Month: February 2009

ASHRAE to launch building energy labeling program

More than 2,800 people attended ASHRAE‘s 2009 Winter Conference, held Jan. 24-28, Chicago. Also taking place in conjunction with the meeting was the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, which attracted 54,000…

More than 2,800 people attended ASHRAE‘s 2009 Winter Conference, held Jan. 24-28, Chicago. Also taking place in conjunction with the meeting was the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, which attracted 54,000 registered visitors and exhibitor personnel.

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A major announcement was ASHRAE’s proposed building energy labeling program, which the Society expects to launch at the 2009 Annual Conference in Louisville, KY. Uniform metrics are vital to making buildings more energy efficient, according to Ron Jarnagin, chair of the committee overseeing the program, who updated attendees.

The ASHRAE program will include a method for rating the energy performance of buildings covered by Standard 90.1; qualification criteria for raters and assessors; provision of both Asset and Operational ratings to cover both design and operations; and a process for approving alternative methods. It is expected that the labeling requirements will be based on the ENERGY STAR requirements, and then expand beyond.

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For more information on the proposal, click here.

Costar Group also has an excellent article published online about the program, here.

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New Lighting Products in 2009

Since the launch of the blog I’ve been having to weed out comments for some of the posts where manufacturers or manufacturer sales reps are trying to promote their new…

Since the launch of the blog I’ve been having to weed out comments for some of the posts where manufacturers or manufacturer sales reps are trying to promote their new products.

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I’m not against people doing this, not at all. It’s just that those posts were not the right place for promotional messages.

To provide a forum, I am producing this post hoping it attracts the interest of manufacturers and specifiers, users, installers, etc., where manufacturers can talk about what’s new at their companies.

I’m not editing these comments beyond the usual rules, so you’re likely to see all sorts of products. Needless to say, LightNOW makes no endorsement, accepts no liability, etc.

So: What’s new?

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NCQLP Recognizes Lighting Controls Handbook

I hope you’ll excuse some blatant self promotion, but I received some good news about one of my books, The Lighting Controls Handbook. The book has been selected by NCQLP…

I hope you’ll excuse some blatant self promotion, but I received some good news about one of my books, The Lighting Controls Handbook. The book has been selected by NCQLP as a primary reference for its Lighting Certified (LC) certification exam.

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Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

“Intended for energy managers, electrical engineers, building managers, lighting designers, consultants, and other electrical professionals, this book provides a practical description of major lighting controls types and how to apply them. It’s a comprehensive step-by-step educational tour of lighting automation technology and its practical design and application, with useful discussion about the purpose and benefits of lighting controls, emphasizing the achieving of relevant energy savings, as well as support of occupant visual needs and preferences. The book shows readers how to take advantage of the many benefits of today’s sophisticated controls, including expanded energy saving opportunities, and increased flexibility, reliability and interoperability.”

You can get it from Amazon here.

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New Survey Suggests Typical Lighting Control Energy Savings in Office Buildings

The Lighting Controls Association authorized ZING Communications, Inc. to conduct a survey of a group of nearly 900 lighting designers, more than 730 electrical engineers and more than 530 lighting/energy…

The Lighting Controls Association authorized ZING Communications, Inc. to conduct a survey of a group of nearly 900 lighting designers, more than 730 electrical engineers and more than 530 lighting/energy consultants subscribing to the LightNOW lighting industry and lightingCONTROL lighting control e-newsletters. The survey, conducted online based on three email invitations distributed in December 2008 and February 2009, produced a 6% response. Of this response, 95 respondents qualified to complete the survey, an overall 4.4% response.

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The survey covers advanced lighting controls in the office building new construction and existing buildings retrofit markets, asking respondents to indicate how often they specify certain strategies, how they perform, whether energy savings are verified, and if so, how much energy they save on average.

Note that this is not a universe study. The results should not be attributed to the construction industry overall. The respondents, by virtue of their interest in lighting controls, subscription to lightingCONTROL, and their interest in and ability to complete a very detailed survey about lighting controls, suggests that they are in the high end of the lighting controls market. This introduces a bias with some of the results. For example, their satisfaction with controls may be higher than other construction professionals because they may design control systems better than their competitors. The data point that is most transferable across the market is average energy savings realized for certain control strategies.

How often are advanced controls specified and installed?

The subscribers divided themselves into two groups—those who focus on new construction, and those who focus on retrofits. They were asked to report the percentage of new construction or retrofit office building projects over the past two years for which they specified certain control strategies. They were then asked the same question, but concerning projects in which the controls were actually installed, not just specified. All resulting numbers are rough estimates (+5%), as respondents were asked to express their answers as a range (1-10%, 11-20%, etc.), which were defaulted to the middle as an assumption (5%, 15%, etc.). The numbers suggest rates of adoption for new construction and retrofit office building projects and substitution rates.

The results suggest that for new construction projects, occupancy sensors and bilevel switching are the most popular lighting control strategies. It is encouraging to see that the most progressive controls specifiers are specifying personal dimming control for one out of five projects, and the substitution rate, while higher than the other strategies, is still reasonable. The data appears to confirm that daylight harvesting is becoming more popular. However, there was one surprise: Occupancy sensors and scheduling controls would be expected to be installed in more projects.

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How often are advanced controls specified and installed into existing buildings?

The results suggest that for office building lighting retrofit projects, occupancy sensors and bilevel switching are the most popular lighting control strategies. The level of adoption of bilevel switching in existing buildings is surprising given the added cost and difficulties to the project. Bilevel switching is required by the Commercial Buildings Deduction, which may be more influential in office building retrofit projects over the past two years than we had supposed.

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Do specifiers regarding lighting control strategies as relatively problem-free?

Subscribers were asked to rate various lighting control strategies on a 1-5 scale based on how problematic the installed controls were during operation. A 1 indicated the installation was very problematic, a 3 somewhat problematic, and a 5 indicated that the controls are problem-free. No control types were identified as particularly problematic. These results are were expected.

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Why do specifiers specify advanced control strategies in their office projects?

Subscribers were asked to rate various reasons to specify advanced control strategies on a 1-5 scale based on their significance. A 1 indicated the possible reason is very significant, a 3 somewhat significant, and a 5 very significant. Energy codes and energy cost savings are identified as very highly significant as drivers to specify, which is not surprising. One interesting result is the importance of LEED and sustainability, identified as very significant (>4.0 rating), almost as significant as energy codes and energy cost savings.

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How often is the energy savings performance of office lighting control projects verified using monitoring or some other method?

Respondents were asked to identify the percentage of their office projects that include automatic lighting controls and in which energy savings were verified using monitoring or some other method. Nearly one-third of respondents said this occurs on their projects—an estimated 22% of projects, based on a weighted average of the responses with a +5% margin of error. These subscribers formed a subgroup to which another question was asked, which was to identify average lighting energy savings resulting from popular automatic lighting control strategies.

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How much lighting energy savings do popular automatic lighting control strategies produce?

Respondents were asked to identify average lighting energy savings resulting from installation of popular automatic lighting control strategies, as measured in their verification projects. All resulting numbers are rough estimates (+5%), as respondents were asked to express their answers as a range (1-10%, 11-20%, etc.), which were defaulted to the middle as an assumption (5%, 15%, etc.). The numbers suggest typical energy savings for popular lighting controls. Personal dimming control was eliminated due to insufficient data sample that was producing a suspicious result (25% energy savings, much higher than previous research).

The results for the remaining control types contradict conventional wisdom in the case of occupancy sensors, which were expected to be higher (around 35-45%), and scheduling controls, which were expected to be lower (around 5-10%).

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Do verified energy savings meet or exceed specifier expectations?

Respondents were asked to rate how well various control strategies installed in their office projects over the past two years met their energy savings expectations on a 1-5 scale. A 1 indicates it did not meet expectation, a 3 that it met expectations, and a 5 that it exceeded expectations. Occupancy sensor, scheduling and daylighting control strategies were ranked very highly by respondents. Personal dimming was eliminated due to insufficient response.

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Neo by Se’lux

Neo by Se’lux, designed by Jan Kleiheus and a winner of the Good Design Award from the Athenaeum Museum in Chicago, is a system of luminaires available in 3- and…

Neo by Se’lux, designed by Jan Kleiheus and a winner of the Good Design Award from the Athenaeum Museum in Chicago, is a system of luminaires available in 3- and 4-ft. nominal lengths in surface- and pendant-mounted configurations, creating numerous design possibilities with an attractive aesthetic.

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It’s one of the most interesting architectural lighting products I’ve seen so far this year.

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Philips Helps LED Manufacturers Comply with ENERGY STAR

Philips Lumileds has launched a free online tool that makes it easier for LED manufacturers to show compliance with ENERGY STAR standards. The tool addresses the requirements of the “Chromaticity…

Philips Lumileds has launched a free online tool that makes it easier for LED manufacturers to show compliance with ENERGY STAR standards. The tool addresses the requirements of the “Chromaticity and Spatial Uniformity” test for LED lighting that requires the beam of light to appear the same color to the human eye, regardless of which area of the beam the viewer looks at or where they are at in relation to the light source.

To show compliance with these requirements, the lighting manufacturer must have their product tested by an independent laboratory, which will produce a data set showing the color of the light output while under a wide variety of conditions. In many cases, this is a difficult and time-consuming process. With Lumileds tool, manufacturers simply enter the data set from their test lab, and the tool automatically performs all necessary calculations.

To use the tool, click here. (Warning: If you have pop-up blocking software, you may have to turn it off to access the tool.)

Speaking of Philips Lumileds, they have published a nifty LED glossary here.

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Post Digital

Royal Philips Electronics’ “Transitions” 2008 road show throughout Europe, featuring exhibits designed by eight leading European architects and lighting designers and installed in containers, was staged to showcase the exciting…

Royal Philips Electronics’ “Transitions” 2008 road show throughout Europe, featuring exhibits designed by eight leading European architects and lighting designers and installed in containers, was staged to showcase the exciting new possibilities offered by a new generation of lighting technology.

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Italy’s contribution, “Post Digital” by Fabio Novembre, consists of a cube of 30,000 LEDs that are sensitive to human proximity. The effect is amazing.

In Novembre’s words:

“Digital is all that is represented by digits; it comes from the Latin digitus meaning ‘finger’; and you count digits with your fingers.

“Digital is about transforming the analog nature of life into a countable block of elements. It is a human attempt at simplification of the infinite space.

“As a modern caveman, I wanted to create a link between the digital grid of LEDs and the freedom of movement of a body in space, without any physical contact. Simplification is a risky approach to the complexity of relations. . . . I want to enter a post-digital phase in which technology simplifies life whilst preserving its humanity.

“When you go close to the walls, without touching them, you can switch on the 30,000 LEDs and, like a writer, you can draw and write, and leave trails based on the movements inside the container.

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“Each individual circuit incorporates a movement detector which activates the LEDs instantaneously, but delays their switching off for a few seconds.”

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What if 80% of the lamps in your house had to be fluorescent? Part 2

Great conversation still happening in the comments section in an earlier post here. To which I’d like to add: Perhaps we are “banning” the wrong technology? CFLs save energy but…

Great conversation still happening in the comments section in an earlier post here.

To which I’d like to add: Perhaps we are “banning” the wrong technology?

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CFLs save energy but they have dimming issues with self-ballasted screw-in type units, thermal issues in some luminaires, sizing issues in others, color, time to reach full brightness, etc. Being forced to use CFLs will mean compromises for consumers of light.

Dimming, meanwhile, offers no compromises that I can think of except a cost adder compared to the light switch (which CFLs also have compared to the standard A lamp). Dimming enables homeowners to keep the advantages of incandescent lighting–warm color, easy control, instant ON, fits all existing luminaires, zero mercury in landfills (although admittedly more mercury would still be emitted by power plants producing the higher amount of electrical energy required), offers light distribution that existing luminaires were designed to produce. Plus many of them are made in America, not in China, and aren’t we trying to get more people employed on this continent?

Meanwhile, dimming can dramatically extend incandescent lamp life, which is good for the environment, and according to one study produces an average 20% energy savings.

I’d like to make the argument that if you use an energy saving halogen light bulb (such as the energy-saving version of Philips Halogena), which saves 30% energy at the expense of a 10% reduction in light output, plus a dimmer, which saves an average 20% in energy savings, and you get all the advantages of incandescent light plus longer life, with none of the disadvantages of CFLs, perhaps we are targeting the wrong technology?

Perhaps we should be allowing consumers to choose whatever light source they want, and instead ban the ON/OFF light switch and require dimming everywhere?

What do you think?

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Free Daylighting Webinar to Be Held March 18

Webinar: “Daylighting: Lighting Every Building Using the Sky” Presented by: Energy Center University in partnership with the Daylighting Collaborative, presenting faculty Abby Vogen Horn, Senior Project Manager, Energy Center of…

Webinar: “Daylighting: Lighting Every Building Using the Sky”

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Presented by: Energy Center University in partnership with the Daylighting Collaborative, presenting faculty Abby Vogen Horn, Senior Project Manager, Energy Center of Wisconsin
When: March 18, 2009 at 1:30pm – 3:00pm CDT

What: Integrated daylighting design is the key to whole building energy savings and a successful sustainable design. This 1.5 hour webinar examines critical daylighting design techniques and considerations. Participants will gain an overall understanding of how to approach daylighting design. Topics from this webinar include:

* Definition of successful daylighting
* Components of daylighting design
* Integration with electric lighting
* Top and side lighting strategies
* HVAC savings with daylighting
* Current daylighting software tools

As a result of this webinar, you will be able to:

* Explain how to implement successful daylighting design
* Specify critical daylighting design elements
* Explain how daylighting saves energy and reduces cost
* Describe how to critically analyze design options for projects
* Define one or more performance criteria necessary for successful daylighting

Who should view this webinar? Architects, lighting professionals, interior designers, building design professionals, engineers and anyone interested in learning about daylighting.

Credits: Payment is required to receive credit for this webinar. Once you have completed the course and passed a 10 question quiz, members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will earn 1 Learning Unit (HSW). Credit for the AIA Sustainable Design requirement has been submitted for 1 Learning Unit. Credit for the National Council on Qualifications for Lighting Professions (NCQLP) has been submitted for 1 lighting education unit. This course has been approved by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The webinar will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete and is an audio-visual presentation.

Cost: This webinar is free. To receive credit, you must pay $49 and pass a 10 question quiz.

Questions? For more information, call Phil Jahnke Sauer at 608.238.8276 x124 or click here to email him.

Register: Click here to register now. Space is limited, so register early.

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Architecture Billings Index Hits Another Historic Low

On the heels of a modest uptick in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped to a historic low level in January. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity,…

On the heels of a modest uptick in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped to a historic low level in January.

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

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI rating was 33.3, down from the 34.1 mark in December (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The inquiries for new projects score was 43.5.

Key January ABI highlights:

* Regional averages: West (38.3), Midwest (34.6), South (34.4), Northeast (29.8)

* Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (39.6), institutional (37.1), commercial / industrial (33.8), multi-family residential (29.5)

* Project inquiries index: 43.5

“Now that the stimulus bill has passed and includes funding for construction projects, as well as for municipalities to raise bonds, business conditions could improve,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “That said, until we can get a clearer sense of credit lines being made available by banks, it will be hard to gauge when a lot of projects that have been put on hold can get back online.”

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The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.

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