Month: May 2013

PowerSecure International Acquires Solais Lighting

LED product manufacturer Solais Lighting, Inc. recently announced its acquisition by PowerSecure International, Inc., a provider of utility and energy technologies to electric utilities and their industrial, institutional and commercial…

LED product manufacturer Solais Lighting, Inc. recently announced its acquisition by PowerSecure International, Inc., a provider of utility and energy technologies to electric utilities and their industrial, institutional and commercial customers. The acquisition strengthens and complements PowerSecure’s existing LED business with Solais’ demonstrated strengths in innovation, product design, manufacturing, marketing and sales.

As part of the acquisition, Solais Lighting will continue to market under its existing brand name and sales channels to serve its retail, commercial, museum and hospitality end-users with the lighting industry’s highest-performing LED fixtures and lamps.

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North American EBCIs Point to Continued Improvement in Business Conditions in April

NEMA’s April Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions showed continuing improvement in April, with the index increasing to 66.7 from the 65.9 reported in March….

NEMA’s April Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions showed continuing improvement in April, with the index increasing to 66.7 from the 65.9 reported in March.

Confidence in future business conditions declined in April, but remains firmly in territory suggested of positive growth. The EBCI for North American conditions six months forward retreated by a little over 10 points in April to 80.6 from 90.9 in March.

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Toshiba Acquires GreenStar

Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation (Toshiba) recently announced that it is acquiring GreenStar Products, Inc., manufacturer of LED luminaires for roadway, area and canopy lighting applications. In February 2012, Toshiba…

Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation (Toshiba) recently announced that it is acquiring GreenStar Products, Inc., manufacturer of LED luminaires for roadway, area and canopy lighting applications.

In February 2012, Toshiba International Corporation entered into an agreement with San Antonio, Texas-based GreenStar to produce the LED luminaires and has since been marketing, selling and distributing the GreenStar products within the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation is coordinating with Toshiba International Corporation to manage the relationship with GreenStar and will continue selling its products in North America.

“We were attracted to GreenStar for its innovative product design and keen focus on developing luminaires that make the most of LED technology to address the market’s desire for more energy efficient and low maintenance products,” said Ken Honeycutt, President, Toshiba LED Lighting Systems Division. “Together, we will produce highly advanced, eco-friendly, and cost-saving LED lighting systems all backed by Toshiba’s trusted reliability.”

GreenStar’s product designs include advanced photometric controls that deliver superior light distribution and greater uniformity than conventional HID lighting, according to Toshiba. Additionally, GreenStar’s roadway product includes a built-in photocell that has a rated life that exceeds the life of a conventional NEMA twist/lock photocell.

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Jim Brockrick: Observations from LIGHTFAIR

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy As you know, the 2013 edition of LIGHTFAIR International took…

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program

by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy

As you know, the 2013 edition of LIGHTFAIR International took place last week in Philadelphia, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SSL team was there in full force – staffing our booth, giving educational workshops and training sessions, and walking the floor when we got the chance. So we thought we’d share some of our LIGHTFAIR observations with you.

With LEDs once again dominating the show, one thing that stood out was the increased range of applications they were intended for. Whereas a few years ago SSL was confined to just a handful of applications, you would have been hard-pressed to find an application last week that wasn’t represented by LED lighting products. It seems that applications once thought to be “further out” are already here now. This was even true in a literal sense – as witness the high-mast outdoor luminaires we saw, which were designed to replace conventional high-output products. With market adoption accelerating (and why not?), it seemed as though manufacturers are focused more on expanding their SSL product lines to be more comprehensive and not as limited.

Another thing we noticed at this year’s LIGHTFAIR was that there was definitely more light for less money, with improvements in output (e.g., accent track lighting that emitted 5000+ lumens) and efficacy anchoring a strong emphasis on first cost. And we saw quite a bit of evidence of fine-tuning and refinement, with characteristics such as glare and pixilation being addressed. Products that were cutting-edge two years ago are becoming increasingly practical – getting lighter in weight and more sophisticated in design, with less materials and smaller heat sinks. Whereas just a few years ago there were LED lighting products on the market that seemed to be all heat sink, today you actually have to look to find the heat sink in some of them.

That’s an indication of just how impressive some of these SSL refinements are, and how they build on each other and lead to some real synergy. For example, as the LEDs themselves become more efficient, you need fewer and fewer of them, which in turn means you can explore new materials and designs for the heat sink. Overall, it’s clear that material choices are becoming more sophisticated, and designs are becoming better.

This fine-tuning of product design appears to be in response to user feedback – which means that manufacturers are listening and responding. It’s gratifying to see that many of the issues identified in various DOE reports are being addressed by the newer products. We even saw a “quick-connect” LED product that attaches by means of magnets – a clever assist to the installation.

Another trend we saw in Philadelphia was the increased attention manufacturers are paying to controls – which, when done right, can significantly increase the energy savings by reducing wasted light. Some of the issues encountered when using controls with conventional lighting technologies may be avoided with SSL, which is especially suited for use with controls. We saw some very innovative control solutions last week, including wireless controls and adaptive controls – as well as a number of products that offered much-improved dimming, including dim- to-warm color shift. We also saw adaptive control and monitoring packages on some of the LED streetlights on display – which is why DOE’s Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium recently came out with a Model Specification for Adaptive Control and Remote Monitoring of LED Roadway Luminaires, created with the help of a number of manufacturers.

In addition, we noted increased attention to color tunability – not just the ability to customize lighting to suit one’s mood, but the ability to fine-tune things to get the exact shade of white light you want, from warm to cool, and from red rich to blue rich. There were also some innovative edge-lit products on display, as well as an emphasis on aesthetics and sophisticated design, plus some completely novel form factors – especially in pendants and troffer replacements, with some “indirect” troffer fixtures that do a better job of breaking the mold and getting away from the fluorescent paradigm. New form factors were also enabled by OLED products – including curved light fixtures, a sleek chandelier, domestically manufactured panels, and a hybrid LED/OLED wall sconce.

Of course, all of this isn’t to say that SSL has finally “arrived” free and clear. There are still a fair number of issues to be addressed – for example, we saw products in Philadelphia that had visible flicker (for more information on flicker, see the new DOE fact sheet on that topic). So there’s still a lot of work to be done – not only to iron out all of the bugs, but to get the innovative luminaires we’ve all been anticipating. Still, it was encouraging to see the latest in SSL products at LIGHTFAIR 2013, and to know that the best is yet to come.

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Product Monday: Octron 800 XP XL Ecologic Fluorescent Lamp by Sylvania

OSRAM SYLVANIA’s OCTRON 800 XP XL (eXtended Life) ECOLOGIC3 Fluorescent Lamp features long lamp life with a rated life of 84,000 hours at 12 hours/start on a programmed-start ballast. Available…

OSRAM SYLVANIA’s OCTRON 800 XP XL (eXtended Life) ECOLOGIC3 Fluorescent Lamp features long lamp life with a rated life of 84,000 hours at 12 hours/start on a programmed-start ballast. Available in 32W and reduced wattage 28W and 25W SUPERSAVER models, designed with lead-free glass, OCTRON 800 XP XL lamps are ideal for applications where the owner desires the maintenance benefits of long lamp life.

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More Positive Momentum for Architecture Billings in March

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lag…

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. 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 51.9, down from a mark of 54.9 in February. 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 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.

“Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.”

Key March ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Northeast (54.6), Midwest (53.9), South (53.6), West (51.9)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (56.9), commercial / industrial (53.5), mixed practice (53.3), institutional (50.6)

• Project inquiries index: 60.1

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

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LIGHTFAIR Keynote by Vinod Khosla

In his keynote at the 2013 LIGHTFAIR event, Vinod Khosla, principal of Khosla Ventures, presented, “Opportunities for Lighting in the Cleantech Revolution,” offering a cleantech investor’s perspective on how innovative…

In his keynote at the 2013 LIGHTFAIR event, Vinod Khosla, principal of Khosla Ventures, presented, “Opportunities for Lighting in the Cleantech Revolution,” offering a cleantech investor’s perspective on how innovative approaches to lighting will transform this industry into potentially one of the most high-tech, creative and impactful sectors of the economy. What the lighting industry can achieve is a function of what it thinks it can achieve—not any other physical limitation.

Watch it here:

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Luma and Luxim Merge

Luma Investments Limited, a Singapore holding company, and Luxim Corporation of Sunnyvale, California, a manufacturer of light-emitting plasma (LEP) products, recently announced a definitive merger agreement, creating a single energy-efficient…

Luma Investments Limited, a Singapore holding company, and Luxim Corporation of Sunnyvale, California, a manufacturer of light-emitting plasma (LEP) products, recently announced a definitive merger agreement, creating a single energy-efficient lighting company.

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Video Peek at LIGHTFAIR 2013

LIGHTFAIR produced this short video with highlights of the first day of the show, which is worth a watch if you’ve never attended or exhibited. It really was a good…

LIGHTFAIR produced this short video with highlights of the first day of the show, which is worth a watch if you’ve never attended or exhibited. It really was a good one, and like one of the attendees remarked, it’s really changed over the years, just like everything’s changing in lighting.

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Product Monday: SORAA SNAP System

Soraa’s SORAA SNAP System is a magnetic-attach LED lamp and accessory system for lighting, coupling a high-output SORAA PREMIUM 2 or VIVID 2 LED MR16 10° lamp with a prismatic…

Soraa’s SORAA SNAP System is a magnetic-attach LED lamp and accessory system for lighting, coupling a high-output SORAA PREMIUM 2 or VIVID 2 LED MR16 10° lamp with a prismatic lens and an innovative array of magnetic filter and lens attachments, which allows users to customize the light directly on lamps, rather than on fixtures. I had the pleasure of seeing the product at LIGHTFAIR and thought it was one of the most innovative products at the show.

Eric Kim, Soraa’s CEO, calls SORAA SNAP the “Swiss Army Knife” of lighting. The self-centering magnetic lamp and accessory interconnect system gives users everything they need in one product, including multiple distributions and color temperatures.

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