Month: April 2011

Interest in Kitchens and Bathrooms Beginning to Build, According to AIA Study

Residential architects are reporting that business conditions are stabilizing and there is a healthy demand for remodeling and renovation projects. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)…

Residential architects are reporting that business conditions are stabilizing and there is a healthy demand for remodeling and renovation projects. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms.

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis.

Economic pressures and the overall decline in home values resulted in the more modest design of kitchens and bathrooms in recent years. That trend appears to be changing towards homeowner preference for larger, and in some cases additional, kitchens and bathrooms. Households continue to desire products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns.

“We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place the over last two years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Key considerations are the amount of pantry space, dedicated recycling centers and the integration with family space allowing for easier child care and home entertaining.”

Popular kitchen products and features (index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity):

Popular kitchen products and features 2010 2009
     
Larger pantry space: 43% 47%
Recycling center: 40% 52%
Integration with family space: 38% 41%
Renewable flooring materials: 35% 46%
Computer area / recharging stations: 33% 43%
Renewable countertop materials: 32% 46%
Drinking water filtration systems: 26% 30%
Adaptability / universal design: 26% 28%
Double island: 22% 20%

Baker added, “In order to help manage utility costs, homeowners are still opting for items such as water saving toilets and LED lighting. Accessibility within the home and demand for universal design principles continues to be a priority and should remain so for the foreseeable future given the aging U.S. population.”

Popular bathroom products and features (index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity):

Popular bathroom products and features 2010 2009
     
Water saving toilets: 58% 63%
LED lighting: 46% 49%
Accessibility / universal design: 44% 50%
Doorless showers: 42% 47%
Radiant heated floors: 41% 52%
Hand showers: 34% 36%
Linen closet / storage: 21% 29%

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2010 (any score above 50 is positive):

+ Billings: 45(up from 42 in Q3 2010)
+ Inquiries for new projects: 56 (up from 49 in Q3 2010)

“The encouraging signs for the still struggling residential market are the increase in inquiries for new projects and that project backlogs at firms – the amount of work in-house and under contract – can now support current staff for over three months. Backlogs have been slowly trending up since early 2009.” said Baker.

Specific construction segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus those reporting weakening conditions):

+ Kitchen and bath remodeling: 45
+ Additions / alterations: 39
+ First-time buyer / affordable home market: -23
+ Custom / luxury home market: -25
+ Move-up home market: -27
+ Townhouse / condo market: -38
+ Second / vacation home market: -56

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People: Fulham Announces Marketing Director Jay Matsueda

Fulham Co, Inc. has appointed Jay Matsueda as Director of Marketing responsible for product launches, sales support, public relations, promotions, collateral development, packaging enhancements, research and related marketing and advertising…

Fulham Co, Inc. has appointed Jay Matsueda as Director of Marketing responsible for product launches, sales support, public relations, promotions, collateral development, packaging enhancements, research and related marketing and advertising functions. Matsueda’s prior lighting experience includes strategic marketing for companies such as Greenlite Lighting, Feit and Energetic Lighting. He also brings agency experience with Miller Group, Dentsu and Cimarron Group to his new position. Matsueda holds a degree from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

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Amerlux Announces 10-Year Warranty for LED Luminaires

Amerlux has announced a new 10-year warranty that began applying to the company’s LED luminaires starting February 1, 2011, demonstrating strong confidence. Click here to contact your Amerlux sales representative…

Amerlux has announced a new 10-year warranty that began applying to the company’s LED luminaires starting February 1, 2011, demonstrating strong confidence. Click here to contact your Amerlux sales representative and request a warranty document detailing complete information, terms and conditions.

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Architecture Billings Index in Holding Pattern

The first quarter of 2011 has seen the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remain virtually unchanged and right at, or slightly above, the break-even level. As a leading economic indicator of…

The first quarter of 2011 has seen the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remain virtually unchanged and right at, or slightly above, the break-even level.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 50.5, a negligible decrease from a reading of 50.6 the previous month. This score reflects a modest increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.7, up significantly from a mark of 56.4 in February.

“Currently, architecture firms are essentially caught swimming upstream in a situation where demand is not falling back into the negative territory, but also not exhibiting the same pace of increases seen at the end of 2010,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The range of conditions reported continues to span a very wide spectrum with some firms reporting an improving business environment and even ramping up staffing, while others continue to operate in survival mode. The catalyst for a more robust recovery is likely financing, with stronger growth occurring only when lending institutions begin approving credit for construction projects with much greater regularity.”

Key March ABI highlights:

+ Regional averages: Midwest (53.5), Northeast (51.4), West (50.6), South (49.7)
+ Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (54.7), multi-family residential (50.8), mixed practice (49.8), institutional (48.0)
+ Project inquiries index: 58.7

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Clanton & Associates Reveals Results of Comprehensive Study on Lighting Controls

Design firm Clanton & Associates has announced the results of a six-month study analyzing the value and energy savings of a variety of lighting control systems and technologies in typical…

Design firm Clanton & Associates has announced the results of a six-month study analyzing the value and energy savings of a variety of lighting control systems and technologies in typical commercial office lighting control retrofit projects. The overall findings show that wireless lighting control systems offer high energy and cost savings potential compared to conventional localized and centralized lighting control systems. The study was underwritten by wireless control manufacturer Daintree Networks, Inc.

“The value of advanced lighting controls is unmistakable, especially considering the ever-increasing energy efficiency mandates as well as ongoing initiatives to cut energy costs,” said Dane Sanders, professional engineer, principal and LEED accredited professional at Clanton & Associates. “Among controls systems, the research clearly shows that wireless controls offer significantly lower life-cycle and energy costs, and we are continuing to see the costs of wireless technology rapidly decrease.”

The study, titled Wireless Lighting Control: A Life Cycle Cost Evaluation of Multiple Lighting Control Strategies, modeled lighting retrofits for six controls scenarios in two sample office retrofit projects. The study resulted in several top-level findings:

• Advanced controls strategies such as daylight harvesting provide lower life-cycle costs than basic, code-compliant (ASHRAE 90.1 2007) lighting controls.
• Addressable, networked lighting control systems (wired and wireless) offer more features for the same or less life cycle cost as the other lighting control systems evaluated.
• Wireless controls solutions available today deliver up to 25% lower lifetime costs than comparable wired systems, while also providing significantly lower initial equipment and installation costs.

The goal of the study was to evaluate the cost effectiveness and potential energy savings of lighting control retrofit projects, with a special focus on advanced controls technologies. To this end, Clanton modeled and compared the results for sample retrofitted buildings in two different regions, Los Angeles and Boston, utilizing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climatological data for daylighting analysis and current energy costs. The study incorporated a thorough analysis of expected costs and energy savings from a variety of different lighting control systems, including ASHRAE 90.1 2007 and California’s Title 24-compliant localized controls, traditional panel-based, digital wired and wireless solutions.

A detailed report summarizing the key findings and methodology of the study can be downloaded for free at Daintree’s website here.

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American Lighting Launches New Blog

American Lighting has launched the American Lighting Blog at www.americanlightingblog.com. Through the new American Lighting Blogsite resellers, architects, designers, builders, electricians and customers can learn more about LED lighting, see…

American Lighting has launched the American Lighting Blog at www.americanlightingblog.com. Through the new American Lighting Blogsite resellers, architects, designers, builders, electricians and customers can learn more about LED lighting, see where it’s being used, learn best practices for installation, and view the beautiful, energy-efficient and money-saving results.

american lighting blog

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CIE/USA Sponsors Seminars on Solid-State Lighting Photometry, Colorimetry and Application

The U.S. chapter of the International Commission on Illumination (Commission International de l’Eclarage) – CIE/USA is hosting a series of seminars on solid-state lighting. The seminars begin at 7:00AM, May…

The U.S. chapter of the International Commission on Illumination (Commission International de l’Eclarage) – CIE/USA is hosting a series of seminars on solid-state lighting. The seminars begin at 7:00AM, May 19, 2011 at the Philadelphia Airport Courtyard Hotel (Philadelphia, PA), the last day of LIGHTFAIR, which is being held in the same city May 17-19.

Seminar topics include:

• Fundamentals of Photometry and IESNA LM-79,
• Fundamentals of CIE Colorimetry and Color Measurement,
• Color Quality of Light Sources,
• Importance of Terminology – New ILV edition and RP-16,
• Current Applications of Solid State Technology in Roadway and Street Lighting,
• Mesopic Vision – Review and Application of CIE 191:2010,
• Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO),
• Blue light hazard research,
• Flicker, and
• Summary of Laboratory accreditation summary related to SSL.

Speakers include:

• Bud Brainard,
• Dr. Wendy Davis,
• Dr. Ronald Gibbons,
• Dr. Cameron Miller,
• Terry McGowan,
• Naomi Miller, and
• Dr. Yoshi Ohno.

For more information, contact Thomas M. Lemons here.

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The Fairmont Press Publishes Lighting Redesign for Existing Buildings by LightNOW Editor Craig DiLouie

I’m pleased to announce that I have finally completed the long awaited (by my publisher) update to The Lighting Management Handbook, which came out in 1994, with this 300-page book…

I’m pleased to announce that I have finally completed the long awaited (by my publisher) update to The Lighting Management Handbook, which came out in 1994, with this 300-page book about redesigning existing lighting systems: Lighting Redesign for Existing Buildings.

Because light is used to see but cannot be seen, it is often overlooked by its users. The presence of light is rarely noted, in fact, unless there is a perceived lack of it (dim atmosphere or shadows) or a perceived excess (glare). Like air, however, light is invisible and yet everywhere in the visual environment, as we cannot see without it. And seeing, in turn, is fundamental to economic and leisure activity for the large majority of the population who are sighted. Like electricity and clean water, light is an engine of progress.

Ubiquitous in the built environment, light is generally considered a commodity, and the main economic consideration is how to obtain it more cheaply. For this reason, educated owners of new and existing buildings are finding it highly profitable to invest in energy-efficient equipment to reduce lighting energy costs by as much as 50 percent or more. These projects often take the form of simple lamp and ballast replacements.

These investments can be a great uses of capital. They can also be a waste of money, even if the project achieves an excellent financial return based on lower operating costs. The reason is simple: Light is for people, not buildings. Decisions about light may be all about dollars and cents, but dollars and cents are not all about energy.

In short, it is not enough for light to be energy-efficient. It must also be effective. What does it mean for a lighting system to be energy-effective?

First, we must understand that the application of light is lighting—not only the equipment that acts as the delivery system for light, but also where the equipment places light and with what direction, intensity and color. As people respond to varying levels of brightness and color in the field of view, light can be applied to the same space to impact a building and its occupants in different ways. While light makes sight, lighting is about perception—whether a space appears tense or uninteresting, public or private, spacious or intimate, productive or relaxing, and so on. Some 80 percent of sighted people’s impressions of the world, in fact, are generated by what they perceive with their eyes. This is where lighting delivers tangible economic benefits beyond simple vision. Properly applied, lighting can produce higher sales of key merchandise, optimize the productivity of office workers, offer a memorable experience for visitors, beautify space and architecture, improve learning rates, influence human interaction and mood and atmosphere, and promote safety and security.

It should be noted that bad lighting can realize opposite effects.

Given the benefits of good lighting design, and the high economic stakes involved, we may be thinking about light all wrong. Yes, light is a commodity. But lighting is a business asset—a critical asset of both the built environment and the organization that occupies it.

In existing buildings, this asset is often neglected. According to the Department of Energy, while lighting upgrades are a popular renovation investment, lighting upgrades have been performed in only 29 percent of commercial building floorspace built before 1980. This suggests that about 25 billion sq.ft. of floorspace is still lighted to pre-1980 standard using T12 lamps, magnetic ballasts and overlighted spaces.

Upgrading these lighting systems to today’s lighting efficiency standards could generate lighting energy cost savings of up to 50 percent or more. As the fluorescent magnetic ballast becomes virtually eliminated in 2010 and the fluorescent T12 lamp with it in 2012, building owners should begin exploring opportunities to convert their lighting systems to more-efficient technologies in a way that achieves maximum benefit. But focusing solely on how much energy a lighting system uses is like buying a forklift based solely on its fuel efficiency instead of how much it can lift, how it handles, its speed, safety features and so on. After all, the purpose of lighting is not to draw wattage, but instead, depending on its application, to enhance task performance, provide visual comfort, reveal form and architecture, attract interest and so on. In short, lighting should be effective as well as efficient.

Here, too, research suggests that the lighting asset is often neglected in buildings in terms of lighting quality, perpetuating lighting systems that may have been poorly designed or designed to outdated standards, and poorly maintained since then. According to a 1999 office lighting survey conducted by office systems manufacturer Steelcase, 37 percent of workers said the lighting in their workspace was either too dim (22 percent) or too bright (15 percent), while three out of four said they wanted more control over light levels. Further, three out of four office workers said better lighting would improve their efficiency and productivity, while two out of three said they would be more creative.

This means simple replacement of lamps, ballasts and controls is not enough. A component-based retrofit approach may save energy, but perpetuate a poor design that fails to achieve the business goals of the organization that invested in owning the asset and wants to realize its value. Instead, the lighting system may need not retrofit, but relighting—a redesign that addresses effectiveness as well as energy performance, including issues such as visual comfort, uniformity, color rendering and light on walls and ceilings. Because it is not enough for a lighting design to be efficient; it also has to shine.

Some of these issues run deep, and can be challenging to address properly at very low levels of energy consumption. As complexity increases due to advancing lighting technologies and an imperative to optimize lighting quality as well as energy efficiency, so has demand for greater expertise from designers of lighting systems.

Lighting Redesign for Existing Buildings was written to educate owners, energy managers, electrical engineers, architects, lighting designers, consultants, electrical contractors, electrical distributors and other interested professionals about the relighting of existing buildings. The information may apply to lighting design in new construction as well. Its thinking transcends my first book about lighting upgrades, The Lighting Management Handbook, published by The Fairmont Press more than 15 years ago, challenging owners and designers to optimize lighting quality hand in hand with efficiency in existing buildings—and get the full value of an asset that is effective as well as efficient.

Click here for more information about Lighting Redesign for Existing Buildings.

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Product Monday: CMH Wall Wash by Con-Tech Lighting

Con-Tech Lighting has expanded its line of “recessed stealth” products with a 3-in. adjustable (40º) ceramic metal halide wall wash unit. This small-aperture recessed luminaire utilizes the 22W or 39W…

Con-Tech CMH Wall WashCon-Tech Lighting has expanded its line of “recessed stealth” products with a 3-in. adjustable (40º) ceramic metal halide wall wash unit. This small-aperture recessed luminaire utilizes the 22W or 39W PGJ5 ceramic metal halide lamp.

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