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IES Issues Call for Posters for 2018 Research Symposium

The Illuminating Engineering Society has issued a call for posters for the 2018 IES Research Symposium, which will explore how light affects human health. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 15, 2017.

The Illuminating Engineering Society has issued a call for posters for the 2018 IES Research Symposium, which will explore how light affects human health.

The deadline for abstract submissions is December 15, 2017.

The symposium will be held at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Midtown in Atlanta, April 8-10, 2018.

Click here to learn more.

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Evaluating Color with LED

LEDs have further differentiated themselves from traditional light sources by offering dramatically expanded color capabilities. These capabilities enable distributors to better serve existing customers and build new markets. Accomplishing this requires understanding LED technology, metrics used to evaluate color, and knowing what the customer wants and needs.

Below is my contribution to the November issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

LEDs have further differentiated themselves from traditional light sources by offering dramatically expanded color capabilities. These capabilities enable distributors to better serve existing customers and build new markets. Accomplishing this requires understanding LED technology, metrics used to evaluate color, and knowing what the customer wants and needs.

The LED advantage
Visible light is energy residing along the 400-700 nanometer band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The size of these wavelengths corresponds to specific colors from violet to red. Combining these wavelengths produces white light. Separating them via a prism produces a rainbow.

The eye perceives color in an object because that color is present in both the object and the light striking it. The object absorbs all colors except a given color, which reflects to the eye. While daylight offers a full spectrum source, electric light sources are engineered as mixes of wavelengths at relative intensities, typically focused on red, green, and blue (RGB). The spectral makeup is expressed in the source’s spectral power distribution (SPD).

As with traditional light sources, with LEDs we have a choice of specific colors or white light. In the case of color, this is accomplished with LEDs emitting light in a narrow spectral band. For white light, blue or ultraviolet LEDs coated with a phosphor producing a deep blue peak and high irradiance in the 470-630 nanometer range.

With LEDs, however, colors can be mixed to produce virtually any color needed, allowing dynamic effects. White light color appearance can be adjusted with relative ease using controls. Combining white and color LEDs allows virtually any SPD to be created, opening possibilities in targeting light to human physiology, plant growth, and environmental needs. And with advances in LED technology, building owners no longer have to choose between excellent color quality and high efficiency.

Tunable-white LED lighting, matched with appropriate controls, enable CCT adjustment across a given range to satisfy variable preferences for applications demanding color flexibility. Image courtesy of USAI Lighting.

Color appearance

Manufacturers describe the color quality of light sources using metrics based on standardized measurements. The most popular are correlated color temperature (CCT) and color rendering index (CRI).

Measured in kelvins, CCT is the color appearance of a light source relative to an ideal reference light source. Color appearance is generally classified as visually warm (about <3000K, or yellowish white), neutral (about 3500K, white), or cool (about >4000K, or bluish white). A light source heavily laden in blue and deficient in red wavelengths will saturate blues in the space while muting reds.

A challenge for LEDs is the manufacturing process inherently involves variations in CCT. The result is potential color variation between LED products. To address this issue, manufacturers test and bin their LEDs according to deviation from CCTs based on x, y coordinates on the CIE 1931 Chromaticity Diagram, using a standardized method. The smaller the bin, the tighter the control of color variation, though gaining this consistency may impose a higher cost. Some manufacturers maintain extremely tight deviation as a point of differentiation for their products.

“Color consistency from credible LED manufacturers has improved significantly since white LEDs were first produced,” said Andrew Kites, Global Product Manager, Philips Lighting. “Some manufacturers have gotten much more skilled at producing LEDs that are closer to the center of the ANSI bin for that CCT, reducing waste in manufacturing from out-of-spec product, reducing LED costs, all while improving color consistency.”

Advances in control and driver technology enable manufacturers to provide custom SPD (using RGB+ LEDs), luminaires to produce both high-quality white and color (White+), and designers and users to adjust CCT in the field (White/White+). This extraordinary potential is opening new markets. Additionally, dim-to-warm LED products are growing in popularity for applications where users expect their lighting to dim to a warm glow similar to incandescent.

“It’s always important to listen to the customer,” said Bonnie Littman, President and CEO, USAI Lighting. “The better we can understand their preferences for color, the better we can serve them and provide the right product. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to lighting, and there’s no reason someone should be relegated to static white light if that’s not what they want or need.”

She pointed to several examples where coming up with a customer-specific color solution became a point of differentiation for her company. Outdoor lighting on the Gulf Coast that provided nighttime visibility without disrupting the nocturnal habits of sea turtles. Experimentation with different CCTs in classrooms. Optimal SPDs for high-end retail. As the industry’s understanding of light and health develops, this capability may prove integral to circadian lighting, as spectrum is a major factor in circadian response. And some manufacturers are already looking beyond health to well-being, mood, and satisfaction via personalized lighting solutions.

“Research is ongoing to determine the appropriate light levels, spectral content, and lighting design that provides support for human circadian biorhythms,” Kites said. “The research points to humans generally having a biological response to both blue and red wavelengths.”

“With all of the promising LED products on the market now to support circadian health, I see this time as an exciting moment for the lighting industry to have a meaningful impact on workplace and healthcare environments,” Littman noted. “By mimicking the daily color temperature cycle of natural daylight, these technologies we’re creating can help minimize disruptions to the natural circadian rhythm, thus supporting overall health, well-being, and healing.”

Paul Scheidt, Product Marketing Manager, LED Components, Cree, however, says he has not yet seen a product that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of physiological response to lighting. “The industry is not here yet,” he said. “We have identified the right variables for circadian lighting—color and light amount. However, we do not know where or how you set these controls to create direct biological impact, such as mood and energy levels. No one has a ‘mood’ knob on their light. Today’s controls are color and light amount. As an industry, we are still at the beginning of understanding the notion of mood and human preference for lighting.”

Color rendering and TM-30
While CCT is useful, it does not indicate whether the light source renders colors how most people would expect them to appear. Two sources with the same CCT may render various colors differently due to differing SPDs. A balanced SPD, particularly RGB, generally means the source offers good color rendering. A simpler and more direct way to evaluate color rendering is the lamps CRI rating. If two sources have the same CCT, one can meaningfully compare CRI to choose the right source.

Manufacturers test their sources and calculate CRI based on how closely they render eight standard color samples compared to an ideal reference source with the same CCT. The CRI rating is the average of these values. The less deviation from the reference source, the higher the CRI. Traditionally, about 80+ CRI is considered “good” for typical commercial applications requiring social interaction, about 90+ for color-critical applications such as higher-end retail. While the standard has endured, it has not been updated in many years, and its limitations are more pronounced with LED technology. In particular, a source may have a high CRI while ineffectively rendering saturated reds commonly found in applications like retail, supermarkets, etc. For this reason, some manufacturers began publishing R9 values to indicate color rendering for saturated reds for sources serving these markets.

The core problem of CRI’s deficiencies remained, however, particularly in light of CRI being used in specifications such ENERGY STAR and the DesignLights Consortium, and in regulations such as California Title 20 and Title 24. In 2015, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) published TM-30, a method for evaluating color rendition that introduces two new metrics. First is the Fidelity Index (Rf). Based on 99 color samples instead of 8-14, it was designed as a more accurate alternative to CRI. Second is Gamut Index (Rg), which expresses average color saturation. To determine which colors are saturated or muted, graphics are provided. While more comprehensive and precise than CRI, adoption has been slow.

“Right now, the whole industry is still in the process of educating lighting designers,” said Scheidt. “For the most part, the lighting designers who have heard of TM-30 and understand it really like it and see the benefits of getting more information about the light ahead of time, without having to do trials.”

He added that TM-30 is useful for applications where color is important, such as museums, hospitals, car dealerships, retail, and some offices.

Selling with color
Traditionally, the key to selling with color is to know the customer and the application, understand best practices, and recommend lighting products that will satisfy the need for an appropriate cost. LED is no different, though it can accommodate a broader range of needs, thereby creating new markets. It provides a more powerful tool to explore and understand lighting’s impact on people than traditional sources ever could.

Scheidt said the first step is to do no harm. “It’s fairly simple,” he said. “If the color is bad, then people are not going to like the product and you will have more returns and unhappy customers.”

After that, he pointed out, listen to the customer to find out what they need. “Distributors do not always need to recommend the best color performance or the best color consistency into everything,” he added. “It’s about understanding which customers are going to care about color and which ones aren’t.”

“The only consideration you should need to make is the customer’s preference,” advised Littman.

To produce the right solutions, distributors further need to understand LED technology and the metrics used to evaluate products. “Customers new to LED lighting will look for recommendations, and distributors have the opportunity to help educate the market,” Kites said. “Spectral knowledge and color-tunable systems are new and exciting to the lighting industry, and will bring more challenges and opportunities to the market. The more we know and understand how these systems can positively impact our customers, the bigger the opportunity to bring value to our customers.”

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TLED Lamp Adoption Continues to Grow

The NEMA Linear Fluorescent Lamp Index showed respective market share of 57.3% for T8, 8.6% for T5 and 12.4% for T12 in the first quarter of 2017. Remarkably, TLED lamps, which accounted for 15.3% of shipments in the first quarter, increased to 21.7% in the second quarter.

The NEMA Linear Fluorescent Lamp Index showed respective market share of 57.3% for T8, 8.6% for T5 and 12.4% for T12 in the first quarter of 2017. The index rating for each of these declined by 10.5%, 9.3% and 8.1%, respectively, compared to the first quarter.

Remarkably, TLED lamps, which accounted for 15.3% of shipments in the first quarter, increased to 21.7% in the second quarter.

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Product Monday: Healthcare Light by Focal Point

A collaboration with Curbell Medical Products, Focal Point’s Apollo 8 LED is an 8” x 4’ linear recessed LED luminaire available in three configurations to support common considerations for healthcare design: comfort, function, safety, sustainability, and health and wellness.

A collaboration with Curbell Medical Products, Focal Point’s Apollo 8 LED is an 8” x 4’ linear recessed LED luminaire available in three configurations to support common considerations for healthcare design: comfort, function, safety, sustainability, and health and wellness.

Its clean form with soft curves imparts visual appeal, while its durable construction meets clinical requirements. A smooth acrylic diffuser with internal ribs provides even illumination and easy wipe down. The secure lens, silicone gasket, and antimicrobial finish ensure protection from contamination and inhibit microorganism growth. Utilizing an asymmetric focusing optic, the exam function delivers shadow-free, uniform illumination onto patient beds. Meanwhile, the reading light is strategically angled for optimal surface plane illuminance and patient comfort.

Apollo 8 LED provides flexibility with various color temperatures (3000K – 5000K), standard options of 80 and 90 CRI, and efficiencies greater than 100 LPW for all configurations. As part of the Right Light™ program from Focal Point, Apollo 8 LED contains tunable drivers to allow for custom wattage and lumen outputs to be specified within the standard range.

Click here to learn more.

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ACTLD’s Koert Vermuelen Talks Lighting and Architecture

In this video, Koert Vermeulen, principal designer and founder of ACTLD, talks about lighting and architecture, touching on subjects such as emotions and context.

In this video, Koert Vermeulen, principal designer and founder of ACTLD, talks about lighting and architecture, touching on subjects such as emotions and context.

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LRC Study Evaluates the Blue-Light Hazard From Solid-State Lighting

The increasing popularity of LED technology has raised concerns about retinal damage via a mechanism known as blue-light hazard. Research conducted by the Lighting Research Center demonstrated in a majority of cases LED lighting does not present a greater risk of blue-light hazard than traditional sources such as incandescent.

LED technology has ignited widespread interest in the ways that lighting can offer benefits to people, including improved visibility at night, enhanced perceptions of brightness and security, and spectral tuning for management of circadian rhythms. Yet, as illustrated in a recent report from the American Medical Association (AMA), the increasing popularity of LED lighting is also raising new questions and reviving older concerns about unwanted impacts of these light sources, such as light pollution, discomfort glare, circadian disruption, and retinal damage via a mechanism known as blue-light hazard.

A new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute takes a practical, quantitative approach to evaluating light sources for blue-light hazard. Results of the study are published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, in an article titled, “Evaluating the Blue-Light Hazard from Solid State Lighting.”

In the study, LRC researchers John Bullough, Andrew Bierman and Mark Rea evaluate the spectral radiant power characteristics of incandescent, fluorescent, LED and daylight sources in terms of current blue-light hazard calculation procedures from the Illuminating Engineering Society and the Commission Internationale de l´Éclairage. The paper provides comparative data to allow meaningful and quantitative comparisons among light sources commonly experienced indoors and outdoors. Particular attention is given to use cases that could potentially affect blue-light hazard.

The study results showed that in the majority of use cases, LEDs do not exhibit greater risk for blue-light hazard than other light sources, including incandescent. LEDs present no special concerns for blue-light hazard over other common light sources in typical use cases because our natural photophobic responses, such as squinting and averting the gaze, limit exposure to bright light. Where photophobic responses might not occur, such as during eye surgery or with premature infants, caution is needed.

Some organizations, such as the AMA, have advised against using LEDs with correlated CCT exceeding 3000K, however, the LRC study found that avoiding blue-light hazard is primarily related to controlling the radiance of light sources, and much less related to spectral distribution, particularly when expressed in terms of CCT.

The LRC study authors note that CCT should not be used as a metric for characterizing the potential for blue-light hazard, citing the fact that an incandescent filament at 2856K within a clear bulb is associated with a greater risk for blue-light hazard than any white LED source, including one of 6500K. The spectral radiance distribution must be known to estimate blue-light hazard, particularly for those cases where photophobic responses might not occur. In these cases, and indeed for general lighting applications, the study authors recommend the use of lenses, baffles, and diffusers to mitigate glare as the primary methods for reducing the risk of blue-light hazard.

Click here to learn more.

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National Lighting Bureau Launches 38th High-Benefit Lighting Awards Program

The 38th annual High-Benefit Lighting Awards Program is now underway. Sponsored by the National Lighting Bureau, this unique program is open to lighting practitioners associated with a new or upgraded illumination system that provides substantial benefits. Entries must be received by the no later than December 31, 2017.

The 38th annual High-Benefit Lighting Awards Program is now underway. Sponsored by the National Lighting Bureau, this unique program is open to lighting practitioners associated with a new or upgraded illumination system that provides substantial benefits.

The Bureau coined the term High-Benefit Lighting to connote “function-focused” electric-illumination systems that are designed to fulfill the specific purposes for which they will be used, especially to maximize bottom-line returns for those who own, manage, and/or rely on the lighting.

For consideration in the 2017 High-Benefit Lighting Awards Program, an entry must be received by the National Lighting Bureau no later than December 31, 2017. An entry should document how modification of an existing lighting system or installation of a new one achieved some of the many bottom-line benefits of High-Benefit Lighting, such as improved productivity, increased retail sales, or fewer accidents.

Click here to submit an entry.

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Architecture Billings Index Dips into Contractionary Territory

After seven months of steady growth in the demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) paused in September.

After seven months of steady growth in the demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) paused in September. 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 September ABI score was 49.1, down from a score of 53.7 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 59.0, down from a reading of 62.5 the previous month, while the new design contracts index eased somewhat from 54.2 to 52.9.

“We’ve seen unexpectedly strong numbers in design activity for most of 2017, so the pause in September should be viewed in that context” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Project inquiries and new design contracts remain healthy, and the continued strength in most sectors and regions indicates stability industry-wide.”

Key September ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Northeast (56.9), South (54.0), Midwest (50.4), West (48.8)
• Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (54.0), mixed practice (52.2), multi-family residential (51.0), institutional (51.0)
• Project inquiries index: 59.0
• Design contracts index: 52.9

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

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Product Monday: Disinfectant Technology LED Downlight by Kenall

Kenall’s MEIC series of ceiling-mounted luminaires kills harmful bacteria, including MRSA, in emergency departments, procedure/exam rooms, pharmacies, and waiting areas.

Kenall’s Indigo-Clean™ continuous environmental disinfection technology has expanded its range of solutions into critical healthcare applications beyond the Operating Room. The new MDLIC6 Series downlight features technology proven to kill 70% of C.diff in 24 hours (SGS Lab Report # – 09S17053798), making the downlight ideal for patient bathrooms, a particular hotspot for the bacteria. The MEIC series of ceiling-mounted luminaires kills harmful bacteria, including MRSA, in emergency departments, procedure/exam rooms, pharmacies, and waiting areas.

Unlike UV technology, these luminaires combine white ambient light with safe 405nm Indigo light to continuously and automatically kill harmful bacteria, including MRSA, C diff, and ESKAPE pathogens. They are part of a comprehensive portfolio of lighting products developed exclusively by Kenall that utilize this new technology.

Click here to learn more.

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Marine Veteran Ran Against Virginia GOP Incumbent Because of Experience with Lighting Control System

Tuesday’s elections had a number of upsets, one of which was Democrat Lee Carter winning a 9-point victory over a Republican incumbent for a Delegate seat in the Virginia legislature. His decision to run for political office was inspired by his experience installing a lighting control system connected to a miswired lighting control panel.

Tuesday’s elections had a number of upsets, one of which was Democrat Lee Carter, a Marine veteran and Democratic Socialist, winning a 9-point victory over Delegate Jackson Miller, a Republican incumbent who is the House Majority Whip. His decision to run for political office was inspired by the aftermath of an injury he received installing a lighting control system connected to a miswired lighting control panel.

New Republic has the story here. Here’s what he said:

“I was installing lighting control systems and I got shocked because the lighting control panel I was working on was miswired by an electrician,” [Carter] told [the article’s author] in Manassas last month. “I got a 245-volt shock—in one hand, out the other—right across the chest.” He blew out his back in the incident. He could barely walk for months. His frustrating battle with the state to get workers’ compensation for his injury inspired him to enter politics. “When I was able to walk again … I decided I’m not just going to walk. I’m going to run for something because nobody should have to go through this.”

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