Looking to increase the flexibility, efficiency, and sustainability of commercial buildings, a group of companies has formed the Emerge Alliance. Based in San Ramon, Calif., the consortium will manage the creation and deployment of a new power, control, and device-level technology standard for commercial interiors built around the use of safe, low-voltage DC power.

Founding members of the alliance at the governing level include Armstrong World Industries, Johnson Controls, Nextek Power Systems, Osram Sylvania, and WAVE.

The main feature of the proposed standard is the selective and scalable distribution of low-voltage DC power within common infrastructures that already exists in commercial interiors. For example, DC is suitable for integration into the ceiling plane, allowing facility managers to easily arrange and rearrange lighting, sensors, actuators, and other devices without rewiring.

“While the ways in which we use electricity have changed dramatically, the manner in which electricity is distributed for interior devices and control purposes remains largely unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century,” says Emerge Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, Pa. “The standard is a revolutionary approach to the layout and reuse of interior space.”

In addition, the standard supports the trend toward using on-site alternative energy by providing a means of direct and more efficient connection between these new energy sources and interior electrical loads, such as lighting and controls.

According to Patterson, he sees the development of this new commercial technology standard as providing a platform for innovation to create even more energy-efficient and individually controllable devices for the future, such as LEDs and other solid-state general lighting devices.

Visit www.EMergeAlliance.org for more information.