DOE Publishes New CALiPER Snapshot on LED Downlights

The U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program has released a new Snapshot report on LED downlights. Among the key findings of the new Snapshot, which is based on DOE’s LED Lighting Facts database:

• Across all products listed with LED Lighting Facts, average efficacy gains continue to track at about 10 lm/W per year.
• The efficacy of LED downlights is lower than that of most of the LED luminaire types but higher than that of downlights using conventional sources. The mean efficacy for LED downlights has increased by just 8 lm/W over the past 20 months.
• Most of the listed LED downlights fall into traditional lumen-output ranges for residential and commercial applications, but a wide variety of performance is available.
• In contrast with other LED luminaires, the mean input power has dropped for LED downlights over the past five years, and the mean output has only increased slightly.
• LED downlights tend to offer better color fidelity than other LED product types, with 38% offering a CRI greater than 90.

The lower performance of LED downlights relative to other luminaires is at least partly due to different optical requirements in downlights, but the relatively low performance of conventional halogen and CFL downlights provides less incentive for continued efficacy gains in LED downlights, compared to luminaire types competing against linear fluorescent or high-intensity discharge incumbents.

Click here to read the report.


Tips for Selfie Lighting

TEEN VOGUE recently published tips for getting good lighting for taking selfies.

Great way to teach lighting to your teen!

Check it out here.

Lighting Controls Association Expands Energy Codes Online Course

The Lighting Controls Association (LCA) has published a new course to enhance its Education Express program: EE203: Lighting and Commercial Energy Codes, Part 2: ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2013 and IECC 2015.

Complying with a Department of Energy mandate, a growing number of states are adopting commercial building energy codes at least as stringent as ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2013 and the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Authored by Craig DiLouie, LC, CLCP, IES, EE203 Part 2 provides a lighting controls compliance roadmap. The course identifies all sections of the energy standards, describes the requirements, and provides decision trees to simplify understanding and compliance.

EE203 Part 2 is registered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education System (CES), which recognizes 3.0 Learning Units (LU)/Health, Safety, Welfare (HSW) credits; and the National Council on Quality in the Lighting Professions (NCQLP), which recognizes 3.0 LEUs towards maintenance of the Lighting Certified (LC) certification.

EE203 is published as Part 2 of the Lighting and Commercial Energy Codes course. Part 1 covers the previous standards, ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 and IECC 2012.

To register and take this course, visit the LCA web site at and click the Education Express button.


Happy to announce the third episode in my WW2 submarine thriller series, BATTLE STATIONS, is now available for Kindle. A trade paperback and audiobook will be out shortly as well.

I’ve been published in small press and by big houses like Simon & Schuster. This series marks my first foray into self-publishing, and it’s been very rewarding. CRASH DIVE ranked in the top 10 bestsellers in the Sea Stories and Men’s Adventure fiction categories on Amazon, and BATTLE STATIONS made it to #11 in War and #14 in Thrillers.

The CRASH DIVE series chronicles the adventures of Lt. Charlie Harrison as he fights the Japanese in the Pacific during World War 2. Think Horatio Hornblower on submarines, and you get the idea.

If you enjoy action-packed and gritty military fiction, I hope you’ll check out the series. Learn more here.


Product Monday: Vivat Pathway Lights by Structura

Structura’s Vivat aluminum and wood bollards provide pathway or marker lighting using a 4W LED; 4-in. x 4-in. footprint.

Learn more here.


LED Pendant Powered by Living Organisms

Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen has created Spark of Life, an LED pendant powered by bacteria. The bacteria are electrochemically active, producing sufficient current to power the LEDs and produce light. The vessels need to be cleaned and refilled with water, salt and vitamins periodically, while the bacteria remain in the electrode. Van Dongen is hoping to turn the idea into an environmentally friendly product.

Learn more here.


Building Design Revenue Topped $28 Billion in 2015

aiaU.S. architecture firms have experienced a near complete recovery from the Great Recession, which has allowed firm leaders to reinvest profits back into their businesses. These findings, along with an in depth look at topics such as firm billings, staffing, and international work, are covered in the The Business of Architecture: 2016 Firm Survey Report.

“Far more than at any point in recent memory, there has been steady rise in the amount of renovation projects that architects have led compared to new construction activity over the past decade plus,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “A lot this has to do with green building incentives towards renovations, improved construction methods and products that increase the longevity of buildings, and a slower growing population that reduces the need for new construction.”

Key highlights include:

  • Net billings at architecture firms were $28.5 billion at the peak of the market in 2008 and had nearly recovered to $28.4 billion by 2015.
  • Percentage of firms reporting a financial loss declined sharply in recent years from more than 20% in 2011 to fewer than 10% by 2015.
  • Growing profitability has allowed firms to increase their marketing activities and expand into new geographical areas and building types to diversity their design portfolios.
  • Renovations made up a large portion of design work with 45% of building design billings coming from work on existing facilities, including 30% from additions to buildings, and the remaining from historic preservation projects.
  • Billings in the residential sector topped $7 billion, more than 30% over 2013 levels.
  • Modest gains in diversity of profession with women now comprising 31% of architecture staff (up from 28% in 2013) and minorites making up 21% of staff (up from 20% in 2013).
  • Use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software has become standard at larger firms with 96% of firms with 50 or more employees report using it for billable work (compared to 72% of mid-sized firms and 28% of small firms).
  • Newer technologies including 3D printing and 4D/5D modeling are reported being used at only 11% and 8% of firms respectively.
  • Energy modeling currently has a low adoption rate with 13% of firms using it for billable work, although this share jumps to 59% for large firms.

Click here to get the report.

Light, “One of the Great Impalpable Joys of Life”

Writing for THE GUARDIAN, feature writer Laura Burton describes humanity’s pursuit of light, writing:

“Light lies a bedfellow of music, electricity, love, as one of the great impalpable joys of life, a cause for celebration and wonder, a source of endless desire.”

It is wonderful to see mainstream media publications writing about the joy of light. What we need more of is them writing about the value of how electric light can be shaped and controlled to beautify the built environment–lighting.

Click here to read the piece.

Plant Roots in the Dark See Light

rootsLight is not only a source of energy for plants but also an important signal which regulates many light-dependent growth processes allowing it to effectively adapt to its environment.

Light is first detected by photoreceptors in the shoot of a plant. For more than three decades, scientists have been speculating whether roots are also able to perceive light. A new study appears to confirm that is the case.

Previous studies had shown that a special photoreceptor in plants which detects light of the wavelength red/far-red is surprisingly also expressed in the roots. However, it remained unclear how this root photoreceptor was activated. In an interdisciplinary effort, molecular biologists and optical physicists developed a highly sensitive optical detector along with the idea to compare plants with “blind” and “sighted” roots.

They used plants of the thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism in plant research, which were genetically modified in a way that the photoreceptor was only silenced in their roots, but not in their shoots. Hence, these plants had “blind” roots. The scientists grew these modified plants along with control plants; their roots were in the dark soil and their shoots exposed to light, just like in nature. The optical detector system was used to measure light which was transmitted in the stem down to the roots.

The results showed that roots do indeed perceive light even though they are typically below the ground.

Click here to learn more.

Product Monday: Black Pottery Pendant Light by David Pompa

Available from dealers in Mexico, the Vitrif Barro Negro pendant combines black pottery, copper and enamel. Finishes include polished, enameled and contaminated copper. A 5W GU10 2700K LED produces 400 lumens of light.

Click here to learn more.