Controlling Lighting with Gestures

lisenseResearchers at Dartmouth College have come up with a method of controlling all lights in a home with simple hand movements. Called LiSense, it uses visible light communication.

BizLED has the story. Check it out here.

Product Monday: VivAA by Waldmann

Waldmann Lighting’s ViVAA offers flexibility and minimalist design for interior spaces, notably medical facilities.

Depending on ceiling height and lighting preference, one can choose the size, pendant length and color temperature for the luminaire.

The balanced shade is finished with a canopy cover and light ring made of polished stainless steel. The luminaire is available with two different diameters (16 in and 24 in) and various color and pattern options for the stainless steel housing. Additionally, it offers glare-free microprism-based optics, direct/indirect (40%/60%) distribution and warm white (3000K) or daylight white (4000K) dimmable LEDs.

ViVAA is available with the company’s Visual Timing Light option. This light management system supports the rhythm of natural light, stimulating rest and activity phases by changing light color and intensity, automatically.

Click here to learn more.


DOE Publishes GATEWAY Report on Successful LED Wall Washer Retrofit

marylandThe U.S. Department of Energy has released a report on a GATEWAY demonstration, in which maintenance and energy costs were significantly reduced while retaining the quality of light when LED modules replaced 87 halogen lamps in existing wall washers at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

The project began with mockups in the spring of 2014, with final installation completed in March 2015. The primary goals were to maintain the visual appearance of the space while reducing maintenance costs, with energy savings considered an additional benefit.

Two options were considered financially feasible: a complete LED wall washer and a retrofit of the internal components of the existing wall washer with an LED module. The mockup provided an opportunity to visually evaluate light distribution, glare, color, dimming behavior and flicker. Many of these factors were unfavorable for the LED wall washer, while the LED module cost less, delivered the desired quality of light, was easier to install, and was selected as the best solution. Energy savings over the halogen wall washers were calculated at approximately 80%.

Some minor visual changes were noted after the retrofit, but they were considered acceptable by UMD. All installed LED modules were operational and required no maintenance as of the writing of the report, so the benefits of the LED module wall washer retrofit are already being realized. UMD facilities management is pleased with the results of this retrofit, and continues to initiate LED retrofit projects across the campus.

Click here to get the report.

Architecture Billings Index Backslides

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) slipped in August after showing mostly healthy business conditions so far this year. 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 August ABI score was 49.1, down from a mark of 54.7 in July. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).

The new projects inquiry index was 61.8, down from a reading of 63.7 the previous month.

“Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”

Key August ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Midwest (56.1), South (53.8), West (50.2) Northeast (46.8)

• Sector index breakdown: institutional (53.7), mixed practice (52.8), commercial / industrial (49.7) multi-family residential (49.5)

• Project inquiries index: 61.8

• Design contracts index: 55.3

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


Lighting Systems Index Sees Increases During Second Quarter With Mixed Component Results

Demand for lighting equipment, as measured by NEMA’s Lighting Systems Shipments Index, increased by 2.2% year-over-year (y/y) and by 0.4% quarter-to-quarter during the second quarter of 2015.

The increase was driven by emergency lighting and luminaires, which gained ground on a year-over-year basis, while the ballast and lamp–large and miniature–components offset these gains with year-over-year declines.


Inside the New IES Method for Color Evaluation

The color quality of light sources is critical in a broad range of applications, from making colors pop in retail merchandise to promoting social interaction by properly rendering skin tones.

To evaluate, predict and discuss color quality, the industry relies on two metrics, correlated color temperature (CCT) and the color rendering index (CRI). Varying these metrics can dramatically change the visual appearance of objects and spaces.

CRI, a standard developed by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), expresses color fidelity, or how closely a source renders colors compared to an ideal light source. Despite its limitations, CRI last received a major revision in 1974, with much of the science behind it going back to 1937.

The proliferation of LED lighting, with its unique characteristics, accelerated demand for a new and improved metric. In 2006, CIE began working on one but hasn’t achieved consensus. In 2013, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) formed the Color Metrics Task Group, which developed TM-30-15, IES Method for Evaluating Light Source Rendition.

This extraordinary method creates new metrics, backed by the latest color science research, that provide greater accuracy and more information about color rendering. These metrics are intended to be used alongside CRI, be revised based on industry feedback, support CIE’s efforts, and ultimately replace the CRI metric.

TM-30 introduces three major tools:

• Fidelity Index, which expresses color fidelity or rendering;
• Gamut Index, which expresses average color saturation; and
• color vector and distortion graphics, which indicate relative saturation and muting of individual colors.

Color fidelity (rendering)
The Fidelity Index (Rf) (0-100 scale) is analogous to CRI (Ra) but is based on average fidelity across 99 color samples instead of eight. This provides more accuracy while incentivizing manufacturers to design light sources that optimize average color rendering across a broader palette instead of just eight test colors.

As with CRI, a score of 100 means the light source renders all colors as well as the reference source, assuming they have the same CCT. With 99 colors, however, and with manufacturers previously incentivized to optimize color rendition of CRI’s eight colors, many traditional light sources may have a lower Rf value than CRI. A triphosphor fluorescent lamp, for example, could have a CRI of 86 but an Rf of 80.


A major limitation of relying on a color fidelity metric alone is it doesn’t cover color distortion. We could have two light sources with the same Rf and CRI but where one results in reds visually popping because its emission enhances reds, or the other lamp is desaturating (muting) that color.

To address this, a second color metric, Gamut Index (Rg), is used. This metric expresses the extent of average color saturation or desaturation compared to the reference source. If Rg is higher than 100, the light emission is producing an average increase in saturation; if lower, an average decrease.

The below graphics, courtesy of the Department of Energy and Randy Burkett Lighting Design, provide a simulated example. The two graphics on the right indicate how a space looks under light sources with the same CRI but with different levels of saturation, which causes reds to visually pop on the far right.


Individual color distortion
While average gamut is useful, it is often important to know which colors are saturated or desaturated, not just the average. For this, we use the third major tool offered by TM-30, which is color vector and distortion graphics.

Looking at the color distortion graphic for a sample light source with an Rf or 81 and an Rg of 101 (Department of Energy), colors outside the white circle have increased saturation, while a lack of color (black) inside the circle indicates desaturation. This light source, on average, enhances saturation, though it specifically saturates blues and other colors while muting reds and other colors.


And here we see the space shown earlier with color vector graphics for the light sources used:


And more
For those who want to take their analysis further, TM-30-15 offers additional indexes including skin fidelity (Rf,skin), fidelity by hue (Rf#), chroma shift by sample (Rf,CES#) and fidelity by sample (Rf,CES#).

TM-30 is a major advance in the lighting industry, providing more accurate and informative tools allowing lighting professionals to predict, evaluate and communicate color in their projects. Now comes adoption. It remains to be seen how well accepted these new metrics will be by specifiers, manufacturers and owners.

Click here to view/listen to an archived Department of Energy presentation on how TM-30 was developed and how to apply it.

Product Monday: Plank and Curv by Alera

Hubbell Lighting’ Alera Lighting has launched two new linear lighting solutions—the Plank 7” LED (LP7) and the Curv Radial Lens LED, a new addition to the Curv Radial family.

The Plank 7” LED fixture has a classic rectangular form that is easily integrated into many different design styles. The product can be used for uplight, downlight or a combination of the two, and may be used with external controls or shipped with integrated controls. The fixture is available in lumen packages ranging from 3165 to 7600 per four-foot section and three LED CCT color choices.

The elegant Curv Radial Lens LED fixture’s soft glow opal acrylic lens creates a smooth and glowing contour, providing indirect/direct or direct illumination. The highly efficient fixture is perfect for areas where visual comfort is important, different light levels are required within the same space or where daylight harvesting is part of the building design. The Curv Radial Lens LED is available in lumen packages ranging from 4350 to 7250 and three LED CCT color choices.

Both products are CSA and cUL-certified and come with a five-year warranty.

Click here to learn more about Plank and here to learn about Curv.

Alera Curv and Plank

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Publishes Article on Power Over Ethernet

Electrical Contractor Power Over Ethernet 2_0Good article by Susan Bloom about Power over Ethernet electrical distribution in ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. It’s well suited to LED lighting. Will this be the future of power distribution? Some contractors may see it more as a threat than an opportunity.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is any of several standardized or ad-hoc systems that pass electrical power along with data on Ethernet cabling. These systems enable a single cable to provide both data connection and electrical power to such devices as wireless access points, phone systems, Internet protocol (IP) cameras and light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. An approach that’s become an increasingly efficient medium for power delivery to a range of a building’s low-voltage systems, PoE-driven applications are delivering cost savings, ease of installation and enhanced flexibility to qualified projects. 

Read it here.

Lighting Changes Proposed for ASHRAE/IES Energy Standard

Twenty-three addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, are now open for public comment until October 4, 2015.

Among the addenda open for public comment is addendum ch, which proposes a new set of interior lighting power densities (LPD) limits for both building area and space by space compliance paths. The LPD limits are calculated using IES formulas that relate lighting energy use to lighting quantity based on the application of appropriate lighting technologies into individual space models. These models incorporate efficient cost-effective lighting technology, appropriate light loss factors, and current design practice that incorporate quality design elements. Specifically, the new LPD limits stem from inclusion of LED technology into the space type models that are used to determine appropriate LPD limits for compliance with the standard.

The new LPD values are generally lower by sometimes small to often significant amounts. The magnitude of the change is based primarily on the amount of LED technology incorporated into the model.

“These proposed changes have been under consideration within the 90.1 Lighting Subcommittee for several years,” Richman said. “Inclusion of LEDs were seriously considered for the 2013 version of the standard. However, at the time the changes needed to be processed (late 2012), the cost of LEDs was still relatively high and the variety and depth of available products was not deemed sufficient to incorporate into a mandatory code. We understand that LED technology continues to improve and become even more cost-effective such that by the time these new requirements are required for building projects, their effectiveness and viability on code compliance will be even easier.”

Additional proposed lighting-related changes include:

• bw, which provides a baseline for lighting controls consistent with addendum bm.
• cc, which replaces the definition of sidelighting effective aperture that was inadvertently deleted in 90.1-2013.
• cg, which modifies the exterior LPD for building exteriors.

Click here to comment or learn more.

Strong Conditions Persist for Architecture Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting healthy and sustained demand for design services in nearly all nonresidential project types.

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

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July ABI score was 54.7, down a point from a mark of 55.7 in June. This score still reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.7, up slightly from a reading of 63.4 the previous month.

“On top of what has been a flurry of design activity in recent months, some architects are reporting a break in the logjam created by clients placing projects on hold for indefinite periods, which bodes well for business conditions in the months ahead,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There is some uneasiness in the design community that rapid growth in construction costs could escalate beyond development capital and municipal budgets, which could trigger some contraction in the marketplace down the road.”

Key July ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Midwest (58.2), South (55.7), West (53.8) Northeast (53.5)
• Sector index breakdown: institutional (57.3), mixed practice (56.8), commercial / industrial (53.4) multi-family residential (49.8)
• Project inquiries index: 63.7
• Design contracts index: 54.5

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