Acuity Brands, one of the largest providers of lighting fixtures and controls in North America, acquiredeldoLED (client registration required). EldoLED drivers and controllers provide light-emitting diode (LED) dimming and control of red/green/blue (RGB) LEDs for dynamic colors. It previously partnered with other Acuity Brands subsidiaries, including fixture suppliers Gotham, Mark Architectural Lighting, and Winona Lighting. This announcement follows closely behind Acuity’s recent acquisition (client registration required) of lighting controls specialist Adura Technologies (client registration required).
With this move, Acuity strengthens its position in LED controls – a strategic move to drive margins and compete head-to-head with vertically integrated competitors such as Philips and Osram. While these firms own LED control technology, Epistar instead licenses AC LED technology from Lynk Labs (client registration required), and Wyndsor Lighting (client registration required) offers modules with integrated controls via a partnership with Echelon (client registration required). Acuity’s interest mirrors the increased investments in controls since 2009 (see the report “Winning the Jump Ball: Sorting Winners and Losers in LEDs and Power Electronics” — client registration required). Clients should confirm access to LED sensor and controls technology before they are blocked out as the industry consolidates; Light Based Technologies (client registration required), Redwood Systems (client registration required), or Enlighted (client registration required) may provide an acquisition opportunity.
On December 4, Acuity Brands released its LightFlex system for suspended ceiling applications. The system consists of prismatic daylighting skylight from SunOptics, connected to a light tube coated with a reflective film. A proprietary optical sphere design and a set of lenses on either end of the light tube, diffuses the light and reduces the glare while maintaining the intensity. The skylights are made from double- or triple-glazed acrylic or polycarbonate sheets. The LightFlex system is designed to be integrated with Acuity’s lighting control and back-up LED lighting systems.
Acuity Brands is one of the largest providers of lighting hardware and solutions in North America with 2012 sales of $1.2 billion. Its foray into daylighting with SunOptics will be a big vote of confidence for SunOptics. However, adoption will be governed by the payback period, dependent on average sunshine hours in a given location, electricity pricing, and the lighting efficiency of the LightFlex system. If the system can provide 500 lumens/m2 or more for 2,000 hours per year, the payback can be between two years to five years in North America. The payback can be further shortened if the daylighting system is integrated with daylighting sensors, lighting controls, and back-up LED lights.
A number of companies like Sundolier, Daylighting Systems, Skyshade, and Ciralight Global are developing high-performing skylight designs. Lighting control companies will evaluate their designs and possibly introduce similar products. Clients developing acrylic or polycarbonate lenses, sheets or reflective films should look to market their materials to SunOptics and other skylight developers striking such partnerships.