Month: December 2010

EPA Issues Guidance on PCB-Containing Fluorescent Ballasts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released guidance recommending that schools take steps to reduce potential exposures to PCBs from older fluorescent lighting fixtures. Click here to learn more. There…

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released guidance recommending that schools take steps to reduce potential exposures to PCBs from older fluorescent lighting fixtures. Click here to learn more.

There should not be a single school in the country using these ballasts. They should be replaced immediately with higher-efficiency lighting systems.

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Phu Hoang Office and Rachely Rotem Studio Design Create Luminous Public Art Venue at Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair

Wind is inherently without form. The Exhale pavilion harnessed this essential formlessness to create a dynamic interactive environment for public art. The winning competition entry for the Art Basel Miami…

Wind is inherently without form. The Exhale pavilion harnessed this essential formlessness to create a dynamic interactive environment for public art. The winning competition entry for the Art Basel Miami Beach and Creative Time Oceanfront project by Phu Hoang Office and Rachely Rotem Studio created a public art venue for the annual Art Basel Miami Beach contemporary art fair. The evening programs included video and performance artists as well as D.J. dance programs. The 25,000-sq.ft. beach site in Miami Beach was temporarily transformed by seven miles of hanging ropes swaying in the wind. The form of the pavilion literally shifted with the weather, producing an open, flexible and dynamic environment.

The Exhale pavilion used two types of rope to create diverse interactive environments. Some ropes were reflective while others were phosphorescent; together, they produced a canopy that shimmered and glowed in the night. An interactive installation of “floating ropes” was activated by a wind-speed sensor. When the wind reached a particular speed, it momentarily activated all of the adjacent ultraviolet lights, “charging” a field of glowing phosphorescent rope. Other, smaller wind speed sensors mounted at human height responded directly to users’ behavior. When someone blew on a sensor, it momentarily “charged” the nearby glowing ropes. Additionally, a hammock clearing provided a space for the public to lounge and swing beneath the swaying rope canopy. Both the floating ropes installation and hammock gave form to the site’s wind effects while creating new forms of public interaction with the environment.

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Current and Future North American Business Conditions Indexes End 2010 on Upswing

NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions climbed for a second consecutive month in December, rising 5.5 points to 68, its highest level since June….

NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions climbed for a second consecutive month in December, rising 5.5 points to 68, its highest level since June. A reading above 50 indicates more panelists than not reported conditions improved during the month. Forty percent of survey panelists reported improved conditions in December, while only four percent reported deteriorating conditions.

The intensity of change in current North American conditions also edged higher in December increasing to +0.4 from +0.3 the previous month. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).

The EBCI for future North American conditions rose for a fourth straight month in December. The index reached 78, its highest mark since well before the severe recession of 2008-09, and is up a cumulative 24 points August 2010.

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Architecture Billings Index Reaches Highest Score Since 2007

After stepping back in October reversing into the negative territory, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rose more than three points in November to reach its highest mark since December 2007….

After stepping back in October reversing into the negative territory, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rose more than three points in November to reach its highest mark since December 2007. 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 November ABI score was 52.0, up from a reading of 48.7 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.4, down slightly from a mark of 61.7 in October.

“While this is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “We continue to hear a wide mix of business conditions, with a good deal of it still indicating flat or no demand for design services. Once we see several months in a row of increasing demand we can feel safe saying we have entered a recovery phase. Until then, we can expect continued volatility in business conditions.”

Key November ABI highlights:

o Regional averages: Northeast (51.1), Midwest (50.9), South (50.5), West (48.7)
o Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.3), commercial / industrial (49.8), institutional (49.3), mixed practice (45.8)
o Project inquiries index: 61.4

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EleBLog Provides Free Access to Key Government Data on Electrical Contractors and Workers

Info on electrical contractors from the 2007 Economic Census, and official government projections for electrician needs in 2018–printed in six 2010 issues of tED magazine–was recently posted to The EleBlog,…

Info on electrical contractors from the 2007 Economic Census, and official government projections for electrician needs in 2018–printed in six 2010 issues of tED magazine–was recently posted to The EleBlog, operated by a guy I’m proud to call friend and colleague, Joe Salimando, a freelance writer/editor for TED.

“After the December issue posted, I noticed that these data did not appear to be available anywhere else online,” Joe told me. “You can wade through the Census Bureau site and the BLS projections, of course. And anyone who receives the print issue of tED, or has registered for the digital edition at tedmag.com, has seen or can access these articles. But most contractors don’t read a distributor magazine. I obtained permission to post these articles on The EleBlog–accessible without needing a password.”

Each brief blog posting includes a link to a PDF download. The topics:

2007 Electrical Contractor sales by state
’07 work by building type
Maintenance Grows Fastest
Direct sales outpace subcontracting
11,000 more ECs in ’07 (than in ’02)
BLS projections for Electrician needs in 2018 (vs. actual figures from 2008)

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Incandescent Lamp Index Declines to Record Low During Third Quarter of 2010

NEMA’s index for incandescent lamps declined 17.2 percent for the third quarter, registering a record low reading of 46.5. The index showed a year-over-year decline of nearly 19.0 percent. Shipments…

NEMA’s index for incandescent lamps declined 17.2 percent for the third quarter, registering a record low reading of 46.5. The index showed a year-over-year decline of nearly 19.0 percent. Shipments of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) waned as well, with the index dipping 18.2 percent to 168.8—a level not seen since 2006. Moreover, CFL shipments decreased 12.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

CFLs continue to garner nearly one out of every four lamp sales despite the downturn in shipments during the third quarter. There were minor fluctuations in the market shares for CFLs and incandescent lamps during the quarter, posting 24.4 and 75.6 shares, respectively. The 1:4 sales ratio is expected to continue until the first phase of the new incandescent lamp efficiency regulations established by EISA 2007 take effect beginning in 2012.

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Jim Brodrick on Domestic LED Product Manufacturing

Guest post by Jim Brodrick, Department of Energy Although you do not often hear about growth in domestic manufacturing here in the United States, the solid-state lighting industry is steadily…

Guest post by Jim Brodrick, Department of Energy

Although you do not often hear about growth in domestic manufacturing here in the United States, the solid-state lighting industry is steadily growing and establishing a manufacturing presence here at home. Solid-state lighting was not only born of U.S. ingenuity and R&D, but is riding the crest of a worldwide regulatory trend toward greater energy efficiency. This offers a golden opportunity for U.S. manufacturing to take a significant role in SSL. From time to time, these Postings will focus on SSL companies manufacturing here in the U.S., a series we call “SSL in America.” This is not intended to promote any of the companies, but rather to motivate and inspire others to follow suit. The philosophy and actions of the companies you’ll read about here align with the recommendations set forth in the DOE white paper “Keeping Manufacturing in the United States,” which grew out of DOE’s 2010 SSL Manufacturing R&D Workshop.

Many of you know that MOCVD stands for “metal organic chemical vapor deposition,” and that it’s a key part of making LEDs. The MOCVD process puts the chemical layers on the wafer, which is the first step in creating an LED. MOCVD is an especially critical step, because the materials it deposits are the ones that actually emit the light, so their quality and structure determine how efficient the LED is.

Veeco is a company that makes MOCVD equipment. Veeco’s origins date back to the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, when the company made helium leak detectors. Today it makes processing equipment – not only for MOCVD, which is used in the manufacturing of solar panels as well as LEDs, but also for the data storage and CIGS film (copper indium gallium selenide) solar industries. The company’s involvement with MOCVD began in 2004, when it purchased the MOCVD division of Emcore. A spinoff of Bell Labs, Emcore was a New Jersey-based pioneer in MOCVD.

Veeco does most of its MOCVD engineering in Somerset, NJ, but outsources most of the manufacturing. However, the majority of that outsourced manufacturing is done in the U.S. by other U.S.-based companies. The net result is more than 1,000 U.S. jobs, according to Veeco, counting those at Veeco and its outsourcing partners, which are located all across the country – from New York, to California, to Minnesota, to Texas. What factors led Veeco to make its MOCVD equipment in the U.S.? Bill Quinn, the company’s chief technology officer, says that for one thing, Emcore was already based here. And MOCVD was developed in the U.S. back in the 1980s, so that not only was the technology expertise here, but the equipment expertise as well.

The recipient of one of DOE’s first SSL manufacturing awards, Veeco is using that funding in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories to lower the cost of LEDs by developing a new generation of MOCVD tools that are more efficient and have a higher yield. MOCVD is currently used in the manufacture of all LEDs, not just those for general illumination. The majority of the MOCVD tools that Veeco manufactures are used to make LEDs for backlighting TV sets. Only about 10% of the products made by Veeco’s customers are used for general illumination, which remains a much smaller LED market than other applications – although it’s expected to grow considerably in the years to come.

Veeco’s size has almost tripled in the past two years, and Bill says the company plans to continue growing its MOCVD operations. That growth won’t be hurt by the rapid expansion of the Chinese solid-state lighting market, which means lots more customers for Veeco’s MOCVD equipment.

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IES Announces Pre-Publication Offer for 10th Edition of IES Lighting Handbook

The 10th edition brings together in one volume the current state of knowledge as it relates to lighting and lighting design.

The 10th edition brings together in one volume the current state of knowledge as it relates to lighting and lighting design.

The new edition consists of new light level determination procedures and in-depth coverage of need-to-know topics like solid state lighting, daylighting, controls, sustainability, commissioning, energy management, qualitative design criteria and more.

IES has announced a pre-publication offer–$120 off the non-member price–that expires January 31, 2011.

Click here to learn more.

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AmerillumBrands Forms New Partnership With The Luminaires Group

The Luminaires Group, a Canadian corporation encompassing several lighting companies, has purchased a substantial interest in AmerillumBrands, a southern California lighting manufacturer.

The Luminaires Group, a Canadian corporation encompassing several lighting companies, has purchased a substantial interest in AmerillumBrands, a southern California lighting manufacturer.

The new partnership is named Amerillum, LLC, although the moniker will continue to be AmerillumBrands. Joining Ron Lancial, CEO and George C. Bosson, COO, as directors in the company, are experienced lighting industry entrepreneurs Guy St. Pierre and Serge Lambert, principals in The Luminaires Group.

This joint venture creates a cooperative relationship between AmerillumBrands divisions a•light and Alumen8, and The Luminaires Group’s other lighting partners Eureka, Cyclone and Distri-Lite.

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