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The Greening of an Industry at ExhibitorLive

by Larry Kulchawik

Design Students Learn about Joule Battery Packs

Each year, like the CES show, the ExhibitorLive event features a new product or service that serves to be a game changer for the tradeshow industry. Rob Cohen, VP of Display Supply & Lighting, spoke with design students on Feb. 24 while setting up their display, to discuss what’s new with exhibit lighting—including the latest in LED applications for tradeshow lighting.  He also stated that for this show his entire exhibit was powered by a battery and went on to show the students how Joule Case Battery Packs would power his exhibit for the three day event without needing to exchange any units. Each battery pack has three outlets and two USB ports.

DS&L-booth-ELive-Joule-Batteries-“There has been great advancements in rechargeable battery technology, as we have seen in the popularity of battery powered vehicles in recent years,” Cohen explained. “Some of this same technology is now being applied to battery packs for tradeshow exhibit and special events where availability of electric power may be a challenge. DS&L has teamed up with the most talented group to help bring this technology to our industry.”

The students asked how much battery power a tradeshow booth needs  and Cohen replied, “You need to talk this over with your battery provider. A good battery partner will help to size an appropriate system that meets your needs. To do so, they will need to know the total amount of wattage you are looking to power, for how many hours per day you want the equipment to run and over how many days you want the equipment to run without recharging the units.”

Cohen explained that for ExhibitorLive 2019, DS&L calculated how many watts of power it would be using, made sure it had enough power for three days of extended show hours, and sized the amount of battery power it needed appropriately. As a result they ran an entire booth without recharging over the three days of the show.

The students asked several more questions, including:

Any problem shipping battery packs? “A Sealed Lead Acid system is no problem shipping any way you want,” Cohen said. “On the other hand, Lithium Ion requires a special label.”

Might this be a worthy investment for an exhibit house to provide as a rental?  “Powering an entire booth off of battery may or may not be the answer,” Cohen replied. “The availability to provide battery power to bring down the cost of electricity may definitely be a big plus,” adding that “exhibit houses can certainly add a rental income stream by owning and renting battery power systems. Owners of exhibit houses may also be interested in available federal tax credits for units purchased with solar recharging panels—but will need to consult with their tax advisors to receive advice on this.”

Cost savings..battery vs cost to order electric at site?  “From our analysis, the cost of electricity and electricians on show site versus  battery power tends to have its payback around the fourth show, depending upon the amount of power and electrical services one typically purchases for a show,” Cohen said. “This needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For outdoor shows, replacing generators with batteries that are rechargeable by solar panels cuts down on the use of fossil fuels used by generators and eliminates the noise and smell associated with generators as well. This would definitely make a positive impact on the carbon footprint used at such events. With LED lights, the power necessary to light a display has been reduced.  Pop up events or retail kiosks can also benefit from the use of battery technology.

How safe are battery power pack units? “Of course, safety of such products is critical,” Cohen replied. “All components used in our battery systems meet applicable UL standards. Testing to achieve an appropriate safety listing of these products is currently underway. We are not saying that we have all the answers about alternative power as an end-all solution in the exposition industry, but surely realize how exploring power source alternatives can really matter.”

Over the past ten years the tradeshow industry has embraced many safety and “green” concepts that have been applied to exhibition manufacturing and services. A decade of extraordinary innovation in the U.S. has made the greening of the global economy not only feasible but also likely. Small steps do make a difference. Using battery power can certainly have a positive impact on the carbon footprint.

This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of Exhibit City News, p. 66. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_mayjune_2019_web


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