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Record Utility Bonus Rebate Programs For Lighting

Brightswitch is reporting that there are a record number of utility bonus incentives for commercial lighting efficiency programs. A bonus program is when rebate organizations offer increased incentives for the existing rebate measures for a set period of time.

Brightswitch is reporting that there are a record number of utility bonus incentives for commercial lighting efficiency programs.  The value of the bonus will vary depending on the utility. Sometimes, it’s an extra 10% or 20%; other times, it can more than double the original rebate. This year, a record number of bonus programs are available for commercial lighting upgrades.

Image courtesy of BriteSwitch

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, utility commercial lighting rebate programs began offering bonus rebates to incentivize more lighting upgrades to achieve their energy saving goals during a time of reduced construction and retrofit activity. The number of bonus programs has continued to grow despite the easing of the pandemic.

Bonus programs typically start to appear in the Fall as utilities struggle to meet their participation and savings targets, but this year, they appeared as early as March. This increase in bonus dollars reflects the ongoing difficulty in finding new energy efficiency projects. Most of the low-hanging fruit projects, such as T12 and metal halide, have already been upgraded. However, there are still many opportunities where facilities have more efficient technologies like T8 and T5HO but haven’t upgraded to LED yet. These customers need increased incentives to help offset the more modest payback.

Bonus programs can widely vary in how they work, but they usually fall into these four categories:

  1. Bonus on specific products
  2. Bonus on certain customer categories
  3. Across-the-line bonus
  4. Trade ally bonus

Read the full Briteswitch article here.

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Congress Passes BRIGHT Act Requiring Federal Buildings To Procure Efficient Lighting

Both houses of Congress have passed The BRIGHT Act to ensure federal buildings utilize energy-efficient lighting. The House passed the bill on September 14, 2022, and the Senate passed the bill on March 30, 2022. The bill still requires the signature of President Biden before it becomes law.

Both houses of Congress have passed The BRIGHT Act to ensure federal buildings utilize energy-efficient lighting. The House passed the bill on September 14, 2022, and the Senate passed the bill on March 30, 2022. The bill still requires the signature of President Biden before it becomes law.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The bill was sponsored by Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Currently, there is no legal guidance in the federal government to maximize long-term cost and energy savings across lighting products. The bipartisan Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-Efficiency Technology (BRIGHT) Act requires the GSA Administrator to ensure that public buildings are using the most life-cycle cost-effective and energy-efficient technology to the extent practicable when performing normal maintenance, altering, or constructing public buildings. The bill also requires GSA to issue guidance to federal agencies and state, local, and Tribal entities to further streamline efficiency and effectiveness across government. GSA previously released a series of reports that calculated that switching to LED lighting would result in millions of dollars in cost savings due to their superior lifespan and energy efficiency.

Full legislative language for the bill is available here.

 

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Signify’s WIZ Now Offers Motion-Detection Without Sensors

Signify has introduced a new app, features, and products for its WiZ smart lighting system to enhance convenience. The new offerings include SpaceSense™, a motion detection technology for the lighting system that doesn’t require any sensor to be installed.

Signify has introduced a new app, features, and products for its WiZ smart lighting system to enhance convenience. The new offerings include SpaceSense™, a motion detection technology for the lighting system that doesn’t require any sensor to be installed. The new WiZ app V2 and the SpaceSense™ feature are available at the end of September 2022.

The SpaceSense feature uses Wi-Fi signals that are already present in the room to detect motion – without the need for dedicated sensors and batteries. Wi-Fi signals are slightly disturbed when people move around in a room, like a ripple in a swimming pool. By measuring the small deviations in signal strength caused by those disturbances, the WiZ lights can determine if there is an object moving in the room.

The detection is omnidirectional and doesn’t require line of sight during installation, like traditional motion sensors. The sensitivity of the system can be adjusted, for example, to prevent pets from turning the lights on and off while running in and out of the room. It requires installing at least two lights per room and connecting them with the WiZ app V2. The new feature is completely opt-in so WiZ users can decide for themselves whether they would like to make use of the motion-detection feature.

The full Signify article about the latest WIZ products can be read here.

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The Language of the Circular Economy

Do you wish you knew a little bit more about the circular economy and how it applies to sustainable lighting? The Sustainable Furnishings Council has recently published Circular Design Glossary: Furniture & Furnishings.

Do you wish you knew a little bit more about the circular economy and how it applies to sustainable lighting? The Sustainable Furnishings Council has recently published Circular Design Glossary: Furniture & Furnishings, in collaboration with mebl | Transforming Furniture and Soma studiomilano. The glossary defines and explains 43 different terms from circular economy practice, such as: Biodesign, Biomimicry, Cradle to Cradle, Embedded Impacts, Just Transition, Regenerative Design, Technical Nutrients, and many more.

Every defined term comes with an example from the furniture industry, including several that are from lighting (see examples below). The full glossary document can be downloaded here.


BIOMIMICRY: 25Lamp by Kovac Family draws inspiration from mollusk shell structure to create a design that folds and unfolds, allowing for flat packaging. Through BIOMIMICRY – mimicking nature – the design of the 25Lamp greatly reduces the waste and pollution associated with packing and transporting. Flat packaging results in reduced CO2 emissions by both requiring less space in transport and reducing/eliminating the need for packing materials such as plastic and foam. The 25Lamp – handmade in Sweden from local FSC-certified and reclaimed wood – is shipped with a modest amount of 100% recycled packaging.

 


COMPOSTABLE: The MushLume Lighting Collection by biodesigner Danielle Trofe comprises hanging pendants, tables, and floor lamps. This collection combines hemp with mycelium – the vegetative part of fungi – to “grow lampshades.” Within a few days, mycelium cultivates a thick network of hyphae – long filamentous branches found in fungi – which is then left to solidify within custom lampshade molds. When the mycelium matures, the molds are removed and the lampshades are then dried and heated. This creates a stable, 100% COMPOSTABLE product that can ultimately add nutrients back to the earth.

 

BIODESIGN: The Bacteria Lamp by designer Jan Klingler uses bacteria samples from people, places, or things to preserve memories. The designer explains that every living creature and place has a unique microbiological “fingerprint.” Applying BIODESIGN, Jan Klingler collects a fingerprint, then lets the bacteria grow for 24 – 48 hours. He then seals the microorganisms within a resin to preserve the unique pattern for eternity. While bacteria is usually associated with disease, this collection shows that it can also carry a story of people or places dear to us.

 

 

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Product Monday: iGuzzini Optic Combines Reflector with Light Guide Trim

One of the most interesting products that we found at ArchLIGHT Summit was the new Crystal line of linear recessed luminaires from iGuzzini. Their Opti Diamond optic dazzles. It combines the roles of a low-glare reflector for the LED sources while also behaving as a light guide trim that subtly illuminates the ceiling.

One of the most interesting products that I found at ArchLIGHT Summit was the new Crystal line of linear recessed luminaires from iGuzzini. Their Opti Diamond optic dazzles. It combines the roles of a low-glare reflector for the LED sources while also behaving as a light guide trim that subtly illuminates the ceiling (see images).

The Opti Diamond optic is offered in a variety of finishes and light distribution patterns for different applications. The two finishes are referred to as “black” or “white,” but this doesn’t convey the effects, in my opinion. The “white” finish looks like a highly reflective polymer reflector that directs light downward, but simultaneously it is a trim and light guide that subtly illuminates the ceiling around the downlight. The “black” finish behaves somewhat like a black baffle in eliminating all glare when viewed at an angle, while maintaining the light guide trim illumination of the ceiling. The white is brighter, and the black creates a more unusual contrast effect.

The Opti Diamond optics are offered with four light distribution patterns:

  • A High Efficiency & Visual Comfort version, with UGR<19, that is designed for workplaces;
  • The Oval distribution version (with both longitudinal and transversal light emission) is designed for narrow environments, like corridors;
  • A General Lighting version for illuminating space evenly / symmetrically; and
  • A Wall Washer version for pointing light mainly on the vertical plane.

The Crystal linear downlights can be controlled by smartphone, via the Smart Light Control app. Other performance specifications for the Crystal line include:

  • From 1000 lm to 3300 lm
  • 3000K; 3500K; 4000K; Tunable white
  • CRI 80 or 90
  • Up to 156 lm/W
  • General Light, UGR
  • WF, 32°, WW, Oval Beam

A 14-second video that captures the visual effects is available if you click below:

Additional information about iGuzzini’s Crystal line is available here

 

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Important Details About The California Fluorescent Lamp Ban

On September 18, 2022, California banned fluorescent lamps, both CFLs and linear fluorescent lamps, joining Vermont’s ban in May, and the EU’s ban in December. California went beyond Vermont’s ban on 4’ lamps, by banning linear fluorescent tubes up to 8’ long.I chased down the legislative details for you.

Earlier this week, California banned fluorescent lamps, both CFLs and linear fluorescent lamps, joining Vermont’s ban in May, and the EU’s ban in December. California went beyond Vermont’s ban on 4’ lamps, by banning linear fluorescent tubes up to 8’ long.

I chased down the legislative language and found the following effective date information for the CA ban:

  • Screw or bayonet base CFLs are prohibited on and after January 1, 2024.
  • Pin-based CFLs are prohibited on or after January 1, 2025.
  • Linear fluorescent lamps (aka fluorescent tubes) are prohibited on or after January 1, 2025.

Other interesting details of the law include:

  • The legal language prohibits “final sale, sold at final sale, or distributed in CA as a new manufactured product.”
  • The bill exempts various CFLs and linear lamps, including ones for image capture and projection, lamps used for disinfection, sunlamps for tanning, and other specialized lamps for medical purposes & scientific research.
  • The CFL ban applies to all tube diameters and all tube lengths, including, but not limited to: PL, spiral, twin tube, triple, twin, 2D, U-bend, and circular.
  • The linear fluorescent ban includes, but is not limited to:
    • single-pin, two-pin, and recessed double contact.
    • all tube diameters, including, but not limited to T5, T8, T10, and T12.
    • all tube lengths from 0.5 to 8.0 feet, inclusive.
    • all lamp shapes, including, but not limited to linear, U-bend, and circular.

The remarkably brief 2.5-page legal language can be downloaded here.

 

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Are Graphene Composite Heat Sinks & Housings Ready To Replace Aluminum?

New materials have changed the lighting industry before. The change from RGB to phosphor-converted white LEDs was enabled by InGaN blue-pump LED development. Similarly, many TIR lenses have shifted from polymers such as polycarbonate to optical silicone..Another potential materials leap for the LED industry is that Chinese factories are beginning to offer high output luminaires with graphene composite heat sinks & housings.

New materials have changed the lighting industry before. The change from RGB to phosphor-converted white LEDs was enabled by InGaN blue-pump LED development. Similarly, many TIR lenses have shifted from polymers such as polycarbonate to optical silicone. I’ve also recently written about the great performance leaps of GaN-on-GaN transistors and their ability to double luminaire output or halve driver size. .

Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is the building block of Graphite (which is used, among others things, in pencil tips), but graphene is a remarkable substance on its own – with a multitude of astonishing properties which repeatedly earn it the title “wonder material.” The 2010 Nobel prize in physics went to the two scientists who first isolated graphene in 2004.

Graphene composite heat sinks & housings can now significantly reduce weight and cost compared with typical aluminum alloys, for the same application.  The heat dissipation of graphene composites is the same as aluminum alloy but at a fraction of the cost.

Have you considered developing graphene composite heat sinks and housings? Share your findings and experience with this new approach in the comments below or send us an email – we are looking forward to learning more about this material.

Example of a graphene composite high bay luminaire.

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City Downtowns Evolving Away From Office Use….What’s Next?

The pandemic has changed office work in many ways. Companies that are creating new offices are doing so predominantly in suburbs now, rather than downtowns. Many companies and industries have accepted hybrid and remote work arrangements, dramatically reducing the need for office space altogether.

The pandemic has changed office work in many ways. Companies that are creating new offices are doing so predominantly in suburbs now, rather than downtowns. Many companies and industries have accepted hybrid and remote work arrangements, dramatically reducing the need for office space altogether. Many think these changes are here to stay for the foreseeable future. In 10 of the largest US cities, office occupancy averages are less than half, roughly 44% as of mid-August, of what they were in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

Will this bring the death of urban downtowns? Leading urban economist & professor Richard Florida argues in Bloomberg that downtown districts will continue to survive and evolve as they always have. Florida says that city downtowns have survived far worse than the pandemic’s current upheaval of the office real estate market. Downtowns have continuously adapted to great fires, floods and natural disasters, epidemics and plagues, wars, deindustrialization, and terrorist attacks. He points out that downtowns dominated by office buildings are as recent as the 1950s. Prior to that, they were filled with small businesses, factories, and residences.

Prior to COVID, downtowns were already shifting to restaurants, nightlife, cultural venues, schools, apartments & condos, and other services and amenities. The pandemic and its persistent increase in remote work have accelerated this shift. Downtown housing costs have recently rebounded and skyrocketed past pre-pandemic levels. This incentivizes more conversion of older downtown office buildings into residential apartments & condos. Some cities, including Salt Lake City, UT; Columbus, OH; Fresno, CA; and Bakersfield, CA have rebounded beyond pre-pandemic levels. Florida suggests thinking of downtowns as connectivity districts, a city’s most central location for business and social meetings at restaurants, cafes, and other venues. Read the full article here.

What does this all mean for lighting? Total office space is likely to decrease. New office construction will shift from downtowns to suburbs and small city locations that minimize commutes. Downtowns will continue their shifts toward restaurants, nightlife, cultural venues, schools, apartments & condos, and other services and amenities. This would argue for expansion of light commercial and resimercial lighting product lines.

How do you see the urban lighting markets changing? Please share your observations in the comment section below.

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German Manufacturer Calls For Design Shift To Delivered Efficacy

A German spotlight manufacturer, ERCO, has issued a public call for the lighting design industry to shift from luminaire efficacy (measured in lumens/Watt) to the “effectiveness of the light in the space” (aka “delivered efficacy,” measured in lux/Watt or foot-candles/Watt).

A German spotlight manufacturer, ERCO, has issued a public call for the lighting design industry to shift from luminaire efficacy (measured in lumens/Watt) to the “effectiveness of the light in the space” (aka “delivered efficacy,” measured in lux/Watt or foot-candles/Watt).

If the lighting design community adopted this approach and metrics, it would begin judging the efficiency of a luminaire by how well it puts light where desired rather than how efficiently it emits light. This isn’t a completely new idea. At the LED chip level, it’s long been promoted that higher lumen density (lumens/light emitting surface) leads to higher “optical control” and higher delivered efficiency. The principle is the same at the luminaire level. This is why there has long been a push for higher output point sources from smaller and smaller emitting areas/sources.

Center beam candle power (CBCP) describes the ability of a luminaire/source to deliver brightness to a location, but it doesn’t describe the efficiency of delivering that brightness. Lx/W (metric system) or fc/W (English units) would describe delivered efficacy of a luminaire.

ERCO is also publicly calling for “a general movement towards the illumination of vertical surfaces over the floor.” This is increasingly being advocated by thought leaders in lighting design, as much work has moved from paper and physical items to digital & vertical computer screens. Of course, as in all things, application matters. ERCO adds, “Historically, walls haven’t been prioritized, although the latest version of the European indoor lighting standard EN 12464-1 now takes it more seriously.”

ERCO further argues that their spotlight uses lower lumen/W, high-powered, small chips that achieve higher lx/W than a COB+reflector combination because the COB+reflector wastes significantly more light.

From the company’s press release:

“ERCO spotlights, by contrast, use lens systems [paired] with single high-powered chips. This tiny but bright point of light is much easier to control into a narrow beam of effective light. ERCO mounts the chips themselves into their own printed circuit boards before pairing them with a bespoke lens design.

Although this construction has nominally lower lm/W values, it brings up to 20 percent more light to the target surface compared to rivals. This means that [designers] who only look at the lm/W values on a luminaire‘s technical data sheet are giving away the potential for sustainable lighting focusing on more light on the target area as well as for energy savings.”

ERCO also points out this can significantly reduce glare, which in many cases is wasted light (spill light). The full ERCO press release can be found here.

Example of lighting walls (vertical plane) rather than floors (horizontal plane).

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Product Monday: StressCrete’s Decorative Streetlights & Poles Revitalize Main Street

In the Summer of 2021, StressCrete provided a turn-key solution to help revitalize Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas, a small town in Texas Hill Country.

In the Summer of 2021, StressCrete provided a turn-key solution to help revitalize Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas, a small town in Texas Hill Country. The solution combined:

The small town of Fredericksburg, in Texas Hill Country, revitalized its Main Street using 30 sets of decorative streetlights and light poles, from StressCrete.

  • 30’ Washington poles with flag holders, banner arms, and flowerpot-holders;
  • K807 Doral Sr. Pendants for the roadway; and
  • twin K707 Doral Jr. Pendants for pedestrian sidewalks.

30 sets of the decorative luminaires and poles were carefully paired by StressCrete Group and its partners: Wesco (distributor) and FAPCo (rep). Unique features of the decorative streetlight & pole solution include:

  • Pole Adders for increased decorative options:
    • Flag Holders
    • Banner Arms
    • Flowerpot Holders
    • GFIs
  • Dark-sky performance – zero uplight
  • 3000K for visual comfort
  • Turn-Key solution provided in partnership with the distributor, rep, and contractor
  • Efficient photometrics utilizing existing pole locations and city infrastructure

To achieve the desired aesthetic look, additional engineering work was required to ensure adequate strength in the poles to accommodate all of the additional loading. WESCO, FAPCo, StressCrete Group, and the contractor provided a complete solution that delivers adequate light levels, utilized existing pole locations, accommodated existing city infrastructure, provided all of the required banner, flag, and flowerpot decoration mountings, and still achieved the desired improved aesthetic. The City of Fredericksburg now enjoys a renewed sense of pride in their Main Street and is now planning to extend the revitalization to other areas of the city.

Read the full case study here.

 

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