manufactured by Echoflex Solutions, demonstrated significant energy savings in independent testing and lived up to the task of shedding peak loads during demand-response events. Wireless dimming controls were installed in an Energy Solutions office building in Oakland, Calif., to assess the Smart Grid potential of the wireless automation controls. Within seconds of receiving Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility demand-response signals, the Echoflex system reduced lighting levels in scale with utility-prescribed demand-response levels. On-site verification and monitoring showed that the EnOcean-based wireless sensor network provided reliable means of propagating demand-response signals throughout buildings in response to demand-response events.

Echoflex's energy-harvesting wireless system earned additional accolades when the contractor found it easy-to-install even though they had no experience with system. The energy-harvesting and wireless technologies embedded in EnOcean-based controls overcome installation barriers associated with “hardwired” solutions. In this case, the demand-response goals were met without the intrusive installation costs historically present in hardwired retrofit installations. The demand-response signals are carried over-the-air through walls and ceilings to shed lighting energy loads in the office building. The study showed that the price of battery-less and wireless solutions is more cost-effective for retrofit applications than traditional wired controls.

Smart Grid Communications

EnOcean-based wireless controls fit into the demand side of the overall demand-response scheme. The test demand-response signal was scheduled and initiated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Via the Internet, the demand-response signal went from the utility to a demand-response automation server (DRAS), then entered the host building site's client and logic with integrated relay (CLIR) system. Once inside the building, the Echoflex solution wirelessly propagated the demand-response signal throughout the building. For demand-response purposes, the Echoflex controllers can be commissioned to turn on or off a single ballast, group of ballasts, or entire circuit or dim one or multiple ballasts in response to a demand-response signal broadcast. The Echoflex solution can facilitate energy reductions via bi-level lighting and/or dimming.

After testing concluded, Echoflex reacted to the independent assessment and improved their “Complete Room Controller” model (EDRC–C) by reducing the customization required to receive and interpret demand-response signals. They also simplified on-site commissioning.

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