Month: April 2017

Amazon Poised to Disrupt Electrical Distributor Industry

In an interesting blog post at Applicoinc.com, Nicholas Johnson states: Amazon Business head Prentis Wilson has openly identified Industrial Supply as a target for Amazon’s growing B2B marketplace. But one…

In an interesting blog post at Applicoinc.com, Nicholas Johnson states:

Amazon Business head Prentis Wilson has openly identified Industrial Supply as a target for Amazon’s growing B2B marketplace. But one industry segment in particular stands out as ripe for disruption: the $160 billion electrical distribution industry.

The reason:

While other industry segments like electronics distribution typically involve a lot of custom orders and closer cooperation between distributors and manufacturers, many of the goods sold in electrical distribution are essentially commoditized.

He points out there are 15,000 electrical distributors in the United States within a highly fragmented marketplace in which the large majority are smaller players.

Says Johnson:

A company like Amazon has the resources and logistical services to attract a large number of small sellers very quickly. Once Amazon has the breadth and depth of inventory that these small suppliers can offer, the marketplace can begin to compete with the major distributors on price and quality.

One option for the larger distributors is to create their own marketplace, as this market strategy is less capital-intensive and faster than consolidation. Johnson concludes:

Who will own this opportunity in electrical distribution is not yet certain. But with industry demographics pointing toward a strong marketplace opportunity, the current structure of the industry will likely not last for long.

Check out Johnson’s blog post here.

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Community Lighting for The Urban Environment (CLUE) Announces Competition Winners

The third annual CLUE competition received more than 330 projects from more than 60 countries. The seven-member jury selected three projects: * First Prize to Andras Dankhazi (Ireland) for his…

The third annual CLUE competition received more than 330 projects from more than 60 countries. The seven-member jury selected three projects:

* First Prize to Andras Dankhazi (Ireland) for his project Collective Polyphony
* Second Prize to Mina Saadatfard, Zahra Haghi and Hamid Peyro (Iran) for their project Shape-Shifting Lights
* Third Prize to Helena Trias and Samuel Laguarta (Spain) for their project WHEELIGHT

Click here to learn more about the CLUE 03 competition and these bold projects.

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Rebate Trends in 2017

BriteSwitch recently reported three major rebate trends in 2017, including: * Rebate coverage reaching all-time high in United States * LED lamp replacements for HID soaring * Average dollar amounts…

BriteSwitch recently reported three major rebate trends in 2017, including:

* Rebate coverage reaching all-time high in United States
* LED lamp replacements for HID soaring
* Average dollar amounts declining for TLED and screwbase LED replacement lamps as costs decline

Click here to learn more about these trends.

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Trends in Outdoor Lighting

Below is my contribution to the April issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Outdoor lighting has proven a key market for LED sources due to their durability, directionality, efficiency,…

Below is my contribution to the April issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

Outdoor lighting has proven a key market for LED sources due to their durability, directionality, efficiency, longevity, color and optical control. While metal halide and high-pressure sodium remain predominant in the installed outdoor lighting base, LED has captured a majority of luminaire sales. Some LED luminaires emit equivalent light output as a high-pressure sodium luminaire for one-third or less of the energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), LED achieved a 10 percent penetration of the installed base, which increased to 18 percent in 2015. DOE forecasted penetration to increase to 66 percent by 2020. As with other markets, in outdoor stationary, DOE expects an initial uptake in LED replacement lamps followed by their decline relative to LED luminaires. More than 9,200 LED outdoor lighting products are listed in the DOE Lighting Facts database, nearly half of which satisfy the efficacy and output requirements of the DesignLights Consortium’s Qualified Products List.

This article focuses on four major trends in area and roadway luminaires.

Major trends

As the LED outdoor lighting market matures, a number of trends are asserting themselves beyond the core trend of improving source light output and efficacy. These include an emphasis on visual comfort, shift in color temperature, and controllability.

Increasing efficacy. From the beginning, the lighting industry’s primary focus has been to improve source light output, which increases efficacy while reducing materials and cost. LED outdoor area products listed in Lighting Facts show a wide range in output, from less than 500 to more than 125,000 lumens, to satisfy a broad range of applications. They also show a wide range in efficacy, from 20 to 150 lumens/W, with a mean efficacy of 93-98 lumens/W. DOE forecasts that outdoor LED luminaires may reach a mean efficacy up to 105 lumens/W by 2020, while cost may decline to $25/kilolumen.

Visual comfort.
Manufacturers say their customers are becoming more concerned with visual comfort, expressed as a desire to eliminate LED pixelation—individual bright LEDs being visible to users. This is particularly a concern with luminaires mounted at lower heights.

“The biggest concern with pedestrian-scale LED luminaires is that they present distracting pixelated images and poor visibility,” says Scott Teschendorf, Market Development Manager, Eaton.

Nonetheless, glare is subjective, which means eliminating pixelation does not guarantee visual comfort. The product must still be evaluated for visual comfort, which is based on its optics.

Image courtesy of Eaton.

Color temperature. The industry’s focus on maximizing light output and efficacy emphasized higher (“cooler” or bluish-white) correlated color temperatures (CCTs) over warmer CCTs, due to higher CCT’s higher efficacy. In the early years of LED outdoor lighting, the predominant choice was around 5700K. Today the gap in light output related to CCT is diminishing. Looking at the Lighting Facts data for area and roadway luminaires, for every 1000K increase in CCT, efficacy increases 2.7 lumens/W, meaning a 3000K source is about 5.4 lumen/W less efficacious than a 5000K source.

The shrinking gap in output has led to demand for warmer CCTs. The Lighting Facts data shows about half of listed area luminaires have a CCT of 5000K or higher, 37 percent with 4000K, and 12 percent with 3000K or lower. In 2016, average CCT declined 150K, suggesting a shift to warmer sources.

“With respect to color temperature, 3000K and 4000K CCT demand was generally limited to more architectural applications,” says Andy Miles, Director of Product Marketing, Outdoor Lighting, Hubbell Lighting, Inc. “However, with the efficacy penalty of warmer-CCT LEDs becoming less impactful, many customers in our commercial markets previously selecting 5000K LEDs are now opting for 4000K.”

In 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued community guidance cautioning against poor outdoor lighting, which AMA said can produce detrimental health and environmental effects. Specifically, AMA cautioned against glare, which can affect safety, and very cool CCT LEDs, which can suppress melatonin production. To address these issues, AMA recommends 3000K sources, luminaire design that minimizes glare and light trespass, and dimming during off-peak operating periods. As a lighting technology, LED has advantages toward accomplishing these goals, though the guidance toward 3000K sources proved controversial in the industry.

“We believe our customers need to evaluate a wide range of factors including light distribution, energy efficiency, recommended light levels and more in selecting the appropriate product,” Teschendorf says. “For customers who choose to prioritize the AMA’s guidance, Eaton has products available to meet that. Because of this, it has actually had little impact on product development aside from creating the possibility of a shift to more 3000K LEDs in our supply chain.”

Controllability. Many states have adopted commercial building energy codes requiring both automatic shutoff (photocell or time switch) and light reduction (time switch or occupancy sensor) afterhours for dusk-to-dawn lighting such as area lighting. As a result, controls are increasingly being applied to outdoor lighting systems.

In 2014, the ANSI C136 Roadway Lighting Committee, in cooperation with NEMA, developed ANSI C136.41. This document describes a standardized seven-pin receptacle and photocontrol, which supersedes the traditional NEMA twist-lock photocontrol featuring three pins used to turn the luminaire ON or OFF. The new standard builds upon the core three pins by adding four low-voltage pins, two of which are used for dimming and two that can be used for occupancy sensing, power monitoring, two-way communication with other devices, etc.

“Incorporating the ANSI C136.41 receptacle into outdoor lighting gives just about everyone significantly more flexibility with regards to integrating controls, whether it is today or in the future,” Miles says. “Fully integrated control systems offer an aesthetic advance and can lower the initial acquisition cost but also lock the contractor or end-user into one standard. The ANSI C136.41 design positions the control equipment outside the luminaire, simplifying maintenance and allowing luminaire selection and maintenance to occur independent of the control selection.”

Microprocessing technology has miniaturized to an extent that lighting controllers can be embedded in controls connected to outdoor luminaires. This enables programming of luminaire behavior and more sophisticated control, such as dimming and color tuning by time of night. Meanwhile, wireless communication facilitates remote command, diagnostics and data collection, which can be useful for management, maintenance and analysis. Protocols include ZigBee, Synapse Network Appliance Protocol (SNAP), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular, LPWAN/LoRa, proprietary and others, with ZigBee being most popular.

Miles recommends that distributors ensure that an outdoor LED product’s sales claims be substantiated with industry-standard performance data and test reports (LM79, LM80, etc.). Pay attention not just to light output but pattern—where the light is going—as well-designed luminaires can produce less light but still achieve the same light levels. He adds that distributors should invest in developing in-house lighting specialization and education. “Be sure the generalists in your business can identify opportunities then bring them to your specialists,” he says. “The lighting specialists will get into the details, help specify the correct product for the application and ensure your customers’ needs are met.”

Final word

“LEDs have been lighting the outdoors for 10 years now and have been a proven light source in thousands of projects around the globe,” Teschendorf says. “Because LEDs have the ability to dim, be controlled and perform at high levels, they are a natural fit in order to adapt to the new codes that are here. We are really only scratching the surface of what controlled lighting can bring to the outdoor space. Controls will allow many more value propositions to be addressed than just the physical light itself.”

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Product Monday: Cove Light by Traxon

Traxon Technologies’ (OSRAM) Cove Light AC DIM GII solution is a compact indoor indirect luminaire available in low- and high-output versions and a various color temperatures. Smooth, flicker-free dimming. Universal…

Traxon Technologies’ (OSRAM) Cove Light AC DIM GII solution is a compact indoor indirect luminaire available in low- and high-output versions and a various color temperatures. Smooth, flicker-free dimming. Universal line-voltage input.

Click here to learn more.

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Article Covers Tunable-White Lighting

My contributions to the February issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR included an extended feature on tunable-white LED lighting, covering color basics, product types, color quality, control and applications. Check it out…

My contributions to the February issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR included an extended feature on tunable-white LED lighting, covering color basics, product types, color quality, control and applications.

Check it out here.

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Jim Brodrick on LED Troffers

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 Troffers are a staple of the lighting…

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

Troffers are a staple of the lighting industry, providing economical ambi¬ent lighting in offices, schools, and commercial spaces. They come in a variety of form factors — typically 2×4, 2×2, and 1×4 — and traditionally have utilized a variety of optical systems, such as lenses and louvers, to meet different needs or simply to provide a different appearance.

In April 2014, DOE’s CALiPER program published a Snapshot Report that included troffers, but a lot has changed since then. That’s why we’ve come out with a new Snapshot Report on LED troffers and troffer retrofit kits, and the findings are instructive.

CALiPER Snapshots are based on DOE’s LED Lighting Facts® database, which includes tens of thousands of current products and now allows users to graph product-category growth and efficacy over time. Because the linear fluorescent lamps with which troffers have traditionally been fitted are relatively efficacious, LED troffer products made a delayed entrance to the LED Lighting Facts database, not comprising a significant portion of it until 2013. Today, almost 20% of the products listed with LED Lighting Facts are troffer luminaires or retrofit kits, both of which tend to be more energy-efficient than their fluorescent counterparts while offering comparable color and power quality.

Whereas the mean efficacy of LED troffer products in early 2014 was 90 lm/W, today it’s 102 lm/W. More than 10% of the troffer products currently listed with LED Lighting Facts have a luminous efficacy greater than 125 lm/W — substantially higher than the efficacy of fluorescent-based troffers, which tops out at under 100 lm/W.

Troffer retrofit kits may or may not reuse the existing luminaire’s optical system (e.g., lenses), which will affect the performance of the complete system. A product using the existing lumi¬naire’s optical system will have a lower efficacy than when it’s tested by itself. This introduces a confounding factor when making comparisons using aggregate data in the LED Lighting Facts database.

While size is reported for most troffers listed by LED Lighting Facts, information on optical systems and distribution of light is more limited. As a result, distribution of light is not discussed in the new Snapshot, although it can be a key factor that influences the final efficacy of products. Luminaires with more-sculpted distribution typically use more-exten¬sive optical systems. This may lower the luminaire efficacy, but in some cases fewer luminaires could light the same space to the same illumi¬nance level, providing greater application efficacy. As always, the best product is the one that’s the right fit for the application.

The light output of listed LED troffer products is more than sufficient to match that of conventional troffers. For some LED products that manufacturers classify as troffers, the output is much higher than the typical range, some¬times exceeding 10,000 lumens. When making a one-for-one exchange, it’s always best to determine the amount of light needed, then find the right product to provide the correct illuminance.

As for color quality and power quality, LED troffers almost all offer the same performance as their fluorescent counterparts. The availability of a range of CCTs is a positive, but the limited variety of CRI values — almost all of which are in the 80s — doesn’t reflect the ability of LEDs to provide higher levels of color-rendering performance when needed.

In terms of the data captured by LED Lighting Facts and reported in the new Snapshot, LED troffers offer a compelling alternative to fluorescent troffers. This applies to both troffer luminaires and troffer retrofit kits, whose performance was nearly indistinguishable. While the new report focuses on basic photometric characteristics, choosing a product for a specific installation requires a more comprehensive analysis.The new LED Lighting Facts Specification Tool can be used by lighting professionals to review and assess products in the database.

For a closer look at the findings, download the full report.

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Lighting Facts Offers Specification Tool

The Department of Energy’s new LED Lighting Facts Specification Tool enables specifiers to search and filter products in the Lighting Facts database. Specifiers can set up project folders, conducted filtered…

The Department of Energy’s new LED Lighting Facts Specification Tool enables specifiers to search and filter products in the Lighting Facts database. Specifiers can set up project folders, conducted filtered searches for products, and tag those products and spec sheets to projects, eventually building a preliminary luminaire schedule. They can then communicate directly with manufacturers about the products.

Click here to learn more.

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NALMCO’s CLCP Certification

Below is a short news article I wrote for tED Magazine on the topic of NALMCO’s new controls certification. Reprinted with permission. The interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO)…

Below is a short news article I wrote for tED Magazine on the topic of NALMCO’s new controls certification. Reprinted with permission.

The interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) has launched the Certified Lighting Controls Professional (CLCP) designation. With no prerequisites, the CLCP is open to all professionals in the building, information technology and electrical industries.

LEDs are highly friendly with lighting controls. A majority of LED lighting is equipped with dimmable drivers. As a digital device, the LED source is inherently compatible with digital lighting controls. Advances in wireless communication, simpler and cost-effective products, and new interest among utilities are resulting in growing demand for networked and other lighting controls.

Networked lighting controls have several barriers to adoption such as an array of system approaches, IT involvement and lack of standardization, but one particularly worrying barrier is a potential skills shortage. Advanced lighting control systems may be becoming simpler, but they are still sophisticated, creating a potential education gap among specifiers and installers. This education gap applies to an extent for all controls, not just networked controls.

Of particular interest are skills related to consultation on product selection, protocols and integration; knowledgeable installation; startup/commissioning; and operations and maintenance.

The industry has responded with several initiatives. In California, the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (CALCTP) has trained more than 2,500 electrical workers on lighting controls. The program has expanded to include other states and Canada under a national version of the program (NALCTP). Meanwhile, the DesignLights Consortium is developing a training program to support utilities implementing rebates based on its new Qualified Products List for Networked Lighting Controls. The National Association of Independent Lighting Distributors (NAILD) is developing an online education program. And the Lighting Controls Association provides Education Express, a free 24/7 online education program covering lighting control technology, application, design, energy codes and commissioning. Five courses are prerequisites for CALCTP/NALCTP training. (Full disclosure: This article’s author is the author of the NAILD and most of the Education Express courses.)

NALMCO saw an opportunity to develop a national certification signifying a high degree of generalized knowledge about lighting controls. The CLCP is based on the Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express curriculum. Students demonstrate completion by passing an online test at the end of each required course. The student then takes a separate 100-question online test, which is automatically graded. Passage earns certification for three years. The CLCP recipient must maintain certification by completing eight hours of continuing education each year.

CLCP demonstrates a high degree of generalized knowledge about lighting controls. It is available to any electrical industry professional at NALMCO.org.

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Product Monday: High-CRI LED Lamp by Green Creative

Green Creative’s MR16 8.5W HIGH CRI, recently selected as a winner in LEDs Magazine’s annual Sapphire Awards, offers 500 lumens with a center beam candlepower of 2,950 candelas and 92…

Green Creative’s MR16 8.5W HIGH CRI, recently selected as a winner in LEDs Magazine’s annual Sapphire Awards, offers 500 lumens with a center beam candlepower of 2,950 candelas and 92 CRI (R9 of 65 and R13 of 93).

This ENERGY STAR-certified lamp offers an efficient alternative to 75W halogens. Spot, narrow flood and flood beam angles. Three color temperatures. Dimmable.

Click here to learn more.

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