Category: Interviews + Opinion

Masters of Light: Peter Veale on the 7 Basic Principles of Great Restaurant Lighting

In “The 7 Basic Principles of Great Restaurant Lighting,” part of the UK’s LIGHTING Magazine Masters of Light webcast series, Peter Veale, Firefly Lighting Design examines key lighting trends and techniques in various interiors that how they can be used to make restaurant diners, food, and interiors look their best.

Episodes of the UK’s LIGHTING Magazine’s “Masters of Light” webcast series are now available for on-demand viewing. In this series, lighting designers, artists and architects talk about their work, methods and philosophy in one-hour retrospectives hosted by the magazine’s editors.

In “The 7 Basic Principles of Great Restaurant Lighting,” Peter Veale, Firefly Lighting Design examines key lighting trends and techniques in various interiors that how they can be used to make restaurant diners, food and interiors look their best.

Click here to check it out.

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Eaton’s Bill Johnson on Residential Lighting Trends

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Johnson, market development manager – Residential Recessed Lighting, Eaton. The topic: residential lighting trends.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Johnson, market development manager – Residential Recessed Lighting, Eaton. The topic: residential lighting trends. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the September 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: What are the major recent trends in single-family residential construction and design, and how are they impacting lighting needs?

Johnson: Many states nationwide have adopted the 2012 and 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and California has updated the Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Code, which are influencing residential lighting.

1) 2015 IECC mandates high-efficacy “lamps” in 75 percent of permanently wired lighting fixtures [50 percent in the 2012 IECC]. Refer to theses IECC mandates for specific language. Therefore under these codes, permanently wired recessed and surface lighting must use a compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lamp; or an integrated CFL or LED luminaire. In today’s market the LED trend can be found in new home construction and products are readily availability in distribution.

2) 2015 IECC and California Title 24 are both prompting an increased trend in air-leakage testing of the home. The blower testing performed for air leakage of doors and windows also applies to ceiling openings with recessed lighting. That’s because the codes require recessed luminaires to be insulated ceiling (IC)-rated and sealed to limit air leakage between conditioned and unconditioned spaces (when tested in accordance with ASTM E283).

3) California Title 24 eliminated the low-efficacy allowance from previous years, requiring all permanently installed luminaires to be high-efficacy, and screw-base sockets are no longer allowed in recessed luminaires. Additionally, Title 24 and JA8 have set a standard for LED luminaire qualification for color and performance, which in addition to high-efficacy, have propelled the trend in LED lighting as a desirable whole-house solution.

DiLouie: What are the top three major trends in residential lighting design and how are they impacting demand for and development of lighting products?

Johnson: At the outset of LED luminaire development, dimming was integral to the fixture’s functionality. Today dimming and lighting control is evolving into a seamless integration of LED luminaires with holistic control technology.

Wireless control of LED luminaires is now capable from wall devices and app-based platforms that integrate lighting in the connected home world of the Internet of Things.

Color-changing and color tuning technology is making LED even more suited and ultimately more embedded into the lexicon of residential lighting design.

Dim-to-warm is established as an option in LED lamps and integrated LED luminaires where the color temperature shifts from say 3000K to 1850K over the dimming range.

Color tuning is getting attention now that LED luminaires can have embedded wireless technology that allows the freedom of complete control of the light function in color and intensity, and the adjacency of scheduling and security capability from a software app as opposed to a traditional wall controller.

DiLouie: What are the top three major trends in residential lighting product design, and what benefits do they bring to homeowners?

Johnson: The development of surface mounting thin profile flat panel LED luminaires that create wide beam downlight-like illumination and install in a ceiling junction box has created great interest for residential lighting. Surface LEDs are great products, and should be used in conjunction with recessed, under cabinet and decorative luminaires to complete an effective whole-house lighting design.

Small apertures in 2-inch, 3-inch, and 4-inch are growing as a preferred choice due to LED technology advancements. The new generation of LED luminaires can offer higher lumen delivery in smaller apertures, which can match and exceed traditional incandescent/halogen sources. Smaller LED housings are IC rated, which was not possible with incandescent/halogen sources due to elevated thermal test temperatures.

Improvement in smaller, higher output LED arrays along with advances in optical technology such as TIR optics (total internal reflection is a lens and a reflector) now offer varied beam patterns and adjustable functions (tilt/rotation) in directional LED luminaires.

DiLouie: What benefits does LED lighting deliver to homes, and what benefits and impact is it having on living with light?

Johnson: The promise of energy savings with LED lighting over traditional sources is now an expected outcome so the focus of residential lighting can shift back to design in choosing the right light for the occupants, the task, and the visual environment.

Recessed downlighting and under cabinet lighting are key ingredients to residential lighting design in providing a foundation of ambient, accent, and task lighting. Traditionally different embodiments of luminaires with incandescent/halogen lamps provided the right combination of intensity, color and beam control for these types of lighting.

Today’s LED luminaires are meeting these design needs in delivering effective illumination in lumen output, beam distribution and quality, especially the ability to select color temperature or color tuning through controls. So LED luminaires are no longer an energy conservation alternative, but a viable design solution that is accepted in the residential space.

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LEDVANCE’s LaSpina on Upgrading Troffers to LED

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alfred LaSpina, LED product group marketing manager, LEDVANCE. The topic: options for upgrading fluorescent troffers to LED.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alfred LaSpina, LED product group marketing manager, LEDVANCE. The topic: options for upgrading fluorescent troffers to LED. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the May 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: What basic choices do building owners have to upgrade existing troffer-based fluorescent lighting systems to LED?

LaSpina: Building owners who want to upgrade existing troffer-based fluorescent lighting systems to LED have two options – using direct lamp replacements with the existing ballast or using retrofit kits which include their own driver and require ballast bypass.

DiLouie: How would you categorize LED troffer/panel products aimed at replacing fluorescent troffers?

LaSpina: LED troffer/panel products aimed at replacing fluorescent troffers can be easy to install, with some troffer retrofit kits done in under 4 minutes. They offer a variety of décor choices, meaning you can maintain the same look or create a new one, both while having the same light quality. These LED solutions can also easily give you dimming functionality and eliminate ballast incompatibility issues.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings and other advantages of replacing fluorescent troffers with LED troffers/panels?

LaSpina: LED Panels and Troffer Retrofit Kits are energy-saving, environmentally-preferable LED alternatives for retrofitting traditional fluorescent lens troffers with an average energy savings of around 45 – 50 percent and cost savings between $300 – $400 over the lifetime of the product, depending on the existing system. These can also offer building owners the opportunity to change the look of the space if desired.

DiLouie: What are the disadvantages of replacing the troffer with an LED luminaire compared to TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

LaSpina: One of the main disadvantages of replacing a fluorescent troffer with an LED luminaire compared to an LED lamp or retrofit kit is cost, not just the higher initial cost of the luminaire but also labor costs. If you are replacing just the lamps, it can be done quickly and easily by following the instructions. Replacing the whole luminaire requires an electrician as you would need to bypass the existing ballast and wire in the new luminaire.

DiLouie: What are conditions under which replacing the luminaire would be ideal as opposed to replacing the lamps?

LaSpina: Replacing a luminaire would be ideal as opposed to replacing the lamp when you have an aging fixture that has reduced lumen efficacy because the fixture is absorbing more of the light. Replacing the luminaire is also an easy way to jump start the décor of the space and deliver a modern aesthetic. Another reason would be if you have ballasts that are reaching end of life possibly making it more cost effective to replace the entire luminaire.

Depending on the space and light needed there are multiple options including Edge-Lit Panel luminaires with a slim design for tight ceiling spaces or more traditional looking luminaires.

DiLouie: How would you categorize TLED lamps and retrofit kits aimed at replacing fluorescent lamps in fluorescent troffers?

LaSpina: TLED lamp and retrofit kits are energy-saving replacements for fluorescent T12 or T8 lamps with innovative optical and mechanical designs that achieve a light distribution pattern that minimizes lumen loss when installed in fluorescent luminaires.

TLED lamps and retrofit kits are have three UL categories – Type A which are the replacement lamps which offer energy savings and minimal labor costs; Type B are the internal driver lamps that offer low long term maintenance and energy savings; and Type C which are the External Driver lamps (or Retrofit Kits) where you would replace both the lamp and ballast at the same time and typically have a higher LPW and longer life as well as low maintenance. Building owners would need to review their energy, design and budget objectives for the space to decide which option would work best for them.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings and other advantages of replacing fluorescent lamps with TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

LaSpina: TLED lamps have a long rated life of up to 60,000 hours (L70), reduce energy usage by up to 40 percent, contain no mercury or UV emissions, and provide instant light. Direct replacements for traditional fluorescent T8 lamps with no ballast replacement, like the SYLVANIA SubstiTUBE IPS LED T8 lamps, are plug and play, offer the quickest installation, and don’t require electrical or structural modification of the existing fixture.

LED Troffer Retrofit Kits are energy-saving, environmentally-preferable LED alternatives for retrofitting traditional fluorescent lens troffers with an average energy savings of 49 percent and $329 of the lifetime of the product. The kits also last up to 2 times longer than traditional fluorescent sources. The advantages of replacing fluorescent lamps with an LED troffer retrofit kit are that it utilizes the existing troffer which saves money, bypasses the existing ballast to eliminate ballast compatibility issues, and avoids the need to work above the ceiling. These factors make it an economic and fast replacement option. The best applications for this are existing and new construction settings when you don’t want to change the aesthetics.

DiLouie: What are the disadvantages of replacing the lamps in a fluorescent troffer with TLED lamps instead of replacing the luminaire?

LaSpina: One potential disadvantage of replacing fluorescent lamps with LED lamps instead of replacing the luminaire is the ballast compatibility. Working with a lighting manufacturer that provides an extensive ballast compatibility list for their TLEDs will ensure you have lamps that work with the existing ballasts.

DiLouie: What are conditions under which replacing the lamps with TLED lamps instead of replacing the luminaire would be ideal?

LaSpina: If you are trying to maintain your current look in a space, are looking for a fast and easy installation, have budget restrictions, or are spot relamping in a massive building, TLED lamps are a great option. Our goal is to always find ways to better serve our distributor and contractor customers when they want to replace traditional tube lighting with LED.

DiLouie: What control options exist for TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

LaSpina: TLED lamps can offer 0-10V dimming when using a dimmable ballast, and LED retrofit kits have wireless, 0-10V and phase cut dimming.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about retrofitting fluorescent troffers to LED, what would it be?

LaSpina: Know the goals of your customer. Are their main priorities energy savings, a new look for the space, or ROI options and total cost of ownership at end of life? This will help you pick the right solution for the application. If you tie it to utility rebates, it is even better for customer.

LED lamps are now being produced with optimized glass optics that mimic the light distribution and looks of traditional lamps. This offers customers the look they’ve come to know with the energy-saving features of LEDs.

LEDVANCE has expanded its award-winning SYLVANIA SubstiTUBE LED product line making it even easier for companies to save money by either replacing traditional tubes to reduce their energy costs or in new construction that want the latest lighting products, in addition to lower labor and recycling costs. SubstiTUBE LED solutions have a long rated life up to 60,000 hours (L70), reduce energy usage by up to 40 percent, contain no mercury or UV emissions, and provide instant light. New additions include a dimmable glass LED T8, a LED T5HO which offers the highest efficacy on the market of its kind, an LED Ubend replacement for traditional fluorescent T8 lamps, and DULUX L LED TT5 lamps. These are ideal for a wide range of applications including general illumination, cove lighting, display cases, parking garages, warehouses and tunnels.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

LaSpina: Make sure you are working with a supplier with a proven history of quality and lighting expertise. As more and more startups are pouring LED lamps and retrofit kits into the market, it is easy to be overwhelmed or be tempted to have price be the deciding factor. Take into consideration warranty, quality of service, and commitment to your business.

Inventory control continues to be something to be mindful of in regards to LED products. While you are working with your end users, tie in your sales rep early to work together to make sure your supplier has the right products and qualities at the right time.

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Cree’s Paul Scheidt on Light and Color

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Scheidt, Product Marketing Manager, LED Components, Cree. The topic: light and color.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Scheidt, Product Marketing Manager, LED Components, Cree. The topic: light and color. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the November 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How do LEDs differ from traditional light sources in terms of color characteristics, and what opportunities does this create?

Scheidt: When compared to traditional light sources, like fluorescent or high-pressure sodium, LEDs are not only more energy efficient, but have a broad spectral content that’s not too far away from sunlight. Where many traditional light sources lack color content, LEDs contain a broad spectrum of color. This means that they are able to represent colors more accurately. The biggest opportunity this creates it that the quality of light can be increased while simultaneously decreasing the power load when lighting a space.

Historically, when you went to make things more efficient, it meant the lighting was going to look “uglier” and the color would be off. LEDs have created a new possibility to make the lighting look better and more accurate, while continuing to be energy efficient. Take for instance industries like retail, medical and museums, which have always required a higher quality of light. In the past, they were not able to use energy efficient technologies because that would mean the quality would diminish. However, LEDs present a new opportunity in these fields to maximize color and quality of light while being energy efficient.

Beyond energy efficiency, LEDs present a world of opportunity that traditional light sources do not. As a technology, LEDs allow for the industry to explore new products and innovative designs that were not previously possible. LED technology eliminates the current constraints for a wide spectrum of light applications such as color-mixing, directional lighting and industrial lighting.

DiLouie: With LED technology, it is possible to precisely engineer the spectral power distribution of a product. What possibilities and markets does this serve/create?

Scheidt: Today we are at the forefront of defining and understanding what possibilities and markets are created by being able to precisely engineer the spectral power distribution of a product. The market is trying to push this forward, and most actively I have seen this done from the LED side in the retail lighting application to try to better understand human preference. Though, at this point there is not enough research to figure out what spectral power distributions that humans would prefer to look at, work under or shop with.

However, there are many possibilities that this could create including influencing people, making customers feel more comfortable, increasing worker productivity or creating an environment that is pleasing. This could be a huge economic opportunity for retailers because if customers feel comfortable due to the lighting, there might be a correlation with the number of products they buy or it could influence them to choose a specific store over a competitor. Similarly, there are opportunities here for businesses to increase workforce productivity, for schools to maximize student alertness and hospitals to use lighting for quicker patient recovery.

DiLouie: In 2015, the IES introduced the TM-30 method of evaluating color quality. Do you see designers and manufacturers getting behind TM-30? For what application is the precision of TM-30 ideally suited? What do you think will happen next in terms of new color standards?

Scheidt: Cree was heavily involved in the process for setting the TM-30 standards for evaluating color quality. So with that said, we support the standards and are excited about what they mean for the industry. Right now, the whole industry is still in the process of educating the lighting designers. For the most part, the lighting designers who have heard of the standards and understand them, really like them and see the benefits of getting more information about the light ahead of time, without having to do trials or look at the light. However, like any new standard, it is going to take some time for the industry to understand it, ask for it, find it valuable and make decisions based on TM-30.

In terms of applications, TM-30 is useful for anything where color accuracy and rendering are important in the application. The standard is about understanding how certain light is going to influence colors in the space. So, for certain applications like offices, museums, hospitals, car dealerships this is important, but with other applications, like roadways or parking garages, this may not be as important.

In regards to what will happen next, I think we are in good shape in North America where the industry looks to IES to set standards. However, it will be interesting is to see if CIE, the international body based in Europe will adopt similar standards.

DiLouie: Please describe the process of binning and how standards and manufacturer methods ensure good color consistency. Is there anything new to report in this area in terms of new standards or technology?

Scheidt: Binning is the process of testing every single LED for color and then grouping the ones that are similarly colored together in bins. It can become a rather detailed and complex process depending on the amount of bins and how many bins are necessary to meet a target specification.

The process of binning is relatively standardized across the industry, but which bin you use for colors depends on the product and manufacturer. As a whole, the packaged-LED industry is working on improving the color consistency of the product; the better we can make our production, the better our yields.

DiLouie: The California Title 20 standards require a bump in general-service lamp CRI that may result in 90+ CRI being standard but with the tradeoff being higher cost and potentially lower energy savings. What is your view of these regulations, and (if applicable) how is your company responding?

Scheidt: Cree worked with the California Energy Commission on the development of the 2018 Title 20 requirements, and supports the need for high-quality light in LED bulbs. We believe in the importance of better, and continue to deliver products that offer better light, better dimming, better lifetime and a better warranty.

DiLouie: How important is color to circadian lighting, and where does the industry stand on understanding the science and developing products and a market for it?

Scheidt: The whole notion of circadian lighting is related to influencing your energy levels and emotions through color and light levels– so, color is clearly very important. Over the years, scientists have studied and researched how light levels affect human behavior. For instance, multiple studies have been conducted around humans on submarines and workers who work the night shift; however, studies on the effect of light color on circadian rhythm and what this means are just starting.

To date, I have not seen a product that says it completely understands the science of circadian rhythm, because the industry is not there yet. We have identified the right variables for circadian lighting (color & light amount); however, we do not know where or how you set these controls to impact the biological like mood and energy levels.

DiLouie: Are there any other important new developments in lighting color I’m missing?

Scheidt: As an industry, we are still at the beginning of understanding the notion of mood and human preference for lighting. Past technologies did not allow for the industry to explore and understand these topics the way LED does. Overall, LEDs allow us to think about and design products for the future, as we can manipulate and create new options that we not previously available. They may not be developed yet, but they are now made possible because of LEDs.

DiLouie: Why is color important to understand for electrical distributors selling lighting?

Scheidt: It’s fairly simple – if the color is bad than people are not going to like the product and you will have more returns and unhappy customers.

DiLouie: How can electrical distributors turn their understanding about color into lighting recommendations and sales?

Scheidt: It is not that they always need to recommend the best color performance or the best color consistency into everything. It’s about understanding which customers are going to care about color and which ones aren’t. From the LED perspective, you’re always going to get something with better pricing and performance if you can accept worse color. It’s not always going to be true that people will sacrifice color for price. For them, it’s identifying what the customer tradeoffs are and understanding which customers are willing to pay for better performance and which customers need the best performance.

DiLouie: How should electrical distributors qualify products based on color performance? What performance features, metrics and standards should they be paying attention to?

Scheidt: As discussed earlier, TM-30 is a great standard for electrical distributors to qualify products based on color performance, especially if they want to address the lighting specifier/ designer community. Being able to learn and speak to how the different metrics work will enable them to talk to customers more readily and understand the data that the manufacturers are providing for color sensitive applications. For more mainstream products, the color rendering index (CRI) is still applicable as many industry leaders, such as ENERGY STAR and the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) still use CRI for their color quality metrics.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and color, what would it be?

Scheidt: We are just starting to understand the interaction between color, light levels and human beings, and with LED, have the right technology to help address these needs for the first time in history so expect more change and progress to come.

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Interview with Andrew Kites of Philips Lighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Kites, Global Product Manager, Philips Lighting. The topic: light and color. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview…

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Kites, Global Product Manager, Philips Lighting. The topic: light and color. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the November 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How do LEDs differ from traditional light sources in terms of color characteristics, and what opportunities does this create?

Kites: Traditional light sources are generally broad spectrum emitters that produce high quality color rendering of objects. Color LED sources emit light in a narrow spectral band, and phosphor converted white LEDs provide a narrow peak in the deep blue wavelength range, while also producing high irradiance in the 470 to 630nm spectral range.

LEDs allow us to isolate and understand the impact of specific spectral bands on human physiology, plant growth, environmental impacts of electric light, etc.

DiLouie: With LED technology, it is possible to precisely engineer the spectral power distribution of a product. What possibilities and markets does this serve/create?

Kites: It is possible, but not necessarily practical. LED sources have seen dramatic cost reduction, much of this driven by manufacturers reaching economies of scale and R&D breakthroughs. The industry has converged on a somewhat limited set of phosphors and pump emitters to help drive cost down and push efficacy up. Using multiple narrow band emitters (red, blue, green, amber, etc) and optically mixing these colors to produce white light is one way lighting companies can test new concepts in applications where white LED light sources aren’t sufficient. We can now produce high quality white, and color in the same light fixture. Retail, healthcare, horticulture, and general architectural applications will benefit from this tech.

DiLouie: In 2015, the IES introduced the TM-30 method of evaluating color quality. Do you see designers and manufacturers getting behind TM-30? For what application is the precision of TM-30 ideally suited? What do you think will happen next in terms of new color standards?

Kites: At this time, we have not seen large adoption of the TM-30 standard. As the industry better understands how use the color information that TM-30 provides, we could see adoption pick up. As lighting designers see how color fidelity and gamut can help them deliver application specific color metrics, TM-30 data will become important. Ease of use is also an important factor.

DiLouie: Please describe the process of binning and how standards and manufacturer methods ensure good color consistency. Is there anything new to report in this area in terms of new standards or technology?

Kites: Color consistency from credible LED manufacturers has improved significantly since white LEDs were first produced. Some manufacturers have gotten much more skilled at producing LEDs that are closer to the center of the ANSI bin for that CCT, reducing waste in manufacturing from out of spec product, reducing LED costs, all while improving color consistency. There are no new standards or technologies for white light binning widely available.

DiLouie: The California Title 20 standards require a bump in general-service lamp CRI that may result in 90+ CRI being standard but with the tradeoff being higher cost and potentially lower energy savings. What is your view of these regulations, and (if applicable) how is your company responding?

Kites: As the industry has concluded, CRI is not necessarily the best metric to measure color quality of LED sources. Instituting regulation without properly weighing cost/benefit could hinder the adoption of LED lighting and/or impede innovation.

Many of our customers feel that the existing LED light quality standards are “good enough” for general purpose applications. CRI was developed on the basis of a reference lamp and helped compare quality of light across different lamp types. Over time, as this became an important metric to specifiers, manufacturers started to focus on setting minimums for certain applications. However, the ability of a human eye to differentiate between a CRI of 88 and a CRI of 90 is very low, since it’s a mathematical metric, and not based on human perception differences of color fidelity.

DiLouie: How important is color to circadian lighting, and where does the industry stand on understanding the science and developing products and a market for it?

Kites: The fundamental research in light and well-being is more than twenty years old. Our approach is to test and adapt systems, which can be reconfigured Research is ongoing to determine the appropriate light levels, spectral content, and lighting design that provides support for human circadian biorhythms. The research points to humans generally having a biological response to both blue and red wavelengths. easilyThe research into lighting and its effects is ongoing and we continue to uncover new insights.

DiLouie: Are there any other important new developments in lighting and color?

Kites: Using color for design, functional, and physiological impact will continue to grow as control systems become more color friendly. The psychological impact that colors can have on people, and the associations that people have for various colors and elicit emotional responses. As research develops, we will see how these emotional and psychological impacts color has on humans, plays out in various applications and use cases.

DiLouie: Why is color important to understand for electrical distributors selling lighting?

Kites: Color is important in order to acheive the desired lighting effect. Customers new to LED lighting will look for recommendations and distributors have the opportunity to help educate the market.

DiLouie: How can electrical distributors turn their understanding about color into lighting recommendations and sales?

Kites: Matching customers speed with the correct products will help speed LED light source adoption. For multi-color light fixtures, knowledge of controls and general installation requirements will ensure customers get the most out of their digital lighting systems.

DiLouie: How should electrical distributors qualify products based on color performance? What performance features, metrics and standards should they be paying attention to?

Kites: CCT and CRI at a minimum and CRI R9 values are becoming increasingly important. For tunable lighting systems, color mixing, optical beam quality, CCT range, how well it tracks the black body curve, color consistency across luminaires, and TM-30 values are also important.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and color, what would it be?

Kites: Lighting has a profound effect on the human body, how we feel, and how we function. Whether it is student focus in the classroom, employee comfort in the office, shopper behavior inside the store, or patient recovery in the hospital, it is quite easy and exceedingly beneficial to customize an indoor space using the right light, with the right spectral content, at the right time in order to support a diverse range of daily activities.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Kites: Spectral knowledge and color-tunable systems are new and exciting to the lighting industry, and will bring more challenges and opportunities to the market. The more we know and understand how these systems can positively impact our customers, the bigger the opportunity to bring value to our customers.

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Will Lighting Manufacturers Shift to a Service Model?

At the Smart Lighting 2017 conference, Stijn Bröcker, head of connected lighting for OSRAM, warned lighting manufacturers will have to completely overhaul their business processes, from manufacturing to sales, as…

At the Smart Lighting 2017 conference, Stijn Bröcker, head of connected lighting for OSRAM, warned lighting manufacturers will have to completely overhaul their business processes, from manufacturing to sales, as the Internet of Things encourages a shift from a product to a service business model.

The reshaping spans across a wide range of practices, such as targeting a potential customer’s CEO rather than the facilities manager; altering salesforce incentives and compensations; replacing internal computer systems; and much more.

Interesting stuff. LEDs Magazine has the story here.

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The Labor That Once Produced 54 Minutes of Light Now Produces 52 Years

This interesting BBC article talks about an economist’s efforts to chart the efficiency of light production from the discovery of fire to the LED. Yale Professor William Nordhaus studied the…

This interesting BBC article talks about an economist’s efforts to chart the efficiency of light production from the discovery of fire to the LED.

Yale Professor William Nordhaus studied the amount of hours of labor required to produce 1,000 lumen-hours using fire, oil lamps, candles, and light bulbs. He found the labor once required to produce 54 minutes of light now produces 52 years.

Hooray for human progress!

Click here to read it.

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Interview with Finelite’s Terry Clark

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Clark, Founder, Finelite. The topic: K-12 school lighting. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article…

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Clark, Founder, Finelite. The topic: K-12 school lighting. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the December 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the K-12 education lighting market?

Clark: I would characterize the market in one word: “Underserved”. More attention is given to selecting flooring than selecting the best way to light a classroom. As a result, too often, lighting has been bought based on a lowest first-cost basis. When lowest first cost is the focus, it is difficult for a Distributor to add value and to make profit on the project. That is about to change!

DiLouie: What are the top design trends in K-12 classrooms? How are K-12 classrooms changing?

Clark: Trend 1 – Using T-LED replacement lamps in existing and dated fixtures. This is the path taken when decisions makers are not aware of new approaches that are cost-effective from day 1.

Trend 2 – Recognize the teachers teach better with great lighting systems. Update the classroom lighting system by using cost-effective, LED-based, 2-color tunable white, plug-and-play lighting systems that light each area of the classroom appropriately.

No longer will the learning environment be static where teachers stand at the front of the classroom and lecture to students in desks. Classrooms are incorporating a range of technologies, from mobile devices and computers to interactive white boards and modular furniture all designed to enhance the learning the environment supporting collaboration and personalized interactions.

Classrooms must be dynamic to accommodate the wide range of activities occurring, therefore a lighting system that can adjust to the tasks at hand is needed.

DiLouie: Generally, how are these design trends affecting best practices in K-12 classroom lighting design?

Clark: Best practices include a teacher-specific control panel that allow a touch of a button to change from general lighting to lighting appropriate to AV systems, to tablet use, to energize students and to calm them. Teachers can easily set these presets to reflect the unique nature of their classrooms. The system allows for school-wide schedules and can provide data to energy administrators as needed. One firm should take full responsibility for pricing, installation, and warranty support.

DiLouie: How influential are initiatives like CHPS, energy codes and LEED in the construction and renovation of schools?

Clark: They help. But, new research shows that newer, cost-effective approaches should be used. CHPS and LEEDs are working to update their recommended Best Practices to reflect what is now possible. Doing that in a timely basis is their challenge.

DiLouie: How is new teaching technology increasing demand for flexibility? What are typical lighting requirements? What lighting and control solutions are appropriate for satisfying these requirements?

Clark: Video displays, white boards on multiple walls; tablets for all students, Wi-Fi in every classroom are some of the things we see in many new classrooms. Since each of these needs a different type of light at different times in different intensities, new lighting systems are needed!

To satisfy the requirements and promote student learning, an energy efficient and cost-efficient tunable white lighting-emitting diode (LED) lighting system composed of luminaires, a user interface, a controller, daylight harvesting systems and occupancy sensors to promote energy efficiency specifically designed for education settings is needed.

DiLouie: Tunable-white lighting is offering ways to support learning by allowing teachers to control both intensity and color temperature throughout the day. How useful are these strategies, and what evidence supports their use? What are typical lighting requirements? What lighting and control solutions are appropriate for satisfying these requirements?

Clark: Lighting controls designed for teachers and teaching are the most appropriate. Key specifications include user interfaces tailored for managing common classroom scenarios such as general, audio/visual, and laptop/tablet activities. Vertical lighting should be used to increase light on vertical teaching surfaces and improve visual performance for students. Color tuning can be used to cue behavior and future proof learning environments.

The good news is that recent research1 shows that these new lighting systems can be made to be very reliable, to deliver excellent spectrums of light over the range of 6500K to 2700K, to be cost-effective, and to cover a very wide range of classroom types. However, these systems are just being designed into and installed in actual classrooms. Accordingly, concrete evidence of their effectiveness may still be some way down the road.

DiLouie: What are the most appropriate retrofit options for K-12 classrooms?

Clark: Today’s LED-based 2-color systems are so different from yesterday’s fluorescent light fixtures, that retrofits are no longer appropriate. Trying to do that will be a waste of money. This will become clear as we go forward.

DiLouie: How are energy codes affecting design of K-12 classrooms?

Clark: New codes are causing key decision makers to look at lighting more closely than before. When that happens, it creates the opportunity to explain why it is necessary to install a new system. That is a good thing.

DiLouie: What LED benefits are particularly suited to classrooms?

Clark: Properly designed, LED-based luminaires deliver extremely long-life (50-years is not outrageous), energy efficient, and maintenance free lighting in the classroom. LEDs also allow for 2-color tunable white systems that were not really feasible with fluorescent light fixtures.

DiLouie: When selecting an appropriate K-12 lighting solution, what should electrical distributors be looking for?

Clark: Make sure you are getting a fully plug-and-play system that combine new 2-color tunable white luminaires with special plug-and-play switches and teacher interfaces. Look for one firm that can guarantee pricing, delivery, easy installation, and one source warranty support.

DiLouie: What can distributors do to ensure they are most competitive in the education lighting market?

Clark: Ask great questions. If they are asked to price a retrofit, ask why they are not taking the opportunity to upgrade to a new system. If they are asked to quote a new system, ask who can provide it on a turn-key basis. As they move into this new area, be sure to ask: “who are the trusted partners that will be around for decades to support the system”.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about today’s education lighting market, what would it be?

Clark: Do not assume that the only issue is first purchase price. Strive to add value to the project. That will let you increase your profits by providing additional value.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Clark: No other area of school design and construction has undergone as much change as the way we should light classroom. You will bring value to your customers by helping make them aware of this. Bringing increased value to our customers is what you need to continue to succeed in the years to come.

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Acuity Brands’ Trish Foster on K-12 School Lighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Trish Foster, LC, LEED Green Associate, Director, Education Market Development, Acuity Brands. The topic: K-12 school lighting. I’m happy to share her responses…

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Trish Foster, LC, LEED Green Associate, Director, Education Market Development, Acuity Brands. The topic: K-12 school lighting. I’m happy to share her responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the December 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the K-12 education lighting market?

Foster: This is an exciting time for the K-12 lighting market. Data indicates that there continues to be growth in education construction. From a renovation standpoint, this means the older, dated schools, are looking for not only more efficient solutions, but also solutions that can have a positive impact on the learning environment. The education market in general is becoming more “interactive” with tools such as tablets and smart boards. Intuitive lighting controls further expand the teacher’s toolbox. For instance, tunable solutions allow the teacher to easily change the lighting intensity and color temperature to improve student engagement, depending upon factors like classroom activity or time of day. Lighting becomes another teaching tool.

DiLouie: What are the top design trends in K-12 classrooms? How are K-12 classrooms changing?

Foster: Collaborative spaces are the top trend we are seeing. Classroom environments that allow teachers and students to interact with one another and exchange ideas. Classrooms today are not static environments where students sit in uniform rows facing a chalkboard. In fact, I have visited classrooms without any desks at all. Students have alternative seating options such as bean bags and sofas.

Also, teachers continue to be very creative with their lighting. In many classrooms, teachers are using table lamps or ceiling lantern lights to create warmer learning environments. This trend is positive for all lighting professionals because it indicates a need from teachers to alter the learning environment based on the task at hand.

Lastly, schools are wanting apps to control their spaces. They want the AV screen to be controlled by an app, attendance recording to be managed by an app. Even homework and class assignments are communicated and graded digitally. K-12 schools are embarking upon the Internet of Things.

DiLouie: Generally, how are these design trends affecting best practices in K-12 classroom lighting design?

Foster: If spaces and activities are flexible, this means the lighting and controls need to be flexible as well. The lighting must be functional, of course, but with controls that are easy to understand and operate. A teacher must feel confident that when she presses a control panel, the outcome will be what he/she expects.

DiLouie: How influential are initiatives like CHPS, energy codes and LEED in the construction and renovation of schools?

Foster: Energy codes are very influential. For states that have adopted IECC 2015, LED lighting with controls integration is a given. Typically, codes drive the initial interest in lighting controls for a school space.

Initiatives such as CHPS and LEED still have a very important role in school projects, although I am not hearing as many conversations around LEED. Both CHPS and LEED provide outstanding guidelines for creating efficient and sustainable spaces, that have a positive impact on the learning environment and incorporate natural daylight into the space.

DiLouie: Tunable-white lighting is offering ways to support learning by allowing teachers to control both intensity and color temperature throughout the day. How useful are these strategies, and what evidence supports their use? What are typical lighting requirements? What lighting and control solutions are appropriate for satisfying these requirements?

Foster: The ability to tune the color temperature of the light is certainly one of the most significant advances. A class with intensive laboratory-style learning may benefit from a different color temperature than a class focusing more on reading or independent studies. With the advancements of LED technology and the easy-to-use controls platforms, every classroom can now benefit from tunable white lighting.

Research indicates that changing the color temperature based on the activity or task at hand can positively impact mood, behavior, and concentration. In fact, there is a school in Carrollton Texas that installed tunable white lighting in a 5th grade classroom at the start of the 2016 school year. Results from their annual state examination demonstrated an improvement over last year’s scores. The only variable changed with these students was the tunable lighting. You can learn more about this project by clicking here.

One final comment about tunable lighting in classrooms is that the kiddos embrace it. They remind the teacher to change the lighting when an activity changes. They also learn about the impact of lighting on the space. In fact, there is one 5th grader who is afraid his grades will suffer when he moves to the 6th grade classroom because tunable white lighting is not installed there.

DiLouie: What are the most appropriate retrofit options for K-12 classrooms?

Foster: There are many retrofit options available. When a school is considering a “true” retrofit they should look for solutions that are cost effective, easy to install and can be a one for one replacement. Luminaires that match existing form factors, such as 2×4 configurations, and wireless controls can help to keep the retrofit project on schedule and on budget.

DiLouie: How are energy codes affecting design of K-12 classrooms?

Foster: Energy codes are having a significant impact on K-12 classrooms. Classrooms have really been the slowest to adopt LED solutions and, in some cases, controls. Codes are expediting this shift. With any new or renovation classroom project, it is difficult to meet the codes without including these solutions.

DiLouie: What LED benefits are particularly suited to classrooms?

Foster: Of course, LED offers an energy-efficient solution with a long life, which means reduced on-going maintenance cost, but there are other benefits from using LED lighting in the classroom. The most significant benefit is the ease of controllability. Teachers can now easily change the intensity of the light levels based on the task and, with the appropriate driver technology, flicker is virtually eliminated. This allows for comfortable environments that enhance student learning. In the end, LED is a win-win for all stakeholders from administrators… to teachers…to students…to facility managers.

DiLouie: When selecting an appropriate K-12 lighting solution, what should electrical distributors be looking for?

Foster: It is pretty simple. Distributors need to offer the best solution for the specific needs of an application. In the case of classrooms, this means solutions that are cost-effective, have intuitive teacher controls, are easy to install and have a positive impact on students’ mood and concentration. When they offer a solution that meets these four criteria, both the distributor and the school win.

DiLouie: What can distributors do to ensure they are most competitive in the education lighting market?

Foster: Distributors need to think outside of the traditional way of selling products. It is now about the total solution, integrating luminaires and controls. Simple energy savings and payback is still important, but the conversation is now expanding into an emotional connection where student performance and optimizing the learning environment is key.

Also, distributors must expand the reach of the conversation to stakeholders who were maybe not engaged in the past. It’s now a full circle discussion between facility managers, principals, teachers and the distributor.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about today’s education lighting market, what would it be?

Foster: Everything about the educational environment is changing. New teaching styles, different learning tools and the physical space. Distributors must make lighting and controls a part of the “new conversation” in schools.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Foster: Schools are like a small city. Each space of the school campus has a different activity. Lighting and controls need to complement this. Remember, a high-performance lighting system is one that delivers the right type of light, right amount of light, where needed and when needed.

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Philips Lighting’s Jon Zelinsky on Upgrading Troffers to LED

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Zelinsky, PE, Contractor Marketing Director, Philips Lighting. The topic: upgrading troffers to LED. I’m happy to share his responses with you here….

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Zelinsky, PE, Contractor Marketing Director, Philips Lighting. The topic: upgrading troffers to LED. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the May 2017 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: What basic choices do building owners have to upgrade existing troffer-based fluorescent lighting systems to LED?

Zelinsky: Building owners can choose from a few different product categories with a variety of performance features. There is a wide range of TLEDs if a customer wants to keep a more traditional “socket” approach, including smart TLEDs, such as Philips InstantFit TLED with EasySmart Technology, that allow for wireless independent dimming and regrouping of fixtures for greater flexibility in the room. Philips InstantFit TLEDs are compatible with over 184 existing fluorescent ballasts used in the field today to simplify the retrofit. To drive even higher performance and greater energy savings with socket solutions, new TLEDs can be installed with new LED Drivers as well.

The next rung up would be LED retrofit kits, such as Philips EvoKit. These retrofit kits provide a greater level of energy savings and performance, and have the ability to add individual daylight harvesting and occupancy controls wirelessly to drive added energy savings. Moreover, when the controls option is utilized, the individual fixture(s) can be set to a lower level light output on day 1 to capture additional savings and prevent a space from being over lighted. The flexibility an owner has with this product family is greater, and the fixture settings and groupings can be easily changed with a smart phone app.

And finally, there are new LED troffer fixtures for those customers who want a completely new fixture. Philips EvoGrid matches the look and feel of the EvoKit when a combination of retrofit kits and new fixtures are needed. Additionally, there are new LED troffer fixtures with air handling capabilities for those specialty requirements.

DiLouie: How would you categorize LED troffer/panel products aimed at replacing fluorescent troffers?

Zelinsky: There is a quantifiable performance upgrade with the LED retrofit panels, in addition to an improved look and feel of the space itself. From an aesthetic perspective, a building owner can transform their space from a 1990’s, or older, office look to a modern facility. Moreover, it takes a static lighting environment with basic on/off functionality to a dynamic, adaptable environment when the wireless controls are added.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings and other advantages of replacing fluorescent troffers with LED troffers/panels?

Zelinsky: By utilizing an LED troffer only solution, an owner can expect to achieve energy savings in the 50% range. Adding the controls options can generally capture an additional 25%.

For example, when Philips Lighting first introduced our LED retrofit solution, our product was installed at the GSA’s Metcalf Building in Chicago. By using an LED troffer/panel retrofit and the wireless controls, we achieved a 75% measured energy reduction which was also independently validated by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.

DiLouie: What are the disadvantages of replacing the troffer with an LED luminaire compared to TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

Zelinsky: Looking at a new fixture solution versus a retrofit kit or TLED lamps is generally an increase in labor to complete the renovation. Generally it would be important to know what the objectives are by the customer and then to design the most appropriate solution for them.

DiLouie: What are conditions under which replacing the luminaire would be ideal as opposed to replacing the lamps?

Zelinsky: There are different options for consideration, and each one has a different cost consideration. Troffers may have any number of lamps, 1, 2, 3, 4, so one would have to consider the number of lamps and ballasts that an owner has. A four lamp and two ballast fixture may be more expensive to replace individual components instead of putting in a LED retrofit kit or new luminaire.

Additionally, there could be other factors such as utility incentives that could drive preference for one solution over another.

DiLouie: How would you categorize TLED lamps and retrofit kits aimed at replacing fluorescent lamps in fluorescent troffers?

Zelinsky: There is a wide range of products in both the TLED and retrofit kit categories. It is important to match the right light with the right application and customer objectives. Sometimes a combination of different solutions from different categories is appropriate. It might make sense to use EvoKits in general office spaces, and InstantFit TLEDs in storage rooms as an example.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings and other advantages of replacing fluorescent lamps with TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

Zelinsky: TLEDs can generate energy savings in the 40% range when paired with a traditional fluorescent ballast, and can generate additional energy savings when paired with a dedicated LED driver. Smart TLEDs that can be dimmed can generate even more savings.

As mentioned before, retrofit kits can drive energy savings in the 50% to 75% range.

DiLouie: What are the disadvantages of replacing the lamps in a fluorescent troffer with TLED lamps instead of replacing the luminaire?

Zelinsky: The greatest risk can be compatibility issues with an existing fluorescent ballast. It is critical to know if the TLED has been tested by the manufacturer to ensure that the TLED will perform as expected. The contractor and the owner lose time, money and resources when callbacks occur to figure out why something isn’t working properly.

Additionally, it is worthwhile to consider the age or expected remaining life of the ballast in the fixture. A ballast that may need to be replaced in the near term anyway would wind up adding additional labor costs.

DiLouie: What are conditions under which replacing the lamps with TLED lamps instead of replacing the luminaire would be ideal?

Zelinsky: If the compatibility of the ballast is verified, and a TLED lamp retrofit is in line with the owner’s expectations of how the space will look, feel, and perform in terms of energy consumption, then it is a good match. A lot will depend on the type and age of the existing fixture, and how happy is that owner, or the owner’s tenants, with the existing lighting system.

To help simplify and support the decision making process, Philips Lighting developed a lighting retrofit tool that helps a contractor or even an owner evaluate the different lighting systems from an energy perspective. Then, it would be easy to do a mock up in the space to see how the different solutions would look in the owner’s space.

DiLouie: What control options exist for TLED lamps and retrofit kits?

Zelinsky: Philips Lighting developed EasySense and SpaceWise wireless controls that are an option for any LED retrofit kit or new LED fixture.

Additionally, the Philips InstantFit TLED with EasySmart Technology can be controlled wirelessly and grouped independently. This can be a real game changer for someone with limited resources.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about retrofitting fluorescent troffers to LED, what would it be?

Zelinsky: The best decisions are made when contractors to talk to their customers and propose a solution that meets their needs. Your customer’s customer will be happier, and you will become a valued resource offering solutions that fulfil the owner’s needs and wants.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Zelinsky: The Philips Lighting Retrofit Tool is a flexible and easy way to develop and test different options in order to identify the best solution possible. It is an excellent resource that can empirically support decisions made in the field.

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