I’ve been writing now for many years about the importance of adopting a DC infrastructure as a necessary foundation to drive further innovations in architectural lighting and media systems. DC power infrastructure efficiently ties together solar and battery storage in net-zero-energy buildings. More and more lighting products are switching to 48VDC as a de-facto standard.
We just can’t keep wasting ever-tightening construction budgets on needless AC-DC conversion hardware to support the exploding use of digital architectural systems (lighting, signage, sensors, etc.) that are hungry for vast amounts of DC power. The USGBC is now even incentivizing DC power for LEED certified buildings.
It is important for specifiers and end users to understand that 48VDC is increasingly a standard in many different industries, which means more and more supporting components and technologies will be available for use in architectural applications. Vicor Power is a good example and has a simple, non-engineer-friendly webpage detailing all the conversions they support just around 48VDC. The graphic below sums up the vast potential to adopt 48VDC throughout an architectural project.
And beyond 48VDC, it seems that 380VDC is becoming a major high-voltage DC power infrastructure, mainly driven by the data-center world. This will help efficiently connect large solar PV arrays with large battery storage and move power around large commerical projects efficiently. Knowing that these standards reach far beyond just architectural projects should give project managers more comfort in specifying these “innovative” systems on their projects.