EnOcean GmbH (www.enocean.com), a spinoff from Siemens AG known for its energy-harvesting wireless sensor solutions, has announced battery-free wireless switches. The switches scavenge minute amounts of energy when a light switch is pressed, then use that energy to rapidly transmit high-power RF signals (up to 10 mW power output) to wirelessly control lighting. "EnOcean-enabled" switches are designed to last as long as traditional wired ones but require no maintenance and no wiring, not even a box in the wall behind the switch.
An EnOcean-enabled lighting system is composed of switches, dimmers, and receivers that are integrated into lights or controllers, as well as signal repeaters to span larger facilities. The system eliminates the need to run cable from the switch to the light or controller. This enhances flexibility, reduces electrical contractor installation time and costs, and facilitates convenient switch location regardless of building construction type or materials; architects and developers can relocate interior walls without rewiring. The switches can be coupled with EnOcean wireless temperature sensors and can also control window shades and blinds.
Combining unique IDs, rapid transmissions, and multiple broadcasts, EnOcean switches can be deployed in high-density applications. Currently, the company reports that facilities with more than 500 co-located switches are operating successfully.