Month: September 2015

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…

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.

LSI

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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….

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.

Gamut

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.

color-1

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.

color-2

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

color-3

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.

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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…

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

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Publishes Article on Power Over Ethernet

Good 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…

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.

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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…

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.

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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…

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.)

abi

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Brodrick on New Method for Evaluating Color Rendition

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has just…

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

by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has just published an important technical memorandum, TM-30-15, which outlines a new system for evaluating the color rendition of light sources. It was developed by an IES task group that was formed in 2013 and included representatives from academia, government, manufacturing, and the specification community, and that was chaired by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Michael Royer, a member of DOE’s solid-state lighting team.

While the International Commission on Illumination’s (CIE) Color Rendering Index (CRI) enjoys widespread use, its limitations are well recognized. Despite many past efforts to develop complementary or alternative ways to evaluate color rendition, none has been widely adopted. Yet with the proliferation of SSL — which offers tremendous scope for spectral engineering and optimization — the need for such a method is greater than ever before and is compounded by the continued drive for greater energy efficiency.

Built on the progress made by many other researchers over the past two decades, and synthesizing many of their concepts, the new system employs two separate high-level measures. Both measures employ a set of color evaluation samples that, for the first time, represent real objects uniformly spanning color space and giving equal importance to all visible wavelengths; in combination with modern color calculation procedures, the samples yield more representative and more accurate results. The first measure, Rf, assesses color fidelity and is analogous to CRI’s general color rendering index, Ra, but with substantial improvements; the second, Rg, is an improved color gamut measure for assessing the variation in the chroma of illuminated objects. Both measures are based on the new sample set and updated calculation methods and thus can be used together to provide more useful predictions of the color appearance of objects in various lighting situations, and to guide the optimization of future light sources. Calculator tools are included, to ease implementation.

brodrick

One of the limitations of Ra (often referred to as just CRI) is that it’s only a metric for color fidelity and doesn’t convey the direction of color shifts, changes in chroma, or information about specific hue regions. It also doesn’t measure human preference or color discrimination potential. In addition, Ra’s test color samples are low-chroma pastels that are not fully representative of the colors in our environment — being especially unhelpful for predicting the fidelity of saturated reds, which is why CRI often has to be supplemented with the special index R9. What’s more, the CRI’s test color samples are more sensitive to some wavelengths than to others, because they’re made by combining only a few pigments, whose spectral features are not uniformly distributed across visible wavelengths. As a result, the CRI can be easily “gamed” by selectively optimizing a spectral power distribution in ways that boost CRI without improving average color fidelity.

TM-30-15 addresses many of these limitations, providing more information with greater accuracy. With two main numerical parameters and other visualization tools — such as a color distortion icon — for better understanding the rendition of specific hues, it provides a more complete characterization of color rendition than a fidelity metric alone can. And with a greater number of samples (99) than the CRI, TM-30-15’s values are harder to selectively optimize and should provide a better representation of average color rendering.

The new system, which has also been proposed to the CIE, will bring significant progress in quantifying color rendition. The improved accuracy underlying the computations will not only help purchasers and specifiers select products that are more appropriate for their needs, but will also help in designing future light sources that more properly optimize the complex tradeoffs and interactions between efficacy, chromaticity, and color rendition. This, in turn, should lead to greater value per watt of radiation, greater acceptance of energy-saving measures, and, ultimately, improved human wellbeing. But it will require significant effort to achieve widespread adoption.

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Product Monday: O by Prudential

Prudential recently designed a new cofiguration of the P4000, one of the company’s bestselling luminaires: a new doughnut shape called O, available in 14 premium colors with no set-up fee….

Prudential recently designed a new cofiguration of the P4000, one of the company’s bestselling luminaires: a new doughnut shape called O, available in 14 premium colors with no set-up fee.

The ring of light can be surface-mounted or suspended by straight aircraft cables with top-swivel stems.

Click here to learn more.

O Suspended C1

O Orange

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Current Business Conditions Index Retreats in August Following July Surge

After improving by more than 20 points in July, NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) for current conditions in North America declined by 15 points in August to settle at…

After improving by more than 20 points in July, NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) for current conditions in North America declined by 15 points in August to settle at 52.5.

Meanwhile, the EBCI for future North American conditions held steady at 55, following a modest improvement in July. Thirty-five percent of panelists expect business conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 30% last month. Still, 25% expect them to deteriorate, up from 20% in July. Forty percent expect little change in the business environment between now and early 2016.

ebci

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LRC Proposes New Value Metrics in Lighting

A brief article I wrote for tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission. In Value Metrics for Better Lighting (SPIE Press), Mark S. Rea, PhD, professor and director for the Lighting Research…

A brief article I wrote for tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

Sep-2015-value_metrics-dilouie-1In Value Metrics for Better Lighting (SPIE Press), Mark S. Rea, PhD, professor and director for the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, proposes a new solution to an old problem in the lighting industry.

The industry, he says, has traditionally focused on illuminance (lumens/sq.ft., or footcandles) as the primary metric. Quantity of light once predominated in design, but in recent decades, the notion of quality of lighting—where light is placed and at what intensities, with benefits exceeding simple visual acuity—evolved into best practice.

The problem is quality is hard to define. The long-pursued single metric for it has eluded the industry, primarily because it’s so application specific. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to lighting quality; what’s best for one space may not be best for another.

As a result, Rea asserts, illuminance continues to dominate the value proposition. While some projects go beyond that, all projects include it, making it the lowest common denominator in dialog with clients. Since all lamps and luminaires deliver lumens, the lighting industry’s main product is regarded as a commodity, making competition a fight to deliver light at the lowest initial cost across a majority of the market.

“Lighting should be a value-added profession,” Rea says. “We have to change today’s self-defeating approach to lighting that considers cost—e.g., luminous efficacy and system life—before we even know the client’s needs. We have to address the benefits first, and then the costs.”

He offers two solutions. First, engage the client in a dialog about their needs. Electrical distributors understand this well as part of customer engagement. Second, develop solutions around lighting quality needs based on quantifiable metrics. The result is a sale in which evidence-based lighting quality, not initial cost, dominates the dialog with the client. That is a conversation more likely to create perception of customer value, more actual value, greater competitiveness for the practitioner, and more profitable sales.

“I believe society would pay more for lighting that is based upon metrics shown to improve health, safety and productivity,” Rea says. “That being the case, the benefit to specifiers would be that they would get richer because they can exercise skills the client cares about. Specifically, specifiers need to gain greater skills in engineering the spectrum, amount, distribution, duration and timing of light to meet health, safety and productivity design objectives.”

Rea proposes that the dialog with the customer focus on these potential lighting benefits of productivity, health and safety/security. Once the client prioritizes these needs, solutions can be designed based on solid metrics backed by research.

Because the eye is sensitive to varying levels of illumination and spectrum (wavelengths), Rea proposes several benefit metrics, one in which the lumen is redefined based on what type of vision is predominant in the application, and another in which scene brightness can be determined. For example, sources such as metal halide and LED produce a spectral emission that can make a scene appear brighter than under high-pressure sodium. As brightness has been determined to be linked to perception of safety, metal halide or white LED can achieve the same desired brightness level as high-pressure sodium for fewer lumens, resulting in greater energy efficiency without compromising the design goal.

He also calls on specifiers to focus more on application efficacy than the efficacy (lumens/W) of sources and luminaires. Maximizing application efficacy involves putting light only where (via good optical control) and when (via controls) it is needed. Proper application results in satisfying the same lighting goal but with fewer lumens and less electrical energy.

Lighting for health is an emerging trend, and the Lighting Research Center has conducted a substantial amount of work in this area. Rea proposes metrics addressing intensity, color and duration of exposure to light as a way to deliver effective circadian lighting. He also calls for adoption of new color metrics such as the gamut area index as an adjunct to the traditional CRI metric. This facilitates more precise evaluation of the color rendering properties of light sources, particularly LED, for which the traditional CRI metric by itself often falls short.

“Value metrics become a win for society, a win for clients and a win for skilled lighting specifiers,” Rea concludes. “They will put money in your pocket if you are willing to invest the time to learn. Deliver real value, and it will be rewarded.”

Learn more by reading Rea’s book, Value Metrics for Better Lighting (SPIE Press), and by visiting the Lighting Research Center at lrc.rpi.edu.

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