Bright Ideas for Energy Efficiency

Horizon Engineering Solutions' Intelligent Lighting System Helps Manufacturers Save Thousands off Monthly Energy Bills

Hariharan Krithivasan can't help himself. The founder and CEO of Horizon Engineering Solutions simply has to turn off the lights when he leaves a room.

Raised in India, a country where 300 million citizens today still don't have access to electricity, Hari grew up from childhood believing that access to power is a luxury and energy cannot be wasted. Now a systems engineer, post doctoral student at the University of Waterloo, and start-up founder, Hari is on a mission to share his energy distribution and lighting management approach with the rest of the world. Hari's company, Horizon Engineering Solutions has developed a revolutionary lighting management solution that brings together lighting fixtures, a wireless communication network, security and sensor modules and artificial intelligence (AI) that is helping large manufacturers and other large corporate entities reduce their facilities energy consumption costs by up to 85%.

"Commercial buildings typically operate at less than 60% of their optimal efficiency," Hari explains. "And about 30% of that energy loss is related to human error, such as leaving on the lights when you exit a room. Simply by optimizing a facility's energy consumption, manufacturers can realize significant cost returns. In a highly competitive global economy, where North American manufacturers are under pressure to improve their margins, this offers up one relatively easy way to quickly and painlessly reduce operating costs and stay competitive against off-shore suppliers."

In a manufacturing environment, there are different zones, devoted to various assembly lines, stocking areas, warehouse areas and office space. Most facilities are 10 to 15 years old, with electrical wiring systems of the same vintage -- in other words, not built for energy efficiency. Moving to a new more energy efficient facility typically would require a manufacturer to rewire their facility - a cost and disruption to operations most manufacturers are reluctant to take on due to the downtime and the productivity hit it would require.

Horizon takes a completely different and far more palatable approach.

"We don't require manufacturers to rip and replace their existing lighting systems," says Hari. "Rather, we offer them a solution that allows them to control and group lighting in an individual way, and schedule lighting as they wish, for instance to sync up with their processes and production schedules. That's never been possible before. So for most manufacturers, lighting is on all the time, in every part of the facility with 100% intensity. What we do at Horizon is first, replace the existing lighting with more energy efficient options. On top of that, we use sensors, wireless controls and artificial intelligence, which like the brain for the system, learns the behaviors and patterns it is observing within the facility. This means the lighting system can be aligned to the manufacturing process, and can adapt even if that process changes."

Horizon's approach is already capturing the attention of some very large manufacturers and is driving some very significant cost reductions for customers. "Our Horizon-ILS(TM) solution is realizing 85% greater efficiency for the customers we are serving, just on lighting alone," says Hari. "For instance, one of our customers was paying $10,000 per month in lighting costs for their facility. We have been able to reduce that expenditure to less than $1,500 per month, that's more than $8,500 a month, or $100,000 a year going back onto the operation's bottom line." Customers can either pay Horizon a monthly recurring fee based on the cost savings they realize, pay upfront for the solution, or pay partially upfront for the retrofit and Horizon-ILS system and split savings on a recurring payment plan.

Hari views the smart lighting system as simply the first rung in a long ladder of energy savings to be achieved. The company has plans to expand its offerings to HVAC and other areas -- all presenting equal opportunities for improved energy efficiency and operational cost reduction. And it all can be achieved for a modest upfront cost and with zero disruption to manufacturing operations.

"At the end of the day, manufacturers are in the business of making product for market, not saving energy. Yes, cutting energy costs is a clear way to improve the operational bottom line but if the barriers are too high, manufacturers will never do it. With Horizon Engineering everything related to our system/software happens at the, end, at the fixture level. Replace the fixtures and our solution will do everything else."