2017 DOE SSL R&D Workshop Presentations Posted

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy hosted its 14th annual Solid-State Lighting R&D Workshop. Over three full days, 250 attendees participated in sessions covering LED and OLED technology. Presentations from 60 experts addressed the complex science and technology challenges facing SSL today, as well as innovative new ways to improve manufacturing processes, reduce costs and foster U.S. competitiveness.

Check out the presentations here.

How LiFi Works

Harald Haas, who has been credited with inventing LiFi

The IEEE recently published an article explaining LiFi, or light-based communication, which is now being commercialized.

Check it out here. Some of the comments on the article are also interesting.

Architecture Billings Index Strengthens

The first quarter of the year ended on a positive note for the Architecture Billings Index (ABI).

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 54.3, up from a score of 50.7 in the previous month. This score reflects a sizable increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 59.8, down from a reading of 61.5 the previous month, while the new design contracts index dipped from 54.7 to 52.3.

“The first quarter started out on uneasy footing, but fortunately ended on an upswing entering the traditionally busy spring season,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “All sectors showed growth except for the commercial/industrial market, which, for the first time in over a year displayed a decrease in design services.”

Key March ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Midwest (54.6), South (52.6), Northeast (52.4), West (50.2)
• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.6), mixed practice (53.7), institutional (52.9), commercial / industrial (49.8)
• Project inquiries index: 59.8
• Design contracts index: 52.3

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Product Monday: Programmable Workhorse LED Drivers by Fulham

Fulham Co., Inc.’s line of WorkHorse LED Extreme XP programmable outdoor drivers with integrated wireless controls offer simplified field installation and customization. Available in 40W, 60W, 100W, 150W and 200W configurations, these drivers feature MCU-controlled circuitry, including MCU-controlled health monitoring that allows for black box data to be captured for field analysis. All XP Series drivers can be programmed with custom dimming curves, custom NTC thermal feedback, and power output. Tunable output power enables the drivers to be substituted into luminaires without affecting performance or lumen output.

Click here to learn more.

Hubbell’s Andy Miles on Outdoor Lighting Trends

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Miles, Director of Product Marketing, Outdoor Lighting for Hubbell Lighting. The topic: trends in retail lighting. I’m happy to share her responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the April 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: What are the top trends in the area lighting market?

Miles: Within the outdoor lighting market in general, we’re seeing LED color temperature preferences trending warmer, a higher demand for lighting that adapts to occupancy detection and the changing needs of the client. Customers are becoming more concerned with visual comfort expressed as a desire to eliminate LED “pixilation” (the visibility of discrete LEDs) and brightness particularly for luminaires installed at lower mounting heights.

With respect to color temperature, 3000K and 4000K color temperature demand was generally limited to more architectural applications; however, with the efficacy penalty of warmer color temperature LEDs becoming less impactful, many customers in our commercial markets previously selecting 5000K LEDs are now opting for 4000K.

Energy efficiency codes are an obvious driver for the increased use of adaptive lighting, including occupancy/vacancy controlled dimming with California’s Title 24 being a great example, but end customers beyond California not yet impacted by stringent energy codes are increasingly expecting a higher degree of lighting control. Although they may not change the lighting system’s operating schedule on a nightly basis, they want the flexibility to do so or, at a minimum, have the ability to add a future date (i.e. future-proof).

LED luminaire visual comfort (brightness/glare control) and the resulting push to eliminate LED pixilation is an interesting trend particularly from the perspective of a luminaire manufacturer. Glare and brightness are subjective measurements and simply eliminating LED pixilation doesn’t mean the luminaire is suddenly “low glare” or comfortable to look at. While the benefits of an LED optical design that’s “comfortable” seems obvious, in most cases it comes at the cost of lower light level uniformity, decreased luminaire spacing and potentially higher energy costs.

DiLouie: How are these trends shaping demand for outdoor lighting products?

Miles: One area that’s impacted greatly is how we service customer demand and the resulting products we stock for immediate shipment. Ultimately we see higher degrees of product variability. For example, ten years ago our service strategy for commercial wallpacks was to stock the most common metal halide and high pressure lamp units with a refractor lens and a few cutoff versions. Today that same market demands product to be available with and without uplight, 4000K and 5000K CCTs, photocontrol options, motion sensor options and integral batteries for emergency egress.

DiLouie: Generally speaking, how are these trends shaping design of outdoor lighting products?

Miles: Accommodating trends like color temperature preferences are relatively simple; however, accommodating the vast array of lighting control systems and new LED chip technology becomes much more difficult. There are so many great technologies available, accommodating everything isn’t always possible. We look to “future proof” our products as much as possible, knowing a better solution is coming soon. The reality is our product life cycles are much shorter in today’s market, which means our designs change, too.

DiLouie: Energy codes are increasingly requiring bilevel control for dusk-to-dawn lighting. How is this affecting demand for controllable outdoor lighting? How much is bleeding into the retrofit market?

Miles: The demand for controls is increasing. Today we include the same level of bi-level or full dimming control as an option in just about every product we design. For the retrofit market it’s almost mandatory. Many utility rebate programs offer larger incentives for luminaires with a control to improve the customer’s ROI and further reduce energy consumption.

DiLouie: Several years ago, NEMA introduced a new standard control receptacle allowing new controls to be connected using a standard interface. What opportunities does this create for outdoor lighting? What implications does it have for the retrofit market? What implications does it have for smart cities?

Miles: Incorporating the ANSI C136.41 receptacle into outdoor lighting gives just about everyone significantly more flexibility with regards to integrating controls, whether it is today or in the future. Fully integrated control systems offer an aesthetic advantage and can lower the initial acquisition cost but also “locks” the contractor or end user into one standard. The ANSI C136.41 design positions the control equipment outside the luminaire, simplifying maintenance and allowing luminaire selection and maintenance to occur independent of the control selection.

DiLouie: Several years ago, the Model Lighting Ordinance was introduced, allowing municipalities to enact sensible outdoor lighting laws. How extensive has adoption been? How have lighting ordinances affected outdoor lighting product design and demand? What implications does it have for the retrofit market?

Miles: It’s important to remember lighting is both a science and an art. Attempts to assign every space and luminaire into a prescribed “formula” that guarantees success is an oversimplification of a complicated subject and ignores the artistic element of lighting. For example, a landscape architect who focuses on urban streetscapes and areas of public congregation told me the city where he lives had to re-write its lighting ordinance to allow a one-time exception to install the type of lighting the city planners preferred for the downtown space.

DiLouie: What protocols are used for wireless communication for outdoor lighting? What are the pros and cons of each?

Miles: For outdoor lighting, the primary protocols used for wireless communication are Zigbee and SNAP (Synapse Network Appliance Protocol). Both protocols provide a peer-to-peer, self-organizing and self-healing mesh network of devices. The major difference between the two protocols is the wireless radio frequency that they use. Zigbee devices typically use 2.4 GHz radios and SNAP devices use 900 MHz radios. Generally speaking 900 MHz systems have greater propagation (the signal’s ability to reach its intended target through items like trees and rain, get-around buildings, etc.) whereas 2.4 GHz systems can transmit more data. For most users, though, the wireless network frequency likely won’t be a significant concern. While propagation is important, most 2.4 GHz systems likely meet the user’s needs and while the ability to transmit more data sounds important, lighting control schedules, retrieving metering data and reporting don’t contain more than what a 900 MHz system can easily handle.

DiLouie: There’s a lot for electrical distributors to navigate when it comes to outdoor lighting. When recommending a solution, what should distributors be looking for?

Miles: At a bare minimum, ensure a product’s marketing claims can be substantiated with industry standard performance data and test reports. Check the LM79, LM80, TM21 calculations, etc. Doing your due diligence will ensure you’ve partnered with a manufacturer that will deliver on its promises.While the benefits of LED sourced products are significant, selecting the wrong product for the application, premature failures or installing a product that doesn’t perform as advertised won’t only be financially costly but will damage your reputation as a trusted advisor.

DiLouie: What can distributors do to ensure they are most competitive in the outdoor lighting market?

Miles: Invest in your people with lighting education and hire a lighting specialist. The technology is evolving quickly and the market opportunity is tremendous. Be sure the “generalists” in your business can identify opportunities, then bring in your “specialists,” which include your manufacturer partners. The lighting specialists will get into the details, help specify the correct product for the application and ensure your customers’ needs are met.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about today’s market for LED outdoor lighting, what would it be?

Miles: With just a few exceptions, if your customers haven’t started using LED sourced products outdoors they are likely costing themselves more money in the long run. LED product costs are at an all-time low and performance is at an all-time high.

Register for the IES Annual Conference

Click on the image to register.

IES Accepting Submissions for Next Progress Report

The Illuminating Engineering Society recently announced it is accepting submissions for the next IES Progress Report. The deadline is May 29, 2017.

Learn more and submit your product here.

Eaton Announces Winners of the 40th Annual SOURCE Awards Lighting Design Competition

Eaton has announced the winners of the 40th Annual SOURCE Awards lighting design competition. The winners were recognized on Monday, May 8 at LIGHTFAIR International 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Six professional awards and seven student awards were presented.

The annual competition, which began in 1977, focuses on furthering the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design and requires the predominant use of lighting and controls products from Eaton’s lighting solutions. Entries are judged on aesthetics, creativity and technical performance to address specific lighting needs while meeting project constraints and design concept goals.

The 2017 winners include:

Professional Category


• Tec Studio Inc., Columbus, Ohio, and designer Ardra Paige Zinkon, CLD, IALD, for the lighting of the Columbus Metropolitan Library-Main Branch, Columbus, Ohio.
• Robert Singer and Associates, Inc., Basalt, Colorado, and the design team of Robert Singer, IES, IALD, and Kim Quint, LEED AP,IALD, for the lighting design of the private residence.

Tec Studio Inc., Columbus, Ohio, and designer Ardra Paige Zinkon, CLD, IALD, won in the Professional Category for the lighting of the Columbus Metropolitan Library-Main Branch, Columbus, Ohio.

Honorable Mentions:

• Karpinski Engineering, Cleveland, Ohio, and designer Marian K. Perez, LC, MIES, for the lighting design of the Erie County Historical Society, Watson-Curtze Mansion and Carriage House in Erie, Pennsylvania.
• Receiving two awards, Lighting Design Innovations, Batavia, New York, and the design team of Paul D. Mercier, MS, LC, IALD, MIES and Kimberly R. Mercier, MBA, PE, P.Eng., LEED AP, MIES, for the lighting upgrade at Whitehead Hall at the City of New York Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, and for the lighting design of the 1st Street SW Underpass in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
• RNL, Denver, Colorado, and designers Rachel Fitzgerald, MIES, IALD, LC, LEED AP BD+C and Jeanette Zagone, LC, for the lighting design of the Metro Division 14 Expo Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in Santa Monica, California.

Student Category


• Hazel Chang from Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, for her conceptual lighting design of a music recording company’s sports stadium skybox, titled Sonata Music Classical Skybox. A past winner in 2014 and honorable mention winner in 2015, Chang was under the instruction of Jeanne Mercer-Ballard, M.A., associate professor in the Department of Applied Design, Interior Design program and D. Jason Miller, AIA, NCARB, assistant professor in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment.

Honorable Mentions:

• Elizabeth Hundley from Appalachian State University for her conceptual lighting design office building project, titled Incandescent. Hundley was the winner of last year’s competition and was under the direction of Hessam Ghamari, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Applied Design, Interior Design program, as well as Jeanne Mercer-Ballard.
• Emma Morris, also from Appalachian State University, for her conceptual lighting design restaurant project, titled “Bloom” a Turkish-American Restaurant. Morris was under the direction of Mercer-Ballard.
• Marissa Sexton from University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, for her healthcare facility project, titled Healing Light – The Green Health Center. Sexton was under the direction of Thomas P. Collins, P.E., adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering.
• Emily Miller from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, for her conceptual eatery project, titled Element. Miller was under the direction of Amanda Gale, Ph.D., assistant professor of the Interior Architecture program at the university.
• Kassondra Hauck from Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, for her project, titled The Community Teen Center. Hauck was under the instruction of Julie Qun Zuo, associate professor of Interior Design in the Department of Human Environmental Studies at the university.

Award of Recognition:

• Abigail Chin, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, for her restaurant project, titled Gourmasia. Chin was under the direction of Kevin Woolley, Ph.D., assistant professor of Interior Design in the Department of Art and Design at Purdue University.

The professional winning firms, Tec Studio Inc. and Robert Singer and Associates, Inc., each received a $5,000 monetary award. Student winner Chang received $2,000 and each of the Honorable Mention professionals and students was awarded $500. All winners were presented with a crystal trophy and offered an invitation to attend a complimentary class at the SOURCE, Eaton’s state-of-the-art lighting educational center located in Peachtree City, Georgia. The students’ instructors are also invited to attend a class.

Click here to learn more about this year’s winners.

Vode Lighting’s ZipThree 707 Wall Mount Named Most Innovative Product of the Year

Vode Lighting’s ZipThree 707 Wall Mount was recognized as the Most Innovative Product of the Year at this year’s LIGHTFAIR Innovation Awards. The ultra-thin (0.27-in. x 3.78-in.) product features independently controllable uplight and downlight.

SoraaLaser’s LaserLight SMD won this year’s Technical Innovation Award. The product is a laser-based surface-mounted device that uses a blue laser diode that excites a remote phosphor.

Tech Lighting’s Element Reflections, which won the Design Excellence Award, combines decorative recessed domes with indirect LED general lighting.

AMS AG’s AMS AS7221, which won a Judges’ Citation, is an intelligent integrated light manager that enables precise tunable-white control to be integrated into the company’s Internet of Things smart lighting offerings.

Product Monday: Strip LED Luminaires by Green Creative

Green Creative’s STRIP 4’ 38.5W and STRIP 4’ 22.5W linear luminaires, part of the company’s new QWIKLINK Series, feature a special connection system enabling quick and seamless connection of up to 64 feet of luminaires. The system includes a connector for end-to-end fixture connections, a cable for distant fixture connection and a sensor for occupancy sensing and dimming for a single fixture or entire row. Each connector provides a 120-277V line voltage and 0-10V dimming connection between fixtures.

All luminaires come with a 100,000-hr lifetime and 10-yr warranty and are available in 3000K, 3500K, 4000K and 5000K CCT.

Click here to learn more.