Introduction to LumenCache
“LED lighting sips electricity, so why do we deliver power to lights with a firehose?” - Derek Cowburn, founder of LumenCache. I heard these words from Derek earlier this year and they just made so much sense to me.
For context, LumenCache is a system that makes it possible to use Cat5 and Cat6 ethernet cables to distribute power to LED lights, ventilation fans, and a wide range of other low volt components in a home. Current construction practices use heavy duty Romex 14/2 cable to distribute power to these devices. Perhaps the process of distributing power is the most over-capacitized system in the home today.
PoE (Power over Ethernet) is not a new concept. Ethernet cables were initially designed for data transmission, but as the amount of electricity required to power electrical components has been reduced, the idea of using the copper wiring in Cat5 and Cat6 cables to distribute power has become a reality.
LumenCache is more than a PoE, DC-power distribution company, though. Keeping things simple, there are 3 key components to most electrical devices in the home today:
The performance component of the fixture (ie. LED bulbs, fan motor, camera, door bell, pump, etc.)
The electronics to convert power from AC to DC to power the fixture (rectifier or converter)
The electronics to instruct the fixture how to operate (driver)
The goal of LumenCache is not just to deliver power to components throughout the home using a different type of wire, but to also use the wiring infrastructure to more efficiently operate the electrical components within the home.
I will address pieces of the technology behind LumenCache in future articles, but the end result as far as the construction industry is concerned is that LumenCache delivers the following benefits:
Reduces the amount of copper for wiring a home by up to 50%
Replaces 60% of the wiring in the home with a system that can be installed by a much larger labor pool
Offloads 5 - 10 circuits from the AC panel, simplifying the increasing demands on the AC panel driven by the electrification of the home
Simplifies the maintenance and operation of the home for homeowners
Extends the life of fixtures installed in the home
Ensures electrical components operate as efficiently as they were designed to do
Allows power generated from solar, batteries, and generators to be distributed directly to the DC-powered components in the home
Home builders have been forced for years to navigate an ever changing landscape of energy efficiency requirements with the hope that one day a technology would be developed to help them begin to realize the benefits from all of the changes. LumenCache is that technology. LumenCache is the more efficient, more cost effective process the industry has been waiting for that makes all of these changes make sense. I look forward to sharing more details about the LumenCache system in future articles.