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Nextek Power Systems at University of California, San Diego

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On November 20, 2009 Nextek Power Systems President and CEO, Paul Savage, was on-hand for the dedication of the new Sustainability Resource Center at the University of California, San Diego.  Nextek donated the hardware and software that made it possible for the center's solar arrays to connect to Armstrong's DC Flexzone ceiling/lighting grid.

The UCSD Sustainability Resource Center is a place for students to find green jobs and internships, campus sustainability projects, information on recycling, water conservation, home/office efficiencies, energy-efficient transportation and sustainability-related courses.

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Promoting Hybrid Power Distribution At IMFA.

We were in Orlando, FL, this week to give a presentation at the International Facility Management Association’s (IMFA) World Workplace 2009 Conference & Expo, an annual three-day educational and networking event focused on the future of the built environment. This multi-national, multi-disciplined forum covered workplace challenges, trends and new products and services impacting the workplace throughout 2010 and beyond. Topics included energy efficiency, techniques for protecting your business from workplace data breaches, and methods for cutting facility costs and increasing productivity.

We were there to check out what’s new in the industry and to host a presentation called “A hybrid approach to building power: adding DC to power to interior architecture” with our EMerge Alliance partners Brian Patterson, of Armstrong World Industries, Paula Ziegenbein, of OSRAM SYLVANIA, and Joel Zwier, of Steelcase Inc.

Our presentation covered a variety of power distribution issues and demonstrated how AC/DC hybrid coupled power systems:

  • Embrace trends in alternative energy;
  • Enhance efficiency, flexibility and sustainability;
  • Offer better reliability and lower energy costs.

In short, we explained that AC/DC hybrid systems offer benefits to: the community (in the form of easier access to alternative energy sources); building owners and facility mangers (in the form of decreased installation costs, increased sustainability and easier reconfigurations); and to individuals (in the form of safety, reliability and flexibility). This hybrid approach to power distribution is the way of the future as it provides an easy, efficient way to produce, distribute and use power in an increasingly DC driven world.

To learn more about the World Workplace 2009 expo, or for a complete list of conference details, visit www.worldworkplace.org.

For more information about the importance of DC power, visit the Emerge Alliance website at www.emergealliance.org.

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Working With The Clinton Global Initiative, Nextek Turns Good Intentions Into Results In Africa

In 2005, President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to turn ideas into action and to help our world move beyond the current state of globalization to a more integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities, and values. By gathering world leaders from a variety of backgrounds, including Nobel Peace Prize winners, leading global CEO’s, major philanthropists and foundation heads, directors of non-governmental organizations and prominent members of the media, CGI has created a unique opportunity to channel the capacities of individuals and organizations to realize change. To fulfill the action-oriented mission of CGI, all members devise practical solutions to global issues through the development of specific and measurable commitments to action.

And this is where Nextek comes in: In 2007, Nextek Power Systems, Inc., and its partners committed to designing, building, testing and installing a solar-assisted lighting system for a secondary school in Tanzania, with the goal of reaching 10 schools across the country and implementing a similar plan in Rwanda.

With our partner, E3 Labs, we sent a team to Tanzania in 2008 to determine whether the school in question was a good candidate for a lighting upgrade. What we discovered however, was that the majority of the electricity use at the school was for security lights at night, not in the classrooms during the day. We then reframed our commitment to deliver more efficient exterior lighting to the school initially, to be followed by interior lighting. We also learned that better air circulation was needed in the school, and we therefore planned to supply the school with our circulating DC ceiling fans (the Vari-Fan and Vari-Cyclone Fan) along with the new lighting, all on the same solar-assisted circuit.

The Nextek Team In Africa.

Using this solar-assisted lighting system as a model, Nextek will do the same with local partners in 10 schools across the country. In neighboring Rwanda, a school will be selected for such a system, which Nextek will again design, build, test, and install. Nextek will further provide 100 hours of engineering consulting services to the William J. Clinton Foundation in its work to improve the Rwandan Grid's accommodation of efficient and robust microgrids, which will empower Rwandans through better design. The goal is to allow these customers to benefit from their nascent grid as it improves while delivering to them a portal to use their own power generating and storage devices, currently a disorganized, un-integrated system.

Using this solar-assisted lighting system as a model, we plan to do the same with local partners in ten schools across the country. In neighboring Rwanda, a school will be selected for such a system, which Nextek will again design, build, test, and install. We also plan to provide upwards of 100 hours of engineering consulting services to the William J. Clinton Foundation in its work to improve the Rwandan Grid's accommodation of efficient and robust microgrids, which will empower Rwandans through better design. The goal is to allow these customers to benefit from their nascent grid as it improves while delivering to them a portal to use their own power generating and storage devices, currently a disorganized, un-integrated system.

By installing microgrids in Africa, Nextek will be bringing best practices in grid design and management to Rwanda and Tanzania, providing leadership for the expansion - and sometimes establishment - of a first quality, high efficiency, and flexible power infrastructure in Africa.

In a few weeks, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) will host its’ 2009 Annual Meeting. This year’s focus will be on four action areas – points of collaboration and intervention – that will help create economic value for our members and society:

  • Harnessing innovation for development
  • Strengthening infrastructure
  • Developing human capital
  • Financing a sustainable future

Each Action Area will allow CGI members to focus their shared knowledge, resources, and skills to find economically sustainable solutions to global challenges in the areas of education, energy and climate change, global health, and poverty.

Our CEO, Paul Savage, will attend this event and share our mutual vision of highly efficient, flexible DC power in Africa and beyond.

For more information on the Clinton Global Initiative visit: www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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Nextek In China To Hear About Clean Energy Opportunities

Nextek Director of the Digital Domains, Liang Downey, just returned from a trip to Beijing and Chongqing, China, where she met with local officials, key scientists and businesspeople who gave presentations on their science, technology and economic plans for IT, finance and energy efficiency and conservation in China. Liang visited China as a member of a Clean Environment Delegation, which was comprised of 39 Chinese-born high-tech professionals from nine countries including Japan, US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, France and England.

Liang In China

This group represented all areas of clean environment technology and business development and they spent time attending business roundtables and conferences where they heard from Chinese companies involved in hybrid vehicle production, solar-cell phones, lithium-ION battery development, LED systems and solar HID for street lighting.

Promoting the EMerge Alliance mission of the rapid adoption of a universal DC power standard in all commercial buildings, Liang participated in an online conference hosted by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology (BAST), where she fielded questions about the benefits of DC power including anticipated energy savings, ROI, system overall reliability and safety. Her EMerge presentation was video-recorded in the BAST online forum and is available to its thousands of members.

Like the US, China is wisely embracing energy efficiency and green technologies as it continues its rapid expansion. In fact, the US and China have agreed to a research partnership on energy efficient buildings and communities. This is a good thing, as building construction in China accounts for about half the new floor space built in the world each year, according to the DOE. Furthermore in the next 15 years, the country expects that it will build the equivalent of the United States' entire building stock. With massive growth like this, it is imperative that China seeks out the best, most efficient ways to build its cities and communities using renewable and sustainable resources.

China, and its rapid growth, represents an exciting opportunity for Nextek and we were pleased to be invited into their ongoing discussion about their plans for a more energy efficient future.

For more information about the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, visit www.energy.gov/news2009/7640.htm

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Nextek Promotes DC Power At NeoCon

We were in Chicago this week to speak at the NeoCon ® World’s Trade Fair. Over 50,000 trade professionals attended this event which is the largest exhibition of contract furnishings for the design and management of the built environment of North America. NeoCon showcased thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors from more than 1,200 showrooms and exhibitors. We attended NeoCon to check out what’s new in the building industry, but we were also there to host a seminar called “DC Power From The Inside Out – Changing How We Design And Use Buildings” with our EMerge Alliance partners Bruce Graham, of Johnson Controls, and Brian Patterson, of Armstrong World Industries. During this seminar we discussed the increasing use of DC-powered digital devices in commercial interiors today from electronic lighting to local workstations. We also covered the latest advances in DC power and how to effectively integrate these innovations with a wide range of upcoming technology and design trends.

DC FlexZone Wins Gold At NeoCon

A terrific example of innovative DC power technology is Armstrong’s new “DC FlexZone” grid system, the industry’s new ceiling grid with the ability to distribute low voltage DC power. The plug and play modularity of DC FlexZone combined with the benefit of repurposing and reconfiguring a space WITHOUT the need to rewire rocked the booth Monday morning – resulting in a big win for Armstrong: a “Best of NeoCon 2009” Gold Award in the Workplace Technology category. Congrats Armstrong!

As always, we promoted the Emerge Alliance mission of developing a global standard that integrates interior infrastructures, power, controls and a wide variety of peripheral devices such as lighting, in a common DC platform. This is because DC power provides building owners with unprecedented design and space flexibility, lower energy costs and greater long-term sustainability.

This greener, cheaper and safer way to conduct electricity was a main theme of this year’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, and we were pleased to be there – paving the way for the widespread use of DC power in commercial buildings.

For more information about NeoCon, visit www.neocon.com.

For more information about Armstrong’s DC FlexZone ceiling, visit: www.armstrong.com/dcflexzone

For more information about the importance of DC power, visit the Emerge Alliance website at www.emergealliance.org.

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Nextek to Discuss DC Power Networks At The Green Building Power Forum

As an Emerge Alliance member we will conduct a presentation about DC power networks and on-site power sources in buildings at the upcoming Green Building Power Forum. The main purpose of the event, sponsored by the Darnell Group, is to identify the challenges, progress and opportunities of DC power distribution. Energy industry representatives such as design engineers, component and equipment makers, distributed generation system makers, industry organizations (such as Emerge), utilities and government departments will be there to contribute to the discussion of all aspects of building power including both high-voltage and low-voltage DC power distribution, hybrid AC and DC distribution architectures and DC microgrids.

“We’ll be there to give a contemporary explanation of which DC power generating technologies are available to power Green Buildings today, and we’ll also be there to promote the EMerge Alliance mission of creating a new global standard for DC power distribution and device control in commercial buildings,” says Nextek CEO, Paul Savage. This is because, Paul continues, “ the use of DC distribution provides building owners with unprecedented design and space flexibility, lower energy costs and greater long-term sustainability.”

Redefining efficient power for buildings is the theme of the Green Building Power Forum, which will be held June 1-3, 2009.

For more information about the Forum, visit www.GreenBuildingPower.Darnell.com

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Illuminating The Emerge Alliance Mission At LIGHTFAIR

This week I had the pleasure of going to New York City to attend the exciting and innovative LIGHTFAIR International (LFI) -- North America’s premier annual lighting industry event for architectural and commercial lighting products and services. Over 20,000 design, lighting, architectural, engineering and industry professionals from around the world were there exhibiting their latest and greatest contributions to the world of lighting. And as you can imagine, many of the newest lighting strategies and products are focused on efficiency, adaptability and of course, sustainability.

Global leader in high-efficiency lighting and EMerge Alliance founding member, OSRAM Sylvania was there to showcase its newest lighting and solid state products -- and the new EMerge system -- which runs on efficient, low-cost, low-voltage DC power.

Naturally we at Nextek were also there, in the OSRAM Sylvania exhibit, to promote the EMerge Alliance mission of developing a global standard that integrates interior infrastructures, power, controls and a wide variety of peripheral devices, such as lighting, in a common DC platform. This is because DC power provides building owners with unprecedented design and space flexibility, lower energy costs and greater long-term sustainability.

lightfair-osi-emerge-centerOther EMerge Alliance members were there too: Acuity Brands Lighting, Crestron Electronics, Eden Park Illumination, EnOcean Alliance, Lighting Science Group, Sensor Switch, Tyco Electronics and Watt Stopper / LeGrand.

Of course before we can begin paving the way for smarter, more efficient office spaces that employ DC power strategies, renewables and innovative products (like the kinds we’ve seen here at LFI), it is critical that we quickly establish a global standard for common DC platforms. This is what we on the EMerge Alliance are promoting, because clean DC power is a much cheaper, safer and greener way to conduct electricity.

Some of you may have been at the Javits Convention Center to see OSRAM Sylvania’s demonstration of EMerge in action. If you were there, what did you think? If you weren’t there, but are intrigued by DC power strategies, we’d love to hear from you -- so please feel free to weigh in (via the Nextek Blog at www.nextekpower.com) and provide us with your thoughts on the rapid adoption of safe, low voltage DC power distribution for use in commercial building interiors.

Best, Paul

P.S. Next week Nextek will be attending the Michigan Green Jobs Initiative – check back here to find out how we’re partnering with the state and others to embrace the new green economy that will add lucrative jobs to the area.

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EMerge Alliance Launched to Create a New Standard for Power Distribution and Device Control in Commercial Buildings

New, Broad-Based Consortium Assembling Expertise in Architecture, Engineering and Construction Practices to Establish a Common Platform for Building Interiors of the Future SAN RAMON, Calif. -- In a move aimed at increasing the flexibility, efficiency and sustainability of commercial buildings, a group of visionaries today are announcing the EMerge Alliance™. The Alliance will lead the creation and deployment of a new power, control and device-level technology standard for commercial interiors, developed around the use of safe, low-voltage direct-current (DC) power.

“This provides sustainability-minded building owners on the leading edge of power technologies with a faster return on their investment in clean energy.”

Founding Members of the Alliance at the Governing level include Armstrong World Industries, Johnson Controls, Nextek Power Systems, OSRAM SYLVANIA and WAVE.

Participating Members include Crestron Electronics, Delta Power, Finelite, Kanepi Innovations, Lighting Science Group, Steelcase, WattStopper and Zumtobel. Eden Park Illumination is a General Member, and Supporting Members include AVP, Brinjac Engineering, CleanTech Commercialization, EdCampus, Green Plug, Houston Advanced Research Center, JB Electrical, Los Angeles Community College District, Paladino and Company, Sensor Switch, Southern California Edison and Webcor Builders.

Today’s workplace is dominated by fixed overhead lighting and a wide variety of electrical devices that are typically wired for a building’s lifetime rather than occupants’ changing needs. Building designers and owners increasingly have been seeking systems to make buildings more adaptable and integration of infrastructure, equipment and furnishings that can improve energy efficiency. Addressing these widespread needs for greater flexibility, efficiency, and sustainability is the focus of the EMerge Alliance, according to Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries.

“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,” said Patterson. “The EMerge Alliance is drawing from a broad and deep pool of leaders involved in the design, construction, and management of commercial buildings to create an enabling infrastructure that future proofs the workplace through the use of DC power. The standard is a revolutionary approach to the layout and re-use of interior space.”

The central feature of the proposed EMerge standard is the selective and scaleable distribution of low-voltage DC power within common infrastructures already present in commercial interiors. For example, DC power is ideally suited for integration into the ceiling plane, providing facility managers with the ability to readily arrange and rearrange lighting, sensors, actuators, and other devices without the need for rewiring.

The EMerge standard also embraces 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, like lighting and controls.

EMerge Alliance’s Patterson 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 Light-Emitting Diode (LED) or other solid-state general lighting devices.

“In creating a long-reaching, ‘plug and play’ standard for integrated management and control of lighting and the many digital devices found in commercial buildings, the Alliance is focused on the nexus of today’s top priorities for building owners – energy savings and adaptability. One of the most intriguing aspects is the ability to seamlessly connect a low voltage DC infrastructure to on-site generated alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power,” said Patterson. “This provides sustainability-minded building owners on the leading edge of power technologies with a faster return on their investment in clean energy.“

The EMerge Alliance is accepting new members interested in developing or supporting the EMerge standard. Membership is open and available at a variety of levels, from those interested in contributing to or making products compatible with the new standard, to companies and organizations supporting the overall development of this new platform. The Alliance is professionally managed by Global Inventures.

About the EMerge Alliance

The EMerge Alliance is an open industry association promoting the rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage DC power distribution and use in commercial building interiors. EMerge is focused on developing a global standard that integrates interior infrastructures, power, controls and a wide variety of peripheral devices, such as lighting, in a common platform. Building owners can gain unprecedented design and space flexibility along with reduced energy usage and improved sustainability. Alliance membership is broad-based in nature, comprised of entities such as architects, interior designers, consultants, engineering firms, government and code groups, academic and industry groups, product manufacturers, and building owners. For more information, or to find out how your organization can join the Alliance, please visit www.EMergeAlliance.org.

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Nextek Power Systems, Inc. Pumps up the Volume

Hauppauge, New York - Nextek Power Systems, Inc. announced today the launch of its new high efficiency 75 kilowatt Digital Power Gateway to be manufactured under an Agreement with Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDP). Ballard Power Systems is recognized as the world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing zero-emission proton exchange membrane fuel cells. The Nextek Digital Power Gateway is designed for commercial buildings that generate some of their own power with solar panels, fuel cells, and other distributed generation methods. Acting quite literally like a gateway, this digitally controlled router uses the locally generated power first, then fills in with power from the grid as necessary. This allows for unparalleled efficiencies when using local energy because power is used where, when, and how it is being generated. A smaller version of the Digital Power Gateway, the NPS-1000, has been successfully commercialized in grocery stores, big box retail establishments, distribution centers, and more.

I am very pleased to have Ballard as our manufacturing partner for our new high-power Digital Power Gateway, said Paul Savage, Nextek's CEO. Their superb engineering and manufacturing team will enable us to further commercialize our breakthrough technologies in more varied locations.

Noordin Nanji, Ballard's Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, said "This agreement fits well into our plan to leverage our world-class engineering and manufacturing facilities as we work with our customers and partners to penetrate the alternative energy market.

Until now, Nextek's power networks have been most applicable to new construction and buildings undergoing lighting refits, said Mark Robinson, Nextek's VP of Sales. Our dealer network can now take advantage of opportunities in existing buildings that need higher efficiency, backup power systems, and lower-cost metering, monitoring and control systems.

Currently the Nextek system uses locally generated DC (Direct Current) to power DC devices like fluorescent lighting, HID lighting and variable speed motor drives. Coming soon is Nextek's Bi-Directional Power Gateway that will further change the power equation by delivering all the functionality of an inverter plus the unique features found in Nextek's Direct Coupling platform.

About Nextek

Nextek Power Systems, Inc. is the leading manufacturer and developer of direct current (dc) power networks in buildings and Direct Coupling accessories for diverse applications including commercial and industrial lighting and variable speed motor controllers. Visit our website at www.nextekpower.com and see how it works and why we are different at www.directcoupling.com.

About Ballard

Ballard Power Systems is recognized as the world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing zero-emission proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Ballard's mission is to develop fuel cell power as a practical alternative to internal combustion engines through technology leadership. To learn more about what Ballard is doing with Power to Change the World, visit www.ballard.com

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