WO2008064179A2 - Systems and methods for controlling lighting, refrigeration, and energy use within a store - Google Patents

Systems and methods for controlling lighting, refrigeration, and energy use within a store Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008064179A2
WO2008064179A2 PCT/US2007/085138 US2007085138W WO2008064179A2 WO 2008064179 A2 WO2008064179 A2 WO 2008064179A2 US 2007085138 W US2007085138 W US 2007085138W WO 2008064179 A2 WO2008064179 A2 WO 2008064179A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
system
lamp assembly
cold storage
storage unit
lamp
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2007/085138
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2008064179A3 (en
Inventor
Brent Marsh
Original Assignee
Shelf Control, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US85983206P priority Critical
Priority to US60/859,832 priority
Priority to US98624807P priority
Priority to US60/986,248 priority
Application filed by Shelf Control, Inc. filed Critical Shelf Control, Inc.
Publication of WO2008064179A2 publication Critical patent/WO2008064179A2/en
Publication of WO2008064179A3 publication Critical patent/WO2008064179A3/en

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D29/00Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D27/00Lighting arrangements
    • F25D27/005Lighting arrangements combined with control means
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D21/00Defrosting; Preventing frosting; Removing condensed or defrost water
    • F25D21/02Detecting the presence of frost or condensate
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D21/00Defrosting; Preventing frosting; Removing condensed or defrost water
    • F25D21/04Preventing the formation of frost or condensate
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2400/00General features of, or devices for refrigerators, cold rooms, ice-boxes, or for cooling or freezing apparatus not covered by any other subclass
    • F25D2400/36Visual displays
    • F25D2400/361Interactive visual displays
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2500/00Problems to be solved
    • F25D2500/06Stock management
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/02Sensors detecting door opening
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/04Sensors detecting the presence of a person
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/06Sensors detecting the presence of a product
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/08Sensors using Radio Frequency Identification [RFID]
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2700/00Means for sensing or measuring; Sensors therefor
    • F25D2700/12Sensors measuring the inside temperature

Abstract

Systems, apparatus, and methods are provided for controlling and optimizing energy used by a cold storage unit, controlling and optimizing the interaction of the various component systems within the cold storage unit, and in managing the interaction between the cold storage units, lighting, and HVAC and both consumers and various other entities and third parties. In general, the invention includes various controllers, sensors, network interfaces, and networks which enable data capture, control, and reporting on cooling systems or units, lighting systems, fan systems, dehumidifiers, heat exchanges, and related component systems. Further, the invention captures, tracks, and reports on data for entities that interact with it, e.g., RFID tagged products, advertisements and notices, shopping carts, pallet jacks, and fork lifts. The invention also includes advancements to some of the specific component systems related to cold storage units, e.g., lighting systems, which provide for enhanced energy optimization and control of the unified system.

Description

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING LIGHTING, REFRIGERATION, AND ENERGY USE WITHIN A STORE

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/859,832 " SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING LIGHTING REFRIGERATION, AND ENERGY USE WITHIN A STORE" (attorney docket number 026133-000400US) by Brent Marsh, filed Nov. 17, 2006; and to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/986248 " ACHIEVING OPTIMAL OPERATING TEMPERATURES OF A LAMP" (attorney docket number 026133-000300US) by Brent Marsh, filed Nov. 7 2007, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present invention relates generally to control and optimization of energy use and specifically to the automation of control over energy systems within a storage unit designed to maintain an internal temperature that is lower than 10° C, specifically, those types of storage units used for refrigeration and/or freezing, e.g. a supermarket refrigerated display case.

[0003] A store has many different systems that utilize energy. There are heating and cooling of the general store environment; the lighting of products and the aisles; and the cooling or freezing of products, particularly those that are perishable. These systems interact with each other, sometimes in ways which are detrimental to the functioning or efficiency of one particular system. For example, the refrigeration system has a heat exhaust that increases the temperature of the aisles.

[0004] Another example are the lamps used within cold storage units. Lamps are typically designed to operate in a particular temperature range and thus might not work well far outside their expected operating range. Lamps, such as cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), are typically made to function at a standard room temperature of around 25° C. It is also known that the performance (brightness) of CCFLs degrades when used in cold environments. Thus, many systems use heaters to heat the CCFL bulb above the cold ambient temperature to closer to room temperature to improve the lamp's efficiency. However, this leads to an overall inefficiency as more energy is needed and more heat is output to the environment, requiring more energy for heat removal within a cold storage unit.

[0005] While maintaining a single component's energy efficiency is a desirable goal, as the interaction of multiple disparate systems can adversely affect the overall system's total efficiency. As an example, consider a supermarket which has a contract with an energy provider to cut energy consumption when there is high demand. The supermarket might get a discount if it uses less energy on hot days in the summer when many people are using air conditioners. In such a situation, the supermarket is highly enticed to cut overall energy use, but how much energy to cut, and which systems can most readily absorb the reduced energy input, can be a difficult question to answer.

[0006] There are currently three major energy consumers in a cold storage environment: the cooling system, the lighting systems, and the defrost-door heating-fan circulating systems. In a supermarket, the three biggest consumers would be the refrigerator/freezer display cases, the lighting systems used in the stores, and the Heating-Ventilation-Air conditioning (HVAC) systems that majority of the energy in the store.

[0007] Focusing on the cold storage units proper, various prior art focuses on regulating the efficient operation of the heat transfer mechanisms or some of its other discrete parts. However, the prior art is deficient in that it fails to manage the interaction of the cold storage unit with the other systems (e.g., lighting, defrosters, de-humidifiers) required for the proper operations of a cold storage unit.

[0008] With respect to the lighting, lighting to illuminate products on shelves currently utilizes standard power cords running over 120V at 60hz. The control and capabilities of these lights are very limited, allowing only such trivial controls as on/off. These controls are local to the lights, independent of other systems, and lacking any capability of remote control or granularity of control. Thus, attempting to reduce power consumption via lighting can result in either cutting power to large sections of the store, or large banks of lights.

[0009] And the interaction between the lights and the temperature regime of the cold storage unit is typically at odds in terms of maintaining optimum efficiency. Lighting sources generally are more efficient at temperatures above what are maintained in a cold storage unit, and as such may require that they are "heated" so that they operate most efficiently. As has been noted earlier, adding heat to the lights to increase their luminous efficiency while it degrades the energy efficiency of the overall system since this extra heat must then be removed from the cold storage unit.

[0010] Thus, what is needed is systems, apparatus, and methods for controlling energy use within a cold storage unit as well as within the various component systems of a cold storage unit, where the process can be automated and can account for the interaction of such varied systems as lighting and refrigeration of products, as well as the temperature/lighting of the genera] space external to the cold storage unit. What is also needed is a lighting source that can operate efficiently within the temperature regimes of a cold storage unit, and which can be controlled such that its operations are beneficial to the operations of the cold storage unit or at least wherein the operations of such lights afford the least detrimental impact.

[0011] Specifically with respect to cold storage units used in a retail environment or other consumer environment, the ability to manage energy utilization is further driven by the consumer's interaction with the cold storage unit. As such, it is also beneficial that the system be capable of tracking multiple types of data, such as advertising, product movement, etc. Therefore, it would be desirable to have systems that controlled the energy use and lighting to also be able to provide tracking of product and consumer data.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0012] Embodiments of the present invention provide systems, apparatus, and methods for controlling and optimizing the energy used by a cold storage unit, controlling and optimizing the interaction of the various component systems within the cold storage unit, and in managing the interaction between the cold storage unit and both consumers and various other entities and third parties. In general, the invention comprises various controllers, sensors, network interfaces, and networks which enable data capture, control, and reporting on cooling systems or units, lighting systems, fan systems, HVAC systems, dehumidifiers, heat exchanges, and related component systems. Further, the invention has means for capturing, tracking, and reporting on data for entities that interact with it, e.g., RFID tagged products, advertisements and notices, shopping carts, and pallets. The invention also includes advancements to some of the specific component systems related to cold storage units, e.g., lighting systems, which provide for enhanced energy optimization and control of the unified system. [0013] According to one exemplary embodiment, a system for controlling the operation of at least one cold storage unit is provided. Items, such as products, in the cold storage unit are held at a temperature below 100C. One or more controllers are each communicably coupled with at least one memory that stores a set of control parameters. One or more sensors are each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers. One or more one network interfaces are also each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers. At least one of the network interfaces communicates with a network, e.g. the Internet or an intranet. The cold storage unit has a plurality of component systems, at least one of which is a cooling system. The controllers, upon evaluating said control parameters, provide a single integrated control for the component systems within said at least one cold storage unit.

[0014] According to another exemplary embodiment, a method for controlling the operation of at least one cold storage unit is provided. Input data including a set of control parameters is received. The input data is received at one or more controllers associated with the at least one cold storage unit via one or more network interfaces, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers. At least one of the network interfaces communicates with a network. The cold storage unit has a plurality of component systems, at least one of which is a cooling system. The control parameters are stored in a memory communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers. Sensor data is received from one or more sensors, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers. The controllers evaluate the sensor data in relation to the input data. Based on the evaluation, control signals are provided from the controllers to the component systems within said at least one cold storage unit.

[0015] According to another exemplary embodiment, a lamp assembly includes a light source and at least one outer chamber, where an efficiency of the lamp assembly is controlled by managing a thermal energy generated and dissipated by the light source.

[0016] A better understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention may be gained with reference to the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] Figure 1 is a diagram of a refrigerated cabinet or case suitable for practicing embodiments of the present invention. [0018] Figure 2 shows a lamp assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] Figure 3 illustrates a lighting and control system according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0020] Figure 4 illustrates a layout of a grocery store according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0021] Figure 5 illustrates a process of communicating data within, between, and to stores according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0022] Figure 6 illustrates a system for controlling a cold case according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0023] Figure 7 illustrates a method of controlling energy usage within a store according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0024] Figure 8 is a block diagram illustrating a power conversion process at different stages of a fluorescent lighting system that is improved by an embodiment of the present invention.

[0025] Figure 9 is a functional plot illustrating the relative efficiency of a lamp vs. a temperature of the lamp.

[0026] Figure 10 is a functional plot illustrating a light output, heat output, and relative efficiency vs. temperature of a lamp for a given input power.

[0027] Figure 1 1 is a functional plot illustrating different levels of heat dissipation resulting in different operating temperatures.

[0028] Figure 12 illustrates a method of manufacturing a lamp according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0029] Figure 13 shows a lamp assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0030] Figure 14 shows a table of different CCFL lamps and the operating temperatures achieved with different levels of insulation according to an embodiment of the present invention. [0031] Figure 15 is a functional plot illustrating the relative efficiency and operating temperature vs. input power.

[0032] Figure 16 is a functional plot illustrating the light output and the system power vs. input power.

[0033] Figure 17 illustrates a method of optimizing energy usage by a lamp according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0034] Embodiments of the present invention provide systems, apparatus, and methods for controlling and optimizing the energy use of a cold storage unit, and within the various component systems comprising the cold storage unit, and the optimization of its use within the context of the whole store energy use and consumption. For example, the lighting and refrigeration of products, as well as the lighting and climate control, of the cold storage unit, as well as the HVAC system may be controlled. Examples of a cold storage unit are a refrigerated display case, a frozen food display case, a walk-in refrigerator, walk-in freezer, a refrigerated warehouse, a non commercial refrigerator, and a non-commercial freezer. The cold storage unit may also be portable.

I. Energy and Lighting Management System

[0035] Figure l is a diagram of a refrigerated cabinet or case 100 suitable for practicing embodiments of the present invention. Refrigerated cabinet 100 may have one or more shelves 1 10 on which displayed items 115 (such as consumer products) may reside. Cabinet

100 may have one or more doors 120 having door jam (mullion) area 130 at either end of the door 120. When there are two doors the mullion between the doors may be termed a center panel.

[0036] Shelves 110 may have a mounting apparatus 140 for holding a lamp assembly 150. Lamp assembly 150 contains a lamp and may include a ballast, electronics, a reflector, lenses, insulating sleeves, bushings and strain relief, and other elements. The light from the light module 150 may be provided by a CCFL, HCFL, EEFL, or LEDs, or a combination thereof.. Alternatively, embodiments of this invention may have vertical lamp assemblies 150 in mullion 130. [0037] In some embodiments, mounting apparatus 140 is part of shelf 1 10. In other embodiments, mounting apparatus 140 is separate piece from shelf 1 10. The mounting bracket 140 and lamp module may be one unit. Mounting apparatus 140 and lamp module 150 is termed a 'shelf housing." Sensors and controllers may be added to this shelf-based housing, along with networking of said devices. Such shelves may be referred to as a shelf network platform (SNP)

[0038] In one embodiment, a case controller 160 controls lamp assembly 150. Case controller 160 may also control other devices, such as anti-sweat heaters, defrost cycles of the refrigerator, a fan for the refrigerator, and may take in data from sensors, such as temperature, light intensity, dew point, humidity, and any other electrical sensors of the system.

[0039] The suite of sensors used by the system may be internal to the cold storage unit, external to the cold storage unit, or both. For example, the system used in a supermarket may attempt to minimize energy usage by only lighting display cases when someone is near them. This would require that a sensor be able to detect motion, presence, or some combination of the two. Also, the granularity of control in such an instance would be based on the precision, location, number, and type of sensors used. Ultrasonic sensors could be positioned such that they provide coverage on a specific display case 100 or set of display cases. Thus, when a consumer "breaks the control field" of the sensor, the sensor would inform the controller 160, and the controller would either turn on or increase the brightness of the appropriate lamp assembly 150. Conversely, such a system would also be able to detect when a consumer has moved out of range, and turn off or dim the appropriate lamp assembly 150.

[0040] The sensors, in addition to being connected to a specific controller for local operations, can also be connected to other sensors via a network to provide enhanced operating control. An example of this would be a series of sensors connected in a mesh network, where triggering events on a first sensor are sent as data to a second or other subsequent sensors. Consider an aisle in a supermarket which has motion/presence detection sensors at each end as well as motion/presence detection sensors by each display case. The display case sensors would only be powered when the end sensors detected a consumer entering that aisle, thereby reducing power consumed by the system.

[0041] In one embodiment, the SNP includes at least one static display unit. For example, the contents of the display may be static. The display may also be fixed to one of the shelves. A static display unit can include a back lit strip advertisement, an edge lit strip advertisement, a back lit price label, an edge lit price label, a non-illuminated strip advertisement, a non- illuminated strip advertisement, and a non-illuminated price label.

[0042] In another embodiment, the SNP further includes a dynamic display unit. For example, the contents of the display may change automatically over time, or via some other control mechanism. In one aspect, a controller determines time stamps for when an advertisement was displayed on the dynamic display unit. In another aspect, a dynamic display unit displays at least one of text messages, video, and advertisements of products contained within said at least one cold storage unit. Also, a controller can determine time stamps for when an advertisement was displayed on at least one shelf.

A. Lamp modules

[0043] Figure 2A shows a lamp assembly 200 according to an embodiment of the present invention. A lamp 210 is positioned within a sleeve 220. In one aspect, the lamp is a fluorescent lamp, such as a CCFL, EEFL, or other type of fluorescent lamp. In another aspect, the lamp utilizes light emitting diodes (LEDs). An intermediate region 230 between lamp 210 and sleeve 220 allows for control of an insulation layer. In one embodiment, region 230 is a vacuum such that the only appreciable heat dissipated is thermal radiation. However, for some lamps and environments, too much heat is retained and too little heat is dissipated when a vacuum is used. Accordingly, in other embodiments, different pressures of different gases may be used to fill region 230. For example, instead of a vacuum, a gas (such as an inert gas, air, or nitrogen) at a pressure of half of standard atmosphere (atm) may be used. In another embodiment, an outer enclosure 240 may provide further insulation. In some embodiments the lamp 210 does not contact sleeve 220.

[0044] Both or either one of the outer enclosure 240 or sleeve 220 may or may not be present in lamp assembly 200. Lamp 210 may be isolated from vibration, e.g. by being allowed to float, within sleeve 220. Lamp 210 may also be isolated from vibration, e.g. by being allowed to float, within sleeve 220 or outer enclosure 250. Outer enclosure 240 and/or sleeve 220 may functions as lenses and/or reflectors.

[0045] Figure 2B shows a light assembly 250 having multiple lamps 210 having electrodes 215 according to an embodiment of the present invention. In one aspect, multiple lamps 210 with sleeves 220 reside within a single outer enclosure 240. In one embodiment, lamp assembly 200 includes sensors 270. In one aspect, sensors 270 are situated at one or both ends of the light assembly. Sensors 270 may sense temperature, RFID targets in outside objects such as carts or advertisement or within (on) products, air velocity within a freezer case, and other values or conditions mentioned herein.

[0046] In one embodiment, the amount of heat dissipated may be controlled by a level of insulation. The insulation may be provided by a sleeve enclosing the lamp and defining an intermediate region between the lamp and the sleeve, where the sleeve and the intermediate region act as insulation. In certain forms, the insulation may be varied by having a vacuum in the intermediate region or having a gas in the intermediate region, where the gas may be altered provide various levels of insulation. In another form, the width of a gap between the lamp and the sleeve may be varied to achieve different levels of insulation. In another form, an inner surface of the sleeve may be coating with a particular emissivity to inhibit or increase dissipation of thermal radiation. In yet another aspect, the amount of heat dissipated is controlled by at least one of a heat sink, heat pipe, heat pump, and/or radiator coupled with the lamp.

[0047] In another embodiment, a lamp assembly optimized for a particular ambient temperature is provided. The lamp assembly may include a lamp and at least one outer sleeve, which encloses the lamp. An intermediate region is defined between the lamp and the sleeve. The intermediate region provides a level of insulation that controls an amount of heat dissipated, such that a balance of heat generated by the lamp and dissipated creates an operating temperature that is within a range of a peak in an efficiency of the lamp as a function of temperature.

[0048] In another embodiment, a lamp assembly includes a lamp and a heat dissipation member. The heat dissipation member provides increased heat dissipation from the lamp such that an amount of heat dissipated is controlled. The balance of heat generated by the lamp and dissipated creates an operating temperature that is within a range containing the peak efficiency of the lamp as a function of temperature.

[0049] In yet another embodiment, a method of optimizing energy usage by a lamp is provided. The method typically includes specifying a light output range and an ambient temperature; identifying a peak in efficiency of the lamp as function of temperature; specifying an initial input power; adjusting an amount of heat dissipated such that operating temperature is within a specified vicinity of the peak; and determining if a light output from the lamp is within specified range. [0050] In one embodiment, if the light output is not within the specified range, the input power is changed; and adjusting and determining are repeated until specified light output range is achieved. In one aspect, the input power is changed such that if the light output is less than the specified range, the input power may be increased; and if the light output is greater than the specified range, the input power is decreased. In another aspect, a determination of a total system power associated with each current input power. The total system power may be a power consumed at an operating temperature within the vicinity of the peak.

[0051] In still another embodiment, the method of optimizing energy usage by a lamp is repeated for a plurality of lamps. In one aspect, the lamp having the lowest input power while providing a light output in the specified range is selected. In another aspect, the lamp having the lowest total system power while providing a light output in the specified range is selected.

1.. Power conversion of a fluorescent lamp

[0052] Figure 8 illustrates a power conversion 800 at different stages of a fluorescent lighting system that may benefit from incorporating aspects of the present invention. Exemplary lighting systems include cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) and External Electrode Fluorescent Lamps (EEFLs). Input power 805, such a standard AC power, is transmitted to a ballast 810, which controls the amount of current flowing into the lamp. During the process of controlling the current, some of input power 805 is lost to heat 815. A typical heat loss for a standard ballast is 15% as shown. In one embodiment, ballast 810 is a computerized, remote-controlled electronic ballast that provides greater efficiency and thus lower heat loss. In one aspect, ballast 810 substantially increases the line frequency of input power 805.

[0053] Within a bulb (lamp) 820, an incident electron, which is emitted from a cathode electrode, collides with an atom in the gas within the lamp, such as mercury, argon or krypton. This collision causes an electron in the atom to temporarily jump up to a higher energy level to absorb some, or all, of the kinetic energy delivered by the colliding electron. Some of the kinetic energy of the emitted electron may also be absorbed by an atom within the gas, raising the kinetic energy of the atom and thus the temperature of the gas within the lamp. This increased temperature is heat loss 825. [0054] The higher energy state of the electron in the atom is unstable, and the atom will emit a photon as the atom's electron reverts to a lower, more stable, energy level. The photons typically have a wavelength in the ultraviolet part 830 of the spectrum, and must be converted into visible light 835. This conversion typically occurs in the phosphor coating on the inner surface of the fluorescent tube. The ultraviolet photons are absorbed by electrons in the phosphor's atoms, causing a similar energy jump, then drop, with emission of a further photon. The photon that is emitted from this second interaction has a lower energy than the one that caused it. The difference in energy between the absorbed ultraviolet photon and the emitted visible light photon goes to heat 840 of the phosphor coating. The glass of the lamp may also absorb the UV light, and thus may be heated as well.

[0055] The percentages along each path represent the percent of the initial input power that passes through that path. For example, the 17% along the path from UV to Visible Light indicates that 17% of the initial electrical input power is converted to visible light. The remaining 83% is converted to heat.

[0056] It is desirable to have a high percentage of input power 805 being converted to visible light 835 as thus more light will be created and/or less input power is required for a given amount of light. When the lamp is situated within a cold environment that is to be maintained at a cold temperature, such as a refrigerated commercial cooler (cold case), additional energy might be needed to remove the heat energy emitted by the lamp. The typical efficiency of a refrigeration cycle is roughly 5%. This means that for every 5W of heat generated in the freezer, the freezer must consume 10OW of electrical power to remove that heat, so the amount of heat generated by the lamp assembly is important. Thus, the need for higher efficiency is even greater when the lamp is within such an environment.

[0057] A refrigerated cold case is any environment below ambient room temperature. Common examples are the freezer case at a grocery store. These freezer cases typically operate at -16°F to -200F (-270C to -29°C). Other examples are the dairy or beer cases at a grocery store which typically operate at 32°F-45°F (0°C-7°C).

2.. Impact of operating temperature on lamp

[0058] The operating temperature of a lamp can cause inefficiencies in the operation of the lamp. This behavior compounds the above problems of operating within a cold environment. Figure 9 shows a curve 900 illustrating the relative efficiency 910 of a CCFL vs. a temperature 920 of the CCFL. The operating temperature is typically taken at the center of the lamp. The ends of the lamp may be hotter. Curve 900 illustrates the relative efficiency for a particular lamp. Other fluorescent lamps will have curves with different characteristics, but a similar overall shape.

[0059] Relative efficiency 910 is measured as the relative light output (luminance) compared to the rated light output at room temperature (about 25°C), which is defined as 100% efficiency. As the lamp temperature is typically 25°C above room temperature, Figure 16 shows 100% efficiency achieved at about 5O0C. Luminances, which are greater than those achieved at room temperature, correspond to lamp efficiencies that are greater than 100%.

[0060] A region 930 of curve 900 shows that the lamp exhibits low efficiency at low temperatures. The low efficiency may be attributable to either the conversion from electrical energy to UV light or the conversion from UV light to visible light. A region 940 shows a region of optimal light output, where the region has a peak 945 around 78°C. The specific size of region 940 may vary for each lamp and may depend on the specific requirements for the efficiency or light output for a certain application of the lamp. For example, a small range (75°C-85°C) around the peak maybe required or a larger range (600C-15000C) may be sufficient.

[0061] A region 950 shows reduced efficiency at temperatures greater than the optimal region. At these high temperatures, the amount of energy absorbed by the electrons of the gas or the phosphors may be decreased, and the amount of energy absorbed by the nuclei may have increased. Also, the movement of the excited electrons to lower energy levels may no longer be readily available and more of the absorbed energy within the gas or phosphors is kept as heat (thermal energy). Thus, lamps may operate inefficiently in a high ambient temperature, as well as a low ambient temperature.

[0062] As a consequence of the relative efficiency being dependent on temperature, the light output and the heat output are also dependent on the operating temperature. Figure 10 is a plot 1000 showing the heat output 1010, relative efficiency 1020, and light output 1030 vs. temperature of the lamp for a given input power 1040. Input power 1040 is approximately equal to the sum of light output 1030 and heat output 1010. Relative efficiency 1020 is approximately at its highest when heat output 1010 is at its lowest and light output 1030 is at it highest.

[0063] Heat output 1010 increases at operating temperatures higher than that of peak efficiency. This may be because less energy (current) is going into the light output and more into heating up the gas, the phosphor coating, and/or the electrodes. Thus, for the operation in the refrigerated cold case, operating in a higher efficiency range can also be beneficial because at such temperatures, less heat needs to be removed from the cold case to keep the cold case at its desired temperature.

3. Achieving an optimal temperature range

[0064] To provide optimal efficiency, the amount of heat dissipated by the lamp is controlled in order to regulate the operating temperature of a lamp. Figure 1 1 illustrates a plot 1100 of different levels 1 1 10-1130 of heat dissipation resulting in different operating temperatures. The steady-state operation of a lamp is determined by the intersection of a heat dissipation curve 11 10-1130 and the heat output curve 1140. The operating temperature is the temperature at which the power generated by the lamp is just perfectly matched by the power being radiated away from the lamp, and thus a steady-state is achieved. The operating temperature determines the point on the efficiency curve 1150 in which the lamp operates.

[0065] Curve 1110 represents the heat dissipated solely through thermal radiation as a function of lamp temperature. From the classic analytical solution of radiation between two cylinders, radiated power depends on the fourth power of the temperature difference between the radiating surfaces. Thus, curve 1 1 10 rises slowly but then increases rapidly as temperature increases. Embodiments can achieve this type of level of heat dissipation by providing a vacuum insulation layer, the shapes of which can be controlled with differing materials of different emissivity.

[0066] Curves 1120 and 1 130 represent heat due to convection, which provides a more linear heat dissipation with much higher slopes. An appropriate level of heat dissipation may be chosen based on a particular application based on, for example, the ambient temperature, lamp used, and desired light output. Embodiments can achieve these types of levels of heat dissipation with layers of a fluid (or a solid device) acting as insulation or heat sinks (pipes). Different shapes and values of curves (levels) falling in between these curves or on either side of these curves may be obtained with different embodiments of the present invention.

[0067] Figure 12 shows a method 1200 of designing a lamp according to an embodiment of the present invention. In one aspect, method 1200 optimizes the light output of a lamp. In step 1210, a peak in an operating efficiency of a lamp is identified as a function of temperature. In one aspect, the efficiency corresponds to an amount of light output. In step 1220, an amount of heat dissipated is controlled, such that the balance of heat generated by the lamp and the heat dissipated creates an operating temperature that is within a specified range of the peak. In one aspect, the amount of heat dissipated is controlled by a level of insulation. In another aspect, the amount of heat dissipated is controlled by a heat dissipation member, such as a heat sink or heat pipe.

4. Self-heating

[0068] If the ambient environmental temperature is room temperature (or even slightly above) or below, then a lamp in a cold case should be heated to improve efficiency. This may be done with an additional heat source, however this requires more energy and that may negate the efficiency gains. Also, when operating in a refrigerated cold case, this extra energy must be removed to maintain a cool environment. Alternatively, heat output 1 140 from the lamp could be used to raise the temperature of the lamp itself. To utilize the heat generated, the dissipation of this heat is controlled.

[0069] Figure 13 shows a lamp assembly 1300 according to an embodiment of the present invention. A lamp 1310 is positioned within a sleeve 1320. An intermediate region 1330 between lamp 1310 and sleeve 1320 allows for control of an insulation layer. In one embodiment, region 1330 is a vacuum such that the only appreciable heat dissipated is thermal radiation. However, for some lamps and environments, too much heat is retained and too little heat is dissipated when a vacuum is used. Accordingly, in other embodiments, different pressures of different gases may be used to fill region 1330. For example, instead of a vacuum, a gas at a pressure of half of standard atmosphere (atm) may be used. In another embodiment, an outer enclosure 1350 may provide further insulation.

[0070] Figure 14 shows a table 1400 of different CCFL lamps 705 and the operating temperatures 1410 achieved with different levels of insulation. Optimal temperatures are defined to be in the range from 600C-IOO0C. Marginal efficiency is achieved with temperatures of 35C-59C and 101C-130C as the lamps continue to function at greater than 50% of rated efficiency. Poor efficiency is obtained with temperatures of 1 C-37C and 131 C and up.

[0071] Columns 1415 show the operating temperatures achieved with a vacuum within region 1330. The insulation is so great that these CCFLs provide poor efficiency. As can be seen, slightly higher temperatures are achieved using outer enclosure 1350.

[0072] Columns 1420 show the operating temperatures achieved using krypton within region 1330 at approximately one atm. For CCFL 1401 , krypton provides an optimal temperature. This is because the krypton dissipates heat due to convective heat transfer, and thus more heat is dissipated which brings down the temperature of the lamp compared to using a vacuum. The use of gas can lead to a less expensive manufacturing of the lamp assembly since a vacuum does not have to be created and/or maintained.

[0073] Columns 1425 show the operating temperatures achieved using argon within region 1430 at approximately one atm. With outer enclosure 1350, air provides optimal temperature ranges for the first twelve CCFLs. Columns 1430 show the operating temperatures achieved using air within region 1330 at approximately one atm. With outer enclosure 1350, air provides optimal temperature ranges for the first nine CCFLs. As air is cheaper than the inert noble gases, this would be a more economical method of insulation. Air would also be more consistent insulation since leaks would not affect the performance as much.

[0074] As argon is lighter than krypton, it conducts more heat. Heat transfer is governed by the thermal conductivity of the gas. Thus, the performance difference between air, argon, and krypton is due directly to their respective differences in thermal conductivity. For a gas, energy transfer occurs due to the collision of individual molecules moving around randomly due to thermal excitation at the ambient temperature. For a heavier gas, the molecules will be moving slower at a given temperature (to carry the same kinetic energy), and hence will collide less often. Due to this mechanism, thermal conductivity scales with the inverse square root of molecular mass. Thus, krypton insulation leads to a higher steady-state bulb temperature than air or argon insulation, but a lower temperature than vacuum insulation. In general, heavier gases are better insulators than lighter gases.

[0075] In another embodiment, only a partial vacuum is employed. In this manner, the level is insulation can be adjusted by controlling the number of atoms in region 1330. Given that any pressure may be achieved, the insulation may be adjusted to any level.

[0076] In another embodiment, gap 1340 may be varied to provide differing amounts of insulation. A change in the gap does not significantly affect the operating temperature when using a vacuum, but a change in the gap does affect the operating temperatures when using a gas. An increasing gap typically provides more insulation, and thus higher operating temperatures. Typical values for gap 1340 are lmm-5mm.

[0077] In another embodiment, the thermal radiation is limited. This may be accomplished by putting a coating with a low emissivity on the inner surface of the sleeve. In instances where heat dissipation is to be encouraged, high emissivity coatings may be used. [0078] With the thermal systems shown, it is possible to choose any available lamp on the basis of efficacy, lifetime, color temperature, and form factor. The lamp choice will then dictate the appropriate thermal management system. The self-heating would typically be required as long as the optimal temperature range is greater than 10-20C above ambient.

5. Cooling

[0079] If the ambient temperature is near or greater than the upper end of the optimal operating range, then heat absorbed from the ambient environment is reduced and heat is dissipated though other mechanisms.

[0080] A heat sink may be used. High emissivity coatings or materials are used for enclosures. A vacuum insulation is used to prevent heat from the environment reaching the lamp.

6. Optimizing energy usage

[0081] The heat dissipated can also be controlled by varying the input power. Less input power means that less heat is created and thus probably dissipated. Figure 15 illustrates the effect of input power on the steady-state operating temperatures. Curve 1510 shows that the more input power the greater the steady-state operating temperatures. Varying the lamp power from 2-15 watts, we see that the lamp steady-state temperature varies from 10-80C. The increase in the input power essentially has the result of increasing heat output curve 1140 by a vertical offset so that the intersection occurs at a higher temperature so that more heat is dissipated. However, with less input power, there is less relative efficiency compared to the rated light output, which is measured at the rated power. Curve 1520 shows that efficiency increases with more input power.

[0082] Figure 16 illustrates the effect of input power on the light output and the system power. As with the total efficiency, curve 1610 shows that the light output increases with input power. However, curve 1620 shows the system power also increases with input power. The real bottom line of this analysis is the tradeoff between light output and power consumption. In this case, considering the lamp efficiency in isolation is somewhat shortsighted, considering the poor thermodynamic efficiency of most freezers. If we consider the freezer power required to remove the heat generated by the lamp, we can estimate the total power required for the lighting system.

[0083] For example, for a nominal 7W lamp, the system power (including lamp power and the refrigeration power needed to remove the heat generated by the lamp) is approximately 120W. Thus, an important decision is picking the correct lamp, based on a combination of total power, temperature versus efficiency curves (taking into account the expected operating temperature), and light output required.

[0084] Figure 17 illustrates a method 1700 of optimizing energy usage by a lamp. In step 1705, a light output range is specified. The light output range may be simply be a minimum light output value, and thus the range is any light output equal to or greater than the minimum specified. In one embodiment, the minimum light output is expressed as in any unit of luminance or percentage thereof. In step, 1710, an ambient temperature is specified. In one embodiment, the ambient temperature is lower than room temperature, such as in a refrigerated cold case. In another embodiment, the ambient temperature is higher than room temperature, such as in a type of oven.

[0085] In step 1715, a peak in an operating efficiency of a lamp is identified as a function of temperature. In one aspect, the efficiency corresponds to an amount of light output. In step 1720, an initial input power is specified. In step 1725, an amount of heat dissipated is adjusted, such that balance of heat generated and dissipated creates an operating temperature that is within a range of the peak.

[0086] In step 1730, a determination of whether the light output is within the specified range. If the light output is not within the specified range, then in step 1735, the input power is changed. If the light output is less than the specified range, the input power is increased. If the light output is greater than the specified range, the input power is decreased. Steps 1725-1735 are repeated until the light output is within a specified range. Once the light output is within the specified range, the process is done at step 1040.

[0087] Method 1700 may be repeated for multiple lamps. The lamp with the lowest input power may then be selected for use. Additionally, a total system power may be detected for each lamp, and the lamp that provides the lowest system power may be selected. In some embodiments, the lamp wit the lowest input power and the lowest system power will be the same lamp.

[0088] Measurements, identifications of peaks, and other analysis described herein can be determined by experiment or by computer modeling. 7. Lamp assemblies and sensors

[0089] Several embodiments of the present invention include a multiple of different sensor array configurations. For example, the top array can include door open/air velocity/temperature-humidity sensors. RFID antennas on each shelf can be connected through the light. Also, connector jacks at the bottom of the light can connect to frame temp sensors, ice/frost sensors at the coils and pan. Dew point/temp/humidity sensors can be located in the power supply mounted in the kick panel (outside the case) to measure ambient conditions. Each circuit can have a metering chip to provide individual circuit power use changes.

[0090] Light sensors inside the light fixture can give feedback to maintain a certain light level, or, as a means to determine if a light was contracted to be brighter than the others was attained. For example, a company may pay to highlight the shelves with their products and the system can verify the extra highlighting through a combination of brighter measured light and the corresponding increase in energy usage.

[0091] Radial spacers block air/thermal/gas flows, and touch the inner part of the outer tube; which leads to conduction from the outside to the lamp wall. Accordingly, in one embodiment, a star, or similar, spacer alleviates that by touching the lamp and inner part of outer tube in spots, rather than in the entirety of the circumference of the lamp and the inner part of the outer tube. It also permits thermal flows, as well as gas flows when evacuating the tube and backfilling with gases.

B. Electronic control and sensor system

[0092] Figure 3 illustrates a lighting and control system 300 according to an embodiment of the invention. A set of control parameters, either preset or manually or automatically entered into the case controller 305, controls light strips (lamp assemblies) 310. In one aspect, this done through a connection 315, which may be an Ethernet connection using an RJ45 connector (or other suitable connector), USB, or Firewire, or through a wireless connection, such as Wi-Fi. Case controller 305 also receives data from sensors in light strips 310. These sensors may be employed as described in Figure 2.

[0093] In one embodiment, case controller 305 includes a processor 320 that is configured to run control and monitoring processes based at least partly on the sensing data from light strips 310. These data provide inputs to and/or feedbacks into the control algorithms run by processor 320, and are evaluated with respect to the control parameters maintained in memory 325, which may be RAM, flash memory, or any other suitable type of memory, including read-only memory if such control parameters are not to be altered.

[0094] In one embodiment, case controller 305 receives a standard voltage 331 (such as 120 VAC) from a freezer case 330. In one aspect, voltage 331 is received through a terminal block 321. Processor 320 determines a voltage 332 to deliver to light strips 310.

[0095] In other embodiments, processor 320 can control other devices within freezer case 330, such as door/frame heater circuit 333, fan circuit 334, and defrost circuit 335. Each of these circuits may have sensors that determine specific environmental data, as well as properties of that circuit, such as the current passing through each circuit. For example, a defrost circuit 335 could not only power the defroster, but also the ice sensor which would detect the buildup of ice. In general, the circuits can provide power, data connections or both, depending on how these component systems are configured. Additionally, each component system's configuration can be different. In the preferred embodiment, processor 320 can control the voltage (power) going to these circuits according to code that receives input from sensors from light strips 310 and from sensors within the circuits themselves.

[0096] Examples of sensors include sensors that sense whether a door is open, contaminants or leakage (such as Freon) in the cold storage unit, airflow within the cold storage unit, and airspeed within said at least one cold storage unit. Sensors can also detect the presence and/or location at least one of ice and condensation within said at least one cold storage unit.

[0097] The case controller 305 can be configured to accept data and other inputs from its own set of sensors and components systems, from other controllers 305 that are networked together, or both. As detailed in the drawings case controller 305 may communicate to other case controllers and with a store controller 350. The communication may be done by any suitable wired or wireless protocol. In one embodiment, a Zigbee™ device 340 is used to communicate using radio signals. Store controller 350 can also be accessed through the Internet and/or web services 355.

[0098] These various internal networks and internet connections allow for the controllers to send data, alerts, and other information to various third parties which can communicate with the controllers. The data that is sent may be stored in a log before being sent out. The third parties may be other devices (e.g., computers, pagers, cell phones) which convert the information sent into a graphical or textual form understandable by an end user, affording the ability for both local and remote personnel to interact with the system. The third party may also be an outside compliance monitoring system, e.g. FDA cold chain compliance system

[0099] The amount of data sent to a particular device may be based on a functional capability of that device. The amount of data may also be based on a status associated with that device, such as the person who is the main user of a device (such as a manager of a store, an energy provider, personnel at headquarters of the stores, a service company, or an energy management company). Accordingly, in some embodiments some devices get only a minimal data set, and other devices get increasing amounts of data from a particular system or from multiple systems. For example, the data sent to a monitoring computer for a specific store can then be sent to a computer at a headquarters, where the data is consolidated with data from other stores.

[0100] In addition to accessing information from the system, or updating/altering various values and/or parameters, the various components of the cold storage unit, via the controller and network interface, can be accessed discretely, or at the system or subsystem level. At the component level, the refrigeration management system 300 includes relays; current sensors; MCU; Zigbee; temp/RH/dew point/air velocity, infrared, and ultrasonic sensor arrays; etc. Referring to the earlier example of the motion/presence detection sensors which were networked in order to determine when a customer entered an aisle (and in so doing, turning on the internal aisle sensors), the system could allow remote access to these sensors as a group, or to discrete sensors within the group, for instance, just the end nodes. Using such access, a third party who was monitoring the system could reduce the polling time of just the end sensors, making the system more responsive while slightly decreasing the energy consumed.

C. Energy management of a store

[0101] Lighting and control system 300 may be used in an environment where it is desired that products be illuminated, and environmental data may be used to optimize the running of the lighting or other electrical systems. In one embodiment, lighting and control system 300 provides optimization of the lighting and running of product within a freezer case of a grocery store.

[0102] Figure 4 illustrates a layout 400 of a grocery store according to an embodiment of the present invention. The system has various controllers of various capabilities, some single-function, some multi-function, some networked, some non-networked. [0103] In one aspect, an office and storage area 410 contains a store controller 450. The store controller 450 may reside anywhere within the store for communicating with other devices, but typically store controller 450 would be placed within an employee only area. Layout 400 has aisles 415 of products, such as frozen foods, bread, produce, canned foods, etc. Aisles 415 usually have shelves with products of food, but may have other arrangements.

[0104] Store controller 450 receives data from controllers at different places within the store. The data can allow enough granularity such that energy usage of lighting of the products for a particular aisle or within a particular display case, temperatures of those products or the cases they are in, energy usage of devices used to maintain temperatures for those products, and environmental conditions used to optimize the energy usage of various electrical devices within those aisle or display cases, can be reported and analyzed. For example, networked, multi-function controllers 420 within frozen food aisle 425 can communicate data regarding the energy usage of the refrigerator and the lighting of the products within the freezer cases. It can also communicate data based on other sensors which provide a means to interact with and capture data from products, grocery store carts, etc., as well as sensors designed to facilitate energy efficiency by noting when customers are actually in that aisle, or more discretely, in front of a particular display case.

[0105] One of the networked, single function controllers 430 within beverage or deli aisles 435 may communicate only display case temperature; another may communicate only the lighting condition of the display case, and another may communicate fan motor operations. Non-networked, single function controllers 440 within kiosks 445 may track access to product within the kiosk wherein the data is accessed via physical interaction with the kiosk.

[0106] Figure 5 illustrates a process 500 of communicating data within, between, and to/from stores according to an embodiment of the present invention. Case controller 510, which may correspond to controller 305 or 420, receives data from light strips 51 1 and power from power supply 512. In one embodiment, case controller 510 is within a frozen food case 520, which is in a frozen food aisle 525 of a store 530. Case controller 510 communicates with store controller 550 through a communication 540, which may use a Zigbee device 545.

[0107] Store controller 550 may then communicate any data to other stores 560 through communication 565 and/or to a controlling hub 570 through communication 575. Controlling hub 570 may send control signals through communications 540, 565, and 575 to case controller 510. These control signals may control light strips 51 1 or other devices within freezer case 520, such as defrost or door heaters.

[0108] Figure 6 illustrates a system 600 for controlling a cold case according to an embodiment of the present invention. Controller 610 provides a voltage or current control of, for example, subsystems of lighting 611, door heater 612, pan defrost 613, coil defrost 614, and fans 615. Controller 610 includes an MCU 620, temperature 622, RH 624, a battery backup 626, and a network interface 628, such as a Zigbee communications node. The network interfaces may be part of a local area network, with one of them acting as a central hub, with another device acting as a central hub, or where the network is distributed with no central hub.

[0109] Sensors 630 in light strips 635 allow the measurement of temperature and other previously mentioned environmental values (such as air velocity). Sensors in the other systems allow measurement of current, environmental values mentioned herein, and physical data such as whether a freezer door is ajar.

D. Software protocol and Control Parameters

[0110] The algorithms used for evaluating the various control parameters used in the operation of the myriad subsystems or specific components, including the voltages and currents applied to different subsystems and devices, may be uploaded to each case controller as firmware. In one aspect, the firmware does not require any communication with the controlling hub and/or the store controller for operation of a case controller. Thus, the control parameters are said to be "preset", and that specific cold storage unit can run in an autonomous fashion.

[0111] In one embodiment, the firmware contains different protocols for running in different modes based on environmental factors. For example, there could be one mode for running during the day and one mode for running at night. A mode may specify which devices are turned on, their specific operational characteristics, and what level of power is delivered to each device. Each device controlled by the case controller could have one mode or multiple modes for a given protocol. Further, in evaluating the control parameters for each protocol, the controller may alter the operational characteristics in order to meet some desired goal.

[0112] In another embodiment, a protocol depends upon the current price of energy. For example, a controller may send specific values for the energy pricing (or just levels such as high, medium, or low) which triggers running of different protocols. Each case controller would then evaluate its set of control parameters for its various systems and component parts in order to achieve maximum operational efficiency. Alternately, the controller may send new firmware when the protocol changes, may alter the control parameters of a specific protocol, and/or may change the values associated with a particular parameter. The term alter or modify encompasses changing a value of a parameter as well as adding or deleing a parameter from a mode of operation and the methods and algorithms employed in such operation. The control parameters may be altered in many ways, such as via input from the sensors, from data sent by a third party, according to firm

[0113] To further expand on the above example, consider a store controller that receives notice of an energy price spike. The store controller would notify each case controller within its network of the price spike, and each case controller would then attempt to reduce its energy draw.

[0114] In a first case controller receiving the energy spike notice, the controller was attempting to react to a high temperature alert, that is, the case temperature exceeded the value set by the local control parameters. Additionally, a sensor in a display case within this specific cold storage unit had also sent a notice that a door was covered with condensation. The case controller would evaluate each of these requirements, based on the current protocol and control parameters, and act to reduce total energy consumed, e.g., it would not activate the anti-sweat heaters, and would dim the lights in order to reduce the cooling load.

[0115] If the energy pricing remains high, the lighting may be turned off or dimmed in the cold storage unit in its entirety, defrost circuits would not be activated, etc. In one aspect, certain devices that are deemed non-critical are turned off first when pricing becomes very high. In another aspect, the system may provide for a manual override that allows a different protocol to be run, or for various control parameters to be altered. For example, if a store manager knows that the store is busy, he may choose to keep the energy levels at normal even if the cost of energy is high, as might happen on the 4th of July.

[0116] The system may also have various embodiments which allow it to overcome or recover from various communications related errors. In certain embodiments, the system has redundant communications components which allow communications with multiple networks via different protocols. In another embodiment, the system comprises both wired and wireless communications links. In still another embodiment, the system's control algorithms comprise various fall-back and fail safe protocols that are designed for instances when communications with other controllers or third parties is temporarily unavailable.

II. Applications Using System

[0117] The energy and lighting management system presented above may be used in a variety of ways.

A. Workflow automation

[0118] Figure 7 illustrates a method 700 of controlling energy usage within a store according to an embodiment of the present invention. Sensor data from various system sensors is received 710. This data is evaluated 720 with respect to the control parameters that are instantiated by protocol load into the system 705. The sensor data received can generate various commands 730 issued by the case controller which govern the operations of the systems 731 , including requesting more information from various sensors 732. In some instances the controller can generate alerts 740 (e.g., door open, motor no longer operating) which are forwarded to external parties for resolution.

[0119] For example, the system can generate automated workflow requests and track these requests to their conclusion 750. Take the scenario of a product which has fallen and lodged itself in such a way that a door is stopped from closing. If the door is stuck ajar, even slightly, the temperature in that storage unit will begin to increase. The system will notice this increase, and if it continues outside of the normal bounds, the system may request additional information from various sensors. After evaluating the sensor data, (e.g., various temperature sensors, airflow sensors), the system will make a determination that the temperature is at variance only within a specific display case, and that the rate of change of temperature is not being caused by a defect within any of the internal systems, leading to a conclusion that a door is open. The system then generates an alert which is broadcast via the network, to local personnel. In a similar fashion the system can generate a maintenance request, for instance, if it notices that a motor is not operating within proper bounds.

B. Self-Metering Lights For ProvidinR Contracted Amount Of Light or other service energy curtailment

[0120] A light level sensor is connected peripherally to a lamp so that a controller of a lamp detects the light, and thereby adjusts the light output accordingly. The sensed amount of light is used as input to increase or decrease the power input to the light, such that a predetermined amount of light is produced. The predetermined amount of light may be specified by any number of different business requirements. For instance, the predetermined amount of light may be a guaranteed light output as specified by the buyer or seller of the lamp, or specified by a third party whose products are being illuminated by the lamps. This third party may pay the lamp seller (or energy services provider) for a higher than average light output, and the lamp seller may pay the lamp buyer for increased energy costs and a lower lamp life.

[0121] A light level sensor may also be used to detect a overall light level within the cold storage unit. In one embodiment, this light level sensor may detect how much light is received inside the cold storage unit from light sources outside of the cold storage unit. This may be done, for example, when internal lighting is turned off.

[0122] In one embodiment, the light level may be adjusted in accordance with a third party desires for that party's products to be illuminated more than other products, thus increasing sales of those products.

C. Adjusting Of Lifihts Based On Occupancy Sensor

[0123] Energy is wasted when lights are kept at a maximum illumination even though nobody is viewing a product within a cold case. The lamps within a cold case are kept off or at a reduced light output level as a default. The existence of a consumer as detected by an occupancy and/or motion sensor triggers a lamp to be turned on to a higher light output level. The lamps of each door of a cold case could be connected to a different sensor. Thus, light can be dimmed/boosted in steps or in granular adjustment from 0 to 150% or more of the rated output, and the dimming or boosting can track consumers as they move near the cold storage unit

[0124] In other embodiments, the light output changes can be triggered by other sensors tied to either maintenance or replenishment equipment. For example, RFID tags can be applied to pallet typically used in stores for bulk movements of products. As the pallet approaches a particular location, the RFID chip is sensed by the system, which determines not only that it is a pallet, but which pallet, and what products where loaded onto it. The system would then engage only those lights where the pallet was expected to be based on its product load.

As agreement to turn down or off lights [0125] Various power companies have contracted with high energy users in an effort to reduce the power draw of these users during peak power events. The present invention, through the ability of the system to transmit to and receive data from third parties (e.g. through a communications and control link via a network interface) finally allows the granularity required to properly implement these types of contracts. Prior to the current invention, a power company (energy supplier) experiencing a peak load would have to reduce power to various customers or geographic locations, resulting in either a brown out or a black out. Brown outs can be especially problematic in that certain equipment is extremely sensitive to variations in input current and voltage. (This is different than a black out where the power is simply lost and the equipment merely shuts down.) With the present invention, the power companies have the ability to access customer equipment, evaluate its status or state, and negotiate, in real time, which of the customer's equipment can operate on reduced power or be turned off. Alternatively, the customer can negotiate in bulk with the power supplier, and adjust its internal operations to match the resultant reduction in input power.

[0126] When confronted with a reduced input energy situation, the present invention affords a unique level of granularity in the control of which systems will be operational, and even which features of which systems will be operational. As the controller knows the operational parameters of all of the related subsystems, it knows the discrete power draw for each component, and can determine, based on the available input power, which components can be turned on. For example, upon receiving notice of an energy reduction, a supermarket could automatically dim all or some portion of their lights, and turn off the compressors on the cooling systems of the cold storage units, reduce door heater and defrost run times, etc..

D. RFlD tracking of advertisements

[0127] In the consumer goods (CG) realm, product placement and advertisement are closely tracked to determine effectiveness. In addition to attempting to calculate return on investment, there now exists a legal requirement to properly track advertisements as companies must now prove whether or not ads were actually placed, and if so, whether they were placed in the proper location for the prescribed amount of time.

[0128] Under Sarbanes-Oxley, a CG company needs to provide proof that an ad was put up. Currently, the proof may be provided by people visiting a sample of stores and visually inspecting the ads. However, the cost of hiring human samplers is high, and under currently financial regulations this cost is not expensible. Additionally, since the human samplers only visit a limited number of stores, the accuracy is limited.

[0129] Several embodiments of the present invention overcome limitations in manpower, and accuracy by allowing the system to automatically track advertisements placed in or near a cold storage unit. For example, a frozen food company wishes to advertise its frozen peas. The company pays the supermarket to place its static ads in each freezer case where the product would be found. The static ads contain RFID tags which can be tracked by sensors in the system. Thus, the system knows and can report on both the location of a particular RFID tag (and in so doing, the location of a particular add) and the time stamps pertinent to that tag (that is, when the tag became present in the cold storage unit and when it left).

E. Automatic Tracking of Info

[0130] RFID tracking is not limited to advertisements. Several embodiments of the present invention allow for tracking not only component systems but products and consumers. Certain embodiments of the present system also afford the capability to calculate probabilities for when a certain product was selected by a particular consumer. An example of such a system includes RFID tags associated with shopping carts or shopping baskets, and mechanisms for determining the location of particular products on a shelf within a cold storage unit. These mechanisms can include RFID tags on each product, or something as simple as a pressure sensor which determines when a product has been placed or removed from a shelf. By combining these two tracking capabilities, the store can determine within some measure of probability that: a) shopping cart "123" was positioned in front of freezer case "A", and the door of freezer case A was opened, and that one package of frozen peas was removed. Thus, depending on the number of other consumers in that aisle or near that display case, the probability that the frozen peas were placed into shopping cart "123" can be ascertained.

[0131] In another embodiment, the system enables compliance with various tracking requirements. For example, there is FDA cold chain tracking; and EPA refrigerant level tracking.

[0132] Additionally, various embodiments of the present invention allow for combining the ad data tracking with consumer behavior tracking. For example, the display cases can be configured with dynamic display units capable of broadcasting text, graphical or combined sales and marketing message to passing consumers. Again, the system affords the ability to track certain aspects of the consumers' behavior, and marry those data with the timestamps (and locations) of the dynamic ads in order to evaluate their success or failure.

F. Controlling a demand defrost

[0133] Refrigerated cases have defrost systems that heat the evaporator coils to melt excess ice/frost from the coils. As that melted ice turns to water, the water flows down a pan to the drain. This pan is heated to allow this flow. The defrosting is usually performed on a timed cyclical basis, whether defrosting is needed or not, and not always at the time of cheapest energy rates. The energy consumed for this process is great and the cost of energy at the times it may be performed is variable,

[0134] To provide better efficiency, only enough energy is transmitted to the defrost heaters when needed. Thus, only a minimal amount of energy that is required is used and the timing may be selected when energy costs are relatively cheap. In particular, the timing may be chosen when costs are typically the cheapest based on known patterns of energy costs.

[0135] A sensor detects ice/frost build up sends a signal (e.g. as feedback) to a controller that applies energy to the heater only when needed to eliminate the incremental ice/frost build up, and at the times when energy costs are lowest. This reduces the overall energy consumption of the defrost system, as well as the recovery time needed for the refrigeration to eliminate the heat built up in the cold case from the defrost period, and at the times when energy costs are at their lowest.

G. Monitoring defective fans

[0136] Monitoring of fan motor defects has not been a function of refrigeration monitoring or control systems, but it is a major factor contributing to losses from spoiled food when a refrigerator malfunctions. Monitoring fan motor defects is a key function that can be monitored to eliminate these losses. Failure of one motor is typically undetected until a second or more motors fails, and that is when there is mass product spoilage. However, there are also residual losses until the second motor goes down, that are not tracked. These are from one-off product returns when one defective motor results in a higher temperature in a particular zone in the case, which shortens shelf life. Using the present invention, these losses are not just reduced, but eliminated. At 1 % margins, eliminating these losses equates to an increase in grocery sales of $600,000 to $1,000,000 per store.

[0137] Certain embodiments of the present invention allow for multi-sensor input which an determine and isolate these events much more quickly than previously possible. In one form of these embodiments, the sensors detect defective motor through monitoring of the motor circuit for the case. A drop in current means a motor is broken. In other embodiments, the systems polls the temperature of each sensor in the case, and combines that data with the airflow and/or airspeed data to determine which motors are running and which are not. In either scenario the system can automatically generate an alert for store personnel to remove product before it spoils, and issue an electronic maintenance request to replace the defective equipment before products are lost.

H. Controlling door heaters

[0138] The anti-sweat heaters may be turned off and on based on dew point, temperature, and/or humidity measurements, taken at one or more locations either inside and outside the case.

[0139] In one embodiment, the frequency of the door opening and closing is measured and used to determine when the anti-sweat heaters should be turned on.

[0140] The energy usage of a store may be accesses via a web application or the data may be downloaded into a local application. A store manager (user) can view the energy used for a particular aisle (such as the freezer aisle), and for a specific freezer case. Data at a headquarters can be viewed for energy usage of a particular store (just as a manager can) and data consolidated from multiple stores can be analyzed to detect usage patterns, for example, to identify energy costs that may be targeted for reducing.

[0141] Any of the software components or functions described in this application, may be implemented as software code to be executed by a processor using any suitable computer language such as, for example, Java, C++ or Perl using, for example, conventional or object- oriented techniques. The software code may be stored as a series of instructions, or commands on a computer readable medium, such as a random access memory (RAM), a read only memory (ROM), a magnetic medium such as a hard-drive or a floppy disk, or an optical medium such as a CD-ROM. Any such computer readable medium may reside on or within a single computational apparatus, along with a processor which can execute instructions on the computer readable medium, and may be present on or within different computational apparatuses within a system or network.

[0142] The above description of exemplary embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form described, and many modifications and variations are possible in light of the teaching above. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A system for controlling an operation of at least one cold storage unit, wherein items in said cold storage unit are held at a temperature below 100C, said system comprising: one or more controllers, each communicably coupled with at least one memory that stores a set of control parameters; one or more sensors, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers; one or more one network interfaces, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers, wherein at least one of the network interfaces communicates with a network; wherein the cold storage unit has a plurality of component systems, at least one of which is a cooling system; wherein the controllers, upon evaluating said control parameters, provide a single integrated control for the component systems within said at least one cold storage unit.
2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the system monitors said control parameters, and notifies at least one third party via said network when at least one value for at least one of said parameters falls outside of a predetermined range.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is a device capable of receiving at least one of graphical information and text-based information.
4. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is a device wherein at least one set of lights displays status information within said at least one cold storage unit.
5. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is a device capable of transmitting at least one of graphical information and text-based to the controllers.
6. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is a device capable of converting at least one of graphical and text-based information input by an end user into a form usable by said system.
7. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is located within said at least one cold storage unit.
8. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is located external from but near said at least one cold storage unit.
9. The system of claim 2, wherein said third party is at a location remote from said at least one cold storage unit.
10. The system of claim 2, wherein said system receives and/or transmits data from/to said third party in near real time.
11. The system of claim 2, wherein data received from said third party alters at least one operation of said at least one cold storage unit.
12. The system of claim 11, wherein the data received from said third party modifies at least one of the control parameters.
13. The system of claim 11 , wherein the data received from said third party modifies at least one value in said control parameters.
14. The system of claim 11, wherein the data alters the operations of multiple cold storage units simultaneously.
15. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the data received from said third party includes an identification of a discrete cold storage unit associated with said data.
16. The system of claim 2, wherein data transmitted to/from the system is saved in a log.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the data saved in a log is transmitted to an outside compliance monitoring system., i.e. FDA cold chain compliance system.
18. The system of claim 2, wherein signals sent to/from the system to the third party provide a tracking of RFID tagged items.
19. The system of claim 2, wherein data received from the third party provides energy management of the cold storage unit.
20. The system of claim 2, wherein data sent to a plurality of discrete third parties is consolidated by at least one separate third party.
21. The system of claim 1 , wherein at least one of the network interfaces is in a communications and control link with an energy supplier, whereby said energy supplier can remotely control an amount of energy used by at least one component of said at least one cold storage unit.
22. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one cold storage unit is at least one of a refrigerated display case, a frozen food display case, a walk-in refrigerator, walk-in freezer, a refrigerated warehouse, a non-commercial refrigerator, and a noncommercial freezer.
23. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one cold storage unit is portable.
24. The system of claim 1, wherein a sensor can detect at least one of temperature and humidity.
25. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the sensors includes a light level sensor.
26. The system of claim 25, wherein said light level sensor detects the level of light within a light assembly or within the cold storage unit.
27. The system of claim 25, wherein said light level sensor detects the level of light outside of the cold storage unit.
28. The system of claim 1, wherein the sensors include at least one of a motion detector sensor, a pressure sensor, an occupancy sensor, and a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) reader.
29 . The system of claim 1, wherein one or more of the sensors sense at least one of whether a door is open, contaminants in the cold storage unit, airflow within the cold storage unit, and airspeed within said at least one cold storage unit.
30 . The system of claim 1 , wherein one or more of the sensors detect the presence and/or location at least one of ice and condensation within said at least one cold storage unit.
31. The system of claim 1 , wherein one or more of the sensors senses the operational qualities of at least one component system within said cold storage unit.
32. The system of claim 31 , wherein the component systems includes at least one of a fan system, a dehumidifier system, a lighting system, a defrost system, an anti-sweat heater controller system, an HVAC system, and a heat exchanger system.
33. The system of claim 1, wherein said control parameters are preset.
34. The system of claim 1, wherein said control parameters are able to be altered based on input from at least one of the sensors.
35. The system of claim 1 , wherein said control parameters are able to be altered by a third party.
36. The system of claim 1, wherein the controllers adjust operations of at least one component system within said at least one cold storage unit based on said control parameters.
37. The system of claim 36, wherein said at least one component system includes at least one of a door heater system, a defroster system, the cooling system, a fan system, an anti-sweat heater system, and a lighting system.
38. The system of claim 36, wherein a controller is capable of controlling the power delivered to the cold storage unit.
39. The system of claim 36, wherein a controller is capable of controlling the power delivered to at least one component within said cold storage unit.
40. The system of claim 36, wherein a controller creates a log of data reported by at least one of the sensors.
41. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a shelf network platform (SNP), wherein said SNP includes a plurality of shelves and a plurality of lamp assemblies, wherein said shelves lie in separate horizontal planes, and said lamp assemblies are configured to illuminate an externally visible portion of at least one shelf.
42. The system of claim 41, wherein said SNP further includes at least one static display unit.
43. The system of claim 42, wherein said at least one static display unit includes at least one of a back lit strip advertisement, an edge lit strip advertisement, a back lit price label, an edge lit price label, a non-illuminated strip advertisement, a non-illuminated strip advertisement, and a non-illuminated price label.
44. The system of claim 41 , wherein said SNP further includes at least one dynamic display unit.
45. The system of claim 44, wherein a controller determines time stamps for when an advertisement was displayed on said at least one dynamic display unit.
46. The system of claim 44, wherein said at least one dynamic display unit displays at least one of text messages, video, and advertisements of products contained within said at least one cold storage unit.
47. The system of claim 41 , wherein a controller determines time stamps for when an advertisement was displayed on at least one shelf.
48. The system of claim 1 , wherein the sensors include at least one RFlD sensor that can read an RFID tag, and wherein the RFID tag is associated with at least one of a shopping cart, a product contained within said at least one cold storage unit, a static display unit, and a dynamic display unit
49. The system of claim 48, wherein a controller determines time stamps for when an item containing an RFID tag was at a particular location.
50. The system of claim 48, wherein a controller determines the time stamps for when a product with particular RFID tag is removed from said at least one cold storage unit.
51. The system of claim 1 , wherein a controller determines via a pressure sensor when a product has been removed from said at least one cold storage unit.
52. The system of claim 1 , wherein a controller is programmed to determine with reasonable probability which product has been removed from a shelf and placed in which shopping cart.
53. The system of claim 1, wherein each network interface communicates with at least one other network interface, wherein the network interfaces are part of a local area network.
54. A method for controlling the operation of at least one cold storage unit, wherein products in said cold storage unit are held at a temperature below 100C, said method comprising: receiving input data including a set of control parameters, wherein the input data is received at one or more controllers associated with the at least one cold storage unit via one or more network interfaces, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers, wherein at least one of the network interfaces communicates with a network, and wherein the cold storage unit has a plurality of component systems, at least one of which is a cooling system; storing the control parameters in a memory communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers; receiving sensor data from one or more sensors, each communicably coupled with at least one of the controllers; evaluating, with the controllers, the sensor data in relation to the input data; and based on the evaluation, providing control signals from the controllers to the component systems within said at least one cold storage unit.
55. A lamp assembly comprising: a light source; and at least one outer chamber, wherein an efficiency of the lamp assembly is controlled by managing a thermal energy generated and dissipated by the light source.
56. The lamp assembly of claim 55, further comprising at least one of: at least one heater, at least one ballast, at least one inverter, at least one heat sink, at least one heat pipe, at least one heat pump, at least one radiator, and at least one sensor.
57. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein a power is input to the lamp assembly via at least one Ethernet cable.
58. The lamp assembly of claim 57, wherein at least one of a value of a voltage, a current level, and a waveform delivered over said at least one Ethernet cable is controlled by a self-sensing mechanism.
59. The lamp assembly of claim 57, wherein at least one pair of wires delivers a voltage Vl and at least one other pair of wires delivers a voltage V2 different from Vl.
60. The lamp assembly of claim 55, the lamp assembly can communicate its status to at least one external controller.
61. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein the light source includes at least one of an External Electrode Fluorescent, a Cold Cathode Fluorescent, a Hot Cathode Fluorescent, a Solid State Light Source, and at least one LED.
62. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said at least one chamber has at least two walls, and wherein a gap between said at least two walls comprises a partial vacuum.
63. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said at least one chamber has at least two walls, wherein a gap between said at least two walls contains a gas.
64. The lamp assembly of claim 63, where said gas includes at least one of air and a noble gas.
65. The lamp assembly of claim 63, wherein the pressure of said gas can be varied.
66. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said at least one chamber comprises at least one inner chamber contained within at least one outer chamber.
67. The lamp assembly of claim 66, wherein the gap between an inner and outer chamber comprises a partial vacuum.
68. The lamp assembly of claim 66, wherein the gap between an inner and outer chamber contains a gas.
69. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said light source does not contact said at least one chamber, and wherein a gap between said light source and said at least one chamber comprises a partial vacuum.
70. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said light source does not contact said at least one chamber, and wherein a gap between said light source and said at least one chamber contains a gas.
71. The lamp assembly of claim 55,wherein said at least one chamber inhibits a flow of thermal energy.
72. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said at least one chamber reduces vibration and/or minimizes mechanical shock to the light source.
73. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said thermal energy control is effected via device comprising at least one of: at least one heat sink, at least one heat pipe, at least one heat pump, and at least one radiator.
74. The lamp assembly of claim 73, wherein said device distributes thermal energy along the length of the lamp assembly.
75. The lamp assembly of claim 73, wherein said device delivers more thermal energy to colder areas of the lamp than to hotter areas of the lamp assembly.
76. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein a spacing between said light source and a first chamber is adjustable.
77. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein a spacing between a first chamber and at least one other chamber is adjustable.
78. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein at least one surface of at least one chamber is coated to reduce its ability to transmit thermal energy.
79. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein at least one surface of at least one chamber is coated to improve its ability to transmit visible radiation within a specific spectral range.
80. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein the thermal energy distribution contributes to maintaining even light output over the entirety of the light source.
81. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein a power input to the lamp assembly is altered dependent on the light output from the light source.
82. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein power transmitted to said lamp assembly powers said lamp assembly and at least one other device connected to said lamp assembly.
83. The lamp assembly of claim 82, wherein said at least one other device is not another lamp assembly.
84. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein data is transmitted between said lamp assembly and at least one other device.
85. The lamp assembly of claim 84, wherein said at least one other device is a lamp assembly.
86. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein the light source resides at an upper apex of said at least one chamber facilitating the flow of thermal energy upwards to the light source.
87. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein the light source is supported in said at least one chamber by radially distributed lamp supports.
88. The lamp assembly of claim 55, wherein said light source is hermetically sealed within a first chamber.
PCT/US2007/085138 2006-11-17 2007-11-19 Systems and methods for controlling lighting, refrigeration, and energy use within a store WO2008064179A2 (en)

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