Category: Interviews + Opinion

LEDVANCE’s Alfred LaSpina Talks LED Downlights

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alfred LaSpina, LED Product Group Marketing Manager, LEDVANCE. The topic: what’s new in LED downlights.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Alfred LaSpina, LED Product Group Marketing Manager, LEDVANCE. The topic: what’s new in LED downlights. The responses informed an article I wrote for the March issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the downlight lighting market in terms of size, and current demand for downlights?

LaSpina: LED downlights have become the new A-Lamp. Not only have they become more affordable for the customer, but there are also more choices available. We are seeing a high demand and adoption rate of downlight retrofits in residential and commercial applications now. In terms of new construction, the demand for LED downlights has also increased, as energy codes have become more stringent and prices of commercial products have made LED options equal to or less than CFL options in terms of cost.

DiLouie: In what key areas have LED downlights improved over the past three years, and what benefits do these improvements offer?

LaSpina: Form factor choices have definitely expanded, in addition to color temperatures and lumen output options. Where before it was primarily 5 and 6 inch downlights, now we have 4 inch and even 8 inch for high ceiling applications. Slim profile LED downlights are also now available with a 1 inch thin design that allow for installation directly under joists in new and remodel construction. The high performing IC design allows for installation without a housing which means the light can be placed in more locations, making it easier to meet the aesthetic demands of the customer. This also helps cut down on labor costs because you aren’t having to install a can. These savings can marketed back to the end customer as a selling point.

DiLouie: What are the top 5 trends in LED downlight design?

LaSpina: Some trends in LED downlight design are high CRI for color critical applications and being able to be a one to one replacement for incandescent. Trim options are available for some products for those looking for that certain aesthetic. Price points are also becoming competitive for LED downlights, which are being used in both commercial and residential applications. Enhanced gimbal models also spin and tilt more effectively, allowing end users to easily focus the light where they want it.

DiLouie: What are typical benefits of upgrading existing downlights with LED retrofit kits? What’s the market opportunity?

LaSpina: Typical benefits include the well-known energy and maintenance savings but there are also labor savings, especially in high ceiling applications. Installing LED downlights is becoming much easier for contractors due to improved product design. This is a big selling point for contractors trying to simplify their lives, do a job right the first time quickly and move on to the next project. For example, now some professional models can be direct wired to the junction box, thereby eliminating the can and improving labor time, available with either 0-10 V or phase cut dimming options.

DiLouie: What are the main attributes of an LED downlight that electrical distributors would be looking for? How do they confidently select a quality product?

LaSpina: An LED downlight should be backed by a company with a long-standing reputation for quality and one that’s been in business for at least as long as they are offering the warranty. In addition, a good downlight will meet current industry standards for performance and life testing, such as LM-79, LM-80 and in many cases, TM-21. It is important to follow ANSI Chromaticity standards so that all of the lights on a project are the same color temperature.

In areas with utility rebates, distributors should look for Energy Star qualified LED downlights to lower project costs. For areas that don’t offer rebates, for price-driven customers there are also proven contractor-line LED downlights from trusted manufacturers with deep lighting expertise.

DiLouie: What are value-added features distributors should be selling, and for what applications or problems are they ideally suited?

LaSpina: When working with a proven LED downlight manufacturer, distributors can highlight to customers features and benefits like industry-leading warranty and also readily available dimming compatibility listings. More than ever consumers want things their way, so the ability to adjust the lighting to the needs of the space is key to the success of a downlight product offering. Ensure the product you are selling comes with a solid dimming compatibility list. No one wants to install a product that ends up not working with existing dimming controls, and with LEDs that is an important thing to consider.

Some value-added features distributors should be selling include utility rebates for large projects with budget caps, lighting controls systems for large projects with energy consumption regulations, and high lumen outputs for higher ceiling applications.

DiLouie: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices in general?

LaSpina: LED has revolutionized the electrical distribution business by offering more choices, but also more complexity with a wide range of providers flooding the market. Distributors should work with manufacturers that have a knowledgeable and trusted sales team that can help them work through all the confusion, and that offer robust in-person and online training on product benefits, selling points and installation guidance.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about today’s LED downlights, what would it be?

LaSpina: Feel confident in meeting your customers’ needs by offering LED downlights that are products are backed by an excellent warranty, meet the most stringent testing and quality standards, and are offered in a variety of apertures, color temperatures and lumen packages.

Some distributors are fixated on lowest price and opting to sell their contractors and end users on quick, temporary LED “fixes” that may fail over a short period of time, or provide subpar light quality that won’t make the customer happy. Although a superior LED downlight may not be the lowest cost at the time of installation, end users will appreciate the long-term value of the unit if the correct lighting solution was chosen. Look beyond initial price to offer a premium light source that will exceed application expectations and operate hands-free for years to come. This can help ensure repeat business as customers see you as a trusted business partner, and not just a commodity provider.

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Ted Konnerth on Lighting Disintermediation

Our industry is facing significant changes … LED has transformed lighting, which has typically been a 15-20% category for most distributors. The lighting market is fragmenting rapidly; with the advent of Smart Lighting, IoT and specialty lighting market growth (UV, Horticulture, Agriculture, Biological, etc.). So, where does that leave the legacy alliance model of traditional electrical distributors and manufacturers? The answer is simple… it’s changing, and the key to preserving the legacy relationships is the agreement for both partners to craft a new way forward.

By Ted Konnerth, Egret Consulting Group, reprinted from The Buzz

Disintermediation.

A $2 word for cutting out the middle man.

We’ve talked a lot about the changing channels throughout the electrical industry. Changes are not particularly new to the industry. In those way back years, electrical distributors sold appliances, Grainger created the catalog model for industrial supplies, Anixter created a major disintermediation by specializing in wire as a stand-alone category, etc. In more recent days, ‘structured wiring’ moved from an electrical distributor product line to data/com distribution. IOU’s moved away from distributor support decades ago and most buy directly from the manufacturers.

The trend isn’t unique to the electrical industry; here are a couple of current disintermediation models:

Uber eliminates the need for taxi dispatchers, cash payments and hailing a cab or standing in a cab line. Key to their success; it allows you to communicate directly with the driver, prior to being picked up. You see the driver name, vehicle and a rating system.

Tesla has slowly eliminated the auto dealer experience; state by state.

Most large equipment manufacturer dealerships; John Deere or marine boat supply companies have eliminated a parts counter or inventory. The ability to cross-reference a tractor or boat part based on the exact year and model, from your home and have it delivered 1-2 days later, and be accurate has changed the dealership experience for large equipment dealerships.

And in ultimate irony: Sears invented the concept of direct to consumer marketing via catalog, which is the exact equivalent of Amazon’s business model, except the internet communication medium is faster and more robust than mailing catalogs and receiving orders via mail.

Our industry is facing significant changes. Solar and wind generation have become one of the fastest growth markets for distributed energy sources; but both largely bypass the traditional distributor. LED has transformed lighting, which has typically been a 15-20% category for most distributors. The lighting market is fragmenting rapidly; with the advent of Smart Lighting, IoT and specialty lighting market growth (UV, Horticulture, Agriculture, Biological, etc.).

So, where does that leave the legacy alliance model of traditional electrical distributors and manufacturers? The answer is simple… it’s changing and the key to preserving the legacy relationships is the agreement for both partners to craft a new way forward.

Lighting is now a $30+B market in the US alone (compared to $7B in 1998). LED has created markets that have never existed before, and that implies the channel partnerships to foster those new applications and markets have to be different. Different can mean traditional partners have agreed to mutually target the new markets and create a training program and a commitment to investment to attack and grow those new markets. Different can, also, be the mutual decision to simply admit you’re not interested in making the investment in boot-strapping a new market. Distributors will have to decide how to align their capabilities, investments and talent to achieve the desired outcome. An electrical distributor functions on a local market basis. Hiring an IoT specialist or indoor farming expert to grow a new business model may never make sense on any given local level. But there should be a mutual discussion and agreement that this is not the business model you desire.

We regularly hear from lighting manufacturers that the market is ‘soft’. Those companies are almost unanimously legacy manufacturers. Our clients that have entered new markets are growing aggressively. And they don’t carry the adhesion of 50 years of legacy channel relationships to either help springboard their products; or detract them from their focus.

Most legacy manufacturers have moved into a near 100% project based model of business; get specified, bid and bought for new construction. The days of a brisk and profitable stock and flow business for lighting have diminished rapidly. Most of the larger manufacturers have abdicated that business to smaller manufacturers.

The challenge moving forward is to identify where you want to play. As a national manufacturer, it’s a strategic move to define your product plan, sales plan and talent structure based upon a guiding market channel strategy. No manufacturer will play in all of the new emerging markets; so choose wisely and determine how that strategy correlates or impacts your legacy relationships.

For distributors; the issue is much bigger. Do you want to stay in lighting? Currently, most distributors have become project management specialists for lighting reps. Those project management skills can easily be absorbed into the rep firm; or absorbed into the manufacturers’ customer service responsibilities. The only residual adhesion may be the credit function extended to contractors. In these days of cheap capital; don’t be surprised to see a manufacturer, or rep emerge that will finance a lighting project. If lighting eludes you; then your strategy needs to focus on the products, relationships and services that make money. If I were a distributor; I’d be spending significant time devoted to my strategic plan for the next 2-5 years.

Smart Lighting, IoT, ESCO and emerging markets all require training. Many will likely require different personnel to achieve your goals. There is very little time to craft the plan for growth, or abandonment of your lighting vertical.

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Hubbell’s Joe Engle Talks LED High-Bay Lighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Engle, Product Manager, New Product Innovation, Hubbell Lighting. The topic: trends in LED high-bay lighting.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Engle, Product Manager, New Product Innovation, Hubbell Lighting. The topic: trends in LED high-bay lighting. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the February 2018 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the high-bay lighting market in terms of size, and current demand for high-bay lighting products?

Engle: Changes in energy codes and regulations are having a positive impact on demand for high-bay lighting products. A good example is EISA, which continues to push out legacy fixtures and certain ballasts. There are effectively no remaining untapped areas where LED technology is not widely accepted and embraced.

DiLouie: In what key areas have LED high-bay luminaires improved over the past three years, and what benefits do they offer?

Engle: Manufacturers are offering significant improvements in lumens per watt and ambient temperature suitability.

DiLouie: How would you characterize current LED high-bay luminaire offerings in terms of light output, sizes, optics, wattages, CRI, color temperatures, service life, and compatibility with or integration of lighting controls?

Engle: There is a vast range of LED high-bays available on the market today that feature a variety of options for light output, size, optics, wattages, CRI and CCT. Controls integration and compatibility continues to progress quickly and we’re now using drivers with 0 to 10v control leads to ensure they can be control enabled.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings for replacing HID or fluorescent versus LED high-bay lighting in an existing building, assuming an equivalent maintained light level?

Engle: Lumens per watt is the best measurement. A large volume of existing HID or florescent highbays emit about 20,000 lumens of maintained light. If the replacement LED fixture features an LPW of 125, the resulting wattage to produce 20,000 lumens is 160 watts. Typical HID systems are 460 watts and typical linear fluorescent are roughly 200 watts.

DiLouie: What are the top trends in high-bay building construction, and how are they affecting demand and design of high-bay luminaires?

Engle: Consider one of the fastest growing construction sectors is for logistics and warehouse buildings. In these applications exterior fixture lensing was critical in the past to protect legacy type lamps. This is not as critical with LED. However, there is a trend toward lensing with LED to thwart direct glare cast from fixtures in lower mounting heights. Fixtures with a smaller footprint are also in demand to fit within the structure of the ceiling, sprinkler systems, and HVAC work.

DiLouie: What are the top 5 trends in LED high-bay luminaire design?

Engle: Improved lumens per watt, integrated controls, affordability, uplight and smaller sizes.

DiLouie: What are the main attributes of an LED high-bay luminaire that electrical distributors would be looking for? How do they confidently select a quality product?

Engle: Electrical distributors want performance and reliability in a fixture that is affordable and available. The preferred method to confidently select a product is to purchase a DLC listed LED high-bay from a manufacturer that has proven it will stand by its product.

DiLouie: What are the control capabilities of LED high-bay lighting? What control strategies are possible and typically implemented?

Engle: On one end of the spectrum LED lighting can be easily controlled to both dim and turn on and off. In this scenario integral occupancy and daylight sensors can be used. At the other end of the spectrum sophisticated users are looking for scheduled control, load shedding or other system wide control schemes. Most manufacturers today are primarily concerned with either dimming down or turning off the LED high-bays when it is not needed.

DiLouie: In retail high-bay, issues such as color and sparkle come to the forefront. How competitive is LED compared to ceramic metal halide and similar sources in these applications? What does LED bring to the table that’s unique?

Engle: LED high-bays designed for retail applications can feature equal or greater “sparkle” thanks HID high-bays. The use of a clear acrylic or glass reflector will enhance this effect for the retailer.

DiLouie: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices in general?

Engle: LED highbays have opened up many retrofit opportunities based on the large energy and maintenance savings these fixtures offer. These LED fixtures have convinced electrical distributors to evolve from the traditional HID and fluorescent lamp replacement business. Most LED high-bays, if they need any service at all, use dedicated LED boards and drivers.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about LED high-bay lighting, what would it be?

Engle: It’s likely there is an efficient, reliable and affordable LED high-bay for every application.

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

Engle: Controls don’t have to be tricky. Ask your preferred LED manufacturer for educational materials and consider attending a non-commercial class to learn more about the technology.

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GE’s Eric Meadows on LED High-Bay Lighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Meadows, Global Product Manager Industrial LED, Current by GE. The topic: LED high-bay lighting.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Meadows, Global Product Manager Industrial LED, Current by GE, for an article about LED high-bay lighting I wrote for the February 2018 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the high-bay lighting market in terms of size, and current demand for high-bay lighting products?

Meadows: We look at the total square footage of manufacturing and distribution spaces globally, so the market size and opportunity is immense. However, we’re also using high-bay fixtures in retail applications which further expands the addressable market.

DiLouie: In what key areas have LED high-bay luminaires improved over the past three years, and what benefits do they offer?

Meadows: In terms of performance, LED high-bays are leading the way for all indoor fixtures. We’re seeing the high performance start to top out a bit as we edge closer to the theoretical maximum efficiency of the LED technology in a practical application. Several years ago, I don’t think you’d really be able to claim that LED fixtures could compete with T5 fluorescent lamps, and really the industry was primarily targeting the 250/400W HID products for LED replacement. Today we are absolutely going after the most efficient fluorescent technologies in retrofit as well as new construction applications and are having incredible success due to the price-performance combination available today.

DiLouie: How would you characterize current LED high-bay luminaire offerings in terms of light output, sizes, optics, wattages, CRI, color temperatures, service life, and compatibility with or integration of lighting controls?

Meadows: LED high-bays cover the range from what really represents a low-bay application at the ~5000lm range all the way up to 100,000+ lumen fixtures that could be used at very high mounting heights or even inverted for indirect lighting applications. Also, fixtures are getting smaller & more efficient which lowers the expected cost and lowers the wattage required to produce an equivalent amount of light. With decreased power comes lower operating temperatures and longer life. Similarly, there are many options now in terms of optical control (adjusting your delivered beam angle) as well as different CRI options and color temperatures. We still see the vast majority of applications utilizing 70 CRI as this is the most efficient LED chip package of the commonly offered options for factory or warehouse applications. The next wave of innovations that we’re already starting to see are all around sensors and controls. Most major lighting companies have integrated wireless control options that include standalone sensors all the way up to a fully connected control scheme that integrates with a building management system of some kind.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings for replacing HID or fluorescent versus LED high-bay lighting in an existing building, assuming an equivalent maintained light level?

Meadows: Typical LED fixtures in the market are saving approximate 50% over HID and 30-40% over fluorescent. Your top tier manufacturers typically carry premium performance options. For instance, GE has options that can save 70-80% over HID and 55% over fluorescent in the high performance models.

DiLouie: What are the top trends in high-bay building construction, and how are they affecting demand and design of high-bay luminaires?

Meadows: High performance is quickly becoming a given with top brands. Newer codes are requiring controls which will quickly become another ubiquitous, must-have item in a competitive high-bay. Soon, differentiation will all be around delivering more value which means collecting valuable information and translating it into actionable insights

DiLouie: What are the top 5 trends in LED high-bay luminaire design?

Meadows:
1. Increased Efficacy
2. Increased number of fixtures shipped with integrated sensors
3. More fixtures shipped with wireless controls
4. Choose your performance (high efficiency / standard efficiency options)
5. Increased light from a smaller fixture

DiLouie: What are the main attributes of an LED high-bay luminaire that electrical distributors would be looking for? How do they confidently select a quality product?

Meadows: Distributors want to make sure they have the right product on their shelves, that they have the right price point, and that they’re selling a quality product that will keep a customer coming back for more products. DLC listings help confirm that fixtures will meet minimum standards and that they will receive rebates where applicable. However, DLC does not provide assurances around product quality. This is why we see distributors consistently pick a brand name manufacturer with whom they have a high degree of confidence and experience around the manufacturer standing behind their product in the event of an issue in the field. There are plenty of lighting companies that are offering longer warranties as standard to try and appease fears around product quality. Still the best warranty is one that you don’t have to use because the manufacturer has teams in place that thoroughly test and control product quality and have a vested interest in producing quality products.

DiLouie: What are the control capabilities of LED high-bay lighting? What control strategies are possible and typically implemented?

Meadows: Standalone sensors are still by far the most common method of controls. Wired controls, also called circuit level controls, are also quite common especially in the installed base. We are seeing the advent of the wireless controls in the past several years which adds another interesting option to the mix. With wireless controls, installers do not have to worry about the existing standalone or circuit level controls and effectively bypass the existing control scheme. This allows unprecedented flexibility in a retrofit application. In new construction, it means that a control scheme can be laid out and then reorganized again and again with very little costs associated with changing the layout. Lastly, with wireless controls, it’s more common that they have the option to connect to a building management system and even collect and aggregate data that could be utilized to unlock value at a facility.

DiLouie: In retail high-bay, issues such as color and sparkle come to the forefront. How competitive is LED compared to ceramic metal halide and similar sources in these applications? What does LED bring to the table that’s unique?

Meadows: LED technology can reveal colors in objects equal to or better than traditional technologies. With many different high-CRI technologies available, there are ways to get truer color and make colors appear very vibrant. GE introduced a TriGain technology that yields a very high CRI with no efficiency losses that were typically unavoidable when trading up to 90 CRI.

DiLouie: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices in general?

Meadows: People in the industry are becoming more knowledgeable on LED fixture technology. There are many more options with LED fixtures. For instance, GE has 10 different optical beam patterns on just one ABV3 fixture platform allowing several different photometric options that would not be available with traditional lighting technology.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about LED high-bay lighting, what would it be?

Meadows: Sensor-enabled high-bay LED light fixtures are the easiest way to reduce energy and transform your customers’ facilities for the future and now are at a price and performance that make it a true no-brainer to switch to LED. If you’re still selling fluorescent lamps or fixtures that don’t communicate digitally, someone will be there to earn your customers’ business with a fantastic LED intelligent solution.

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NLB Hosts Panel on Color Metrics at Annual Lighting Forum

The National Lighting Bureau recently presented a panel on color metrics at its Annual Lighting Forum, focusing on the proposed IES method TM-30 and available for viewing online.

The National Lighting Bureau recently presented a panel on color metrics at its Annual Lighting Forum, focusing on the proposed IES method TM-30 and available for viewing online.

Moderated by EdisonReport Editor and Publisher Randy Reid, the panel included IES Industry Relations Manager Mark S. Lien, LC, CLEP, CLMC, HBDP, LEED BD&C; Greg Yeutter, with lighting-manufacturer LUXTECH; and Randy Burkett, FIALD, FIES, president of Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc.

The method being proposed in TM-30 uses two metrics to describe a light source’s color rendering properties: fidelity, which resembles CRI in many respects, and saturation, considered through an all-new metric called gamut that indicates how saturated an illuminated color appears to be. Research suggests gamut may be as important or more important than color fidelity.

Lien cautioned TM-30 is not a final document: “It will be changed,” he said, noting that optimal finalization will result in an American national standard, via the IES, and, hopefully, an international standard, via the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (the International Commission on Illumination, or CIE). He warned that, because near-term change is inevitable, fully adopting the working metrics in TM-30 would be premature. He commented that the IES developed and issued TM-30 solely as an initial test process for lighting experts to evaluate and improve. Right now, the most daunting challenge associated with TM-30 is not so much finalizing the fidelity and gamut metrics as it is helping people understand them and how they interrelate.

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Acuity’s Scott Roos on What’s New in Downlighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Roos, VP Design, Downlight, Accent and Trac Products, Acuity Brands Lighting. The topic: trends in LED downlights. I’m happy to share his responses with you here.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Roos, VP Design, Downlight, Accent and Trac Products, Acuity Brands Lighting. The topic: trends in LED downlights. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the March 2018 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the downlight lighting market in terms of size, and current demand for downlights?

Roos: When characterizing the downlight market, it is helpful to segment it into Residential and Commercial applications. Residentially, downlights continue to be a preferred fixture for providing general and accent lighting throughout the home. A home that incorporates well placed recessed lighting simply looks more spectacular and drives up both the resale value and quality of living for the homeowner. And LED technology has enabled smaller scale, highly efficient fixtures which makes downlighting an even more desirable amenity.

Commercially, downlighting is seeing increased use throughout the variety of applications from hospitality and retail to corporate, municipal and healthcare interiors. Downlights have always been an important commercial lighting technique with their unique ability to provide general, accent and wall wash illumination from an inconspicuous recessed source.

The expanded capability of LED technology to pack higher lumen packages into increasingly smaller diameter fixtures while controlling aperture brightness has made them even more useful and versatile. Downlighting is clearly one of the larger luminaire categories with estimates in the $2+ billion range for all market segments.

DiLouie: In what key areas have LED downlights improved over the past three years, and what benefits do these improvements offer?

Roos: Improved LED technology and luminaire designs have enabled smaller aperture, higher lumen downlights with more beam spread options and better control of aperture brightness…all while pushing the efficacy envelope to as high as 130 delivered lumens per watt. The comparison to previous generation LED and legacy technology downlights is remarkable. Consider that 6” or 8” aperture compact fluorescent downlights delivered only 35-40 lumens per watt, with 4” CFL downlights nearer to 25 LPW. And achieving 4,000 or greater delivered mean lumens for higher ceilings required extremely bright, larger diameter 8”-12” aperture downlights. Today there are 4” LED downlights that can deliver 8,000 lumens at 130LPW while maintaining extremely low aperture brightness!

Another interesting way to look at the greater versatility that today’s LED downlights afford is recognizing that the historical 20-30+% efficacy tradeoff to achieve the more upscale look of downlights versus the more utilitarian look of 2X2 or 2X4 troffers no longer exists. Today’s higher performance LED downlights equal or exceed the efficacy and lumen output of both fluorescent and LED troffers.

Yet another area of improvement for LED downlighting over the past few years is the greater range of higher color rendering choices up to 97 CRI along with the ability to specify Warm Dimming, Tunable White and Tunable Spectrum to further enhance interior aesthetics and support improved health, well-being and productivity.

LED downlights that take advantage of the latest LED, thermal management, driver and optics technology are head and shoulders better than both earlier generation LED and legacy technology downlights and can more optimally solve for a broader range of applications.

DiLouie: What are the top 5 trends in LED downlight design?

Roos: The top 5 trends in downlighting are:

1) Smaller, quieter apertures: 3”, 2” and even 1” aperture sizes have moved from specialty to mainstream. Lower-brightness reflector options and bevel style trims and mudded-in trimless installation have all become more common place. These small aperture fixtures are also available in surface and pendant mount cylinders for use in the increasingly popular open ceiling formats. And this miniaturization is enabling new linear format downlights with the lumens spread across multiple low brightness cells, some with the capability of individualized optical control and aiming.

2) More granular optical control: It is now possible to produce a wider range of beam angles and choose from either smooth, feathered distributions for uniform illumination or tighter distributions with high center beam punch with minimal spill outside of the main beam to achieve high contrast non-uniform downlighting and accent lighting. LED recessed wall washers are available that provide unprecedented top to bottom and side to side uniformity from apertures as small as 2”.

3) Higher Lumen Outputs: 4” downlights exceeding 8,000 delivered lumens, 6” downlights to 15,000 lumens and 8” downlights up to 20,000 lumens, combined with extremely long LED service life, have transformed high ceiling downlighting in spaces like atriums, auditoriums and convention centers.

4) Warm Dimming, Tunable White & Tunable Spectrum. The ability to dynamically change the appearance of a space by replicating the warm dimming characteristic of incandescent lighting, changing the color temperature for different times of day or events or even adjusting the hue and saturation to optimally light interior finishes and art has added new dimensions to downlighting and recessed accent lighting with impressive impacts on aesthetics and the productivity and well-being of occupants.

5) Low profile housings and surface mount downlights: Plenum space, especially in multi-story buildings, is more valuable than ever and shrinking. Lower profile recessed housings are therefore finding increasing applications. 1” thin surface mount downlights are available as a practical, cost efficient downlight alternative in concrete and fire rated ceilings where recessing fixtures is not practical.

DiLouie: How would you characterize progress made in ensuring compatibility and integration with controls?

Roos: Regarding compatibility and integration with lighting controls, there have been quantum improvements over the past few years. The performance and reliability of economical phase dimmable LED downlights has improved in terms of reliability, minimum dim levels and flicker, although you still need to validate dimmer compatibility with the luminaire manufacturer. 0-10V is still the most prevalent commercial lighting protocol, and you can now choose from a variety of 0-10V drivers with linear dimming down to 10% or 1% or logarithmic dim to dark to suit the aesthetic and budget needs of any project. DMX drivers are also now more widely available for downlighting in specialized applications such as theatres and auditoriums where the general lighting is being controlled as part of the theatrical lighting system. And economical and simple to commission plug and play Ethernet cabled and wireless protocols are available to enable individual fixture control, grouping and zoning independent of their placement on the electrical circuits.

DiLouie: What are typical benefits of upgrading existing downlights with LED retrofit kits? What’s the market opportunity?

Roos: The benefits of upgrading legacy technology downlights with LED retrofit kits include extreme energy savings and lower maintenance costs with rapid ROI paybacks. And if done thoughtfully, an improved quality of light can be achieved that improves the image that the building projects for the owner and the productivity, enjoyment and wellbeing of space occupants. The downlight retrofit market opportunity is huge, as the installed base of legacy technology downlights is orders of magnitude larger than new construction projects, and conversion of the installed downlighting base to LED is still in the early stages.

DiLouie: What are the main attributes of an LED downlight that electrical distributors would be looking for? How do they confidently select a quality product?

Roos: First, work with reliable manufacturers that you know and trust have invested in the sound development and thorough testing of their products and will stand behind them in the event of a problem. Be sure to compare luminaire efficacies, as there is currently a surprisingly wide range of performance spanning 60 to 130 delivered lumens per watt. When possible, specify multi-volt fixtures so you don’t run into surprises with the wrong voltage on a job site. Make certain that the right color temperature and CRI is specified to match other fixture types being used on the project. And most important be sure to pick the most appropriate good, better or best quality downlight in terms of price, efficacy, distribution and below the ceiling appearance to suit the needs of each project. A back of house installation versus lighting a lobby or boardroom in corporate interior call for two different categories of fixtures. When in doubt, ask your local sales representative for design assistance and advice.

DiLouie: What listings are important for downlights and why are they important?

Roos: Of course, a safety listing from UL or another accredited lab is table stakes. Being Energy Star listed offers some assurance that the product meets minimum performance and design standards. Above and beyond this look for the manufacturer to offer a system compatibility certification to demonstrate that the downlight/driver/controls combination has been designed and tested to provide consistent color appearance and out-of-the-box compatibility with simple commissioning.

DiLouie: What are value-added features distributors should be selling, and for what applications or problems are they ideally suited?

Roos: There are a lot of performance and design differences between LED downlights, even within the portfolio of a single manufacturer. Installation features or restrictions, fixture height and housing size, ease of replacing the light engine to name a few. The appearance of the trim and reflector are also important considerations, including when appropriate, the use of extremely low brightness reflectors that create a “silent” ceiling effect and mudded-in trimless bevel apertures, both which can provide a higher level of aesthetics and drama by placing the emphasis on what is being illuminated while making the downlights virtually disappear from the field of view. Look for other special value added features such as an optional lumen depreciation indicator that can trigger maintenance when the light engine depreciates past 70% of its initial lumens.

Another important consideration is the completeness and consistent appearance/performance throughout a line. For example, having all aperture sizes and a wide range of lumen packages available in new construction, remodeling, retrofit or surface cylinder housings ensures that you can solve for any installation condition. The availability of downlight, wallwash & adjustables, different beam spreads and a wide range of CCTs, CRIs, warm dimming, tunable white and tunable spectrum light engines throughout the full range of housing types and sizes ensures that you can solve for any functional and aesthetic requirements.

And finally, an emerging consideration new to the lighting industry is giving the option to your customers to specify downlights, and other luminaires, with embedded data collection and communications capability. Even if they don’t need this capability today, at some point in time it is likely that they will want to utilize their lighting system as a gateway to the Internet of Things to collect data and enable cloud-based functionality and analytics such as asset management, security, space utilization, wayfinding or occupant/customer engagement. The nominal cost to add Bluetooth or Visual Light Communication(VLC) into a luminaire can future proof their investment in a new lighting system, much like having a smart phone in the early days provided a platform for the plethora of applications that rapidly emerged. It is an exciting time for downlighting and well worth the distributor’s inside and outside sales staff’s time to become familiar with the breadth/consistency and specific features available in different manufacturers’ products so they know the easiest lines to work with and the best opportunities to add value beyond just filling a hole in the ceiling with the least expensive product, both to improve their own profit margins and the quality of lighting on the discretionary projects they control.

DiLouie: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices in general?

Roos: The wide range of available downlights, most with LED integrated directly into the luminaire, the rapid pace of change and the variety of color temperatures, CRIs and dimming protocols has certainly made it difficult for distributors to keep downlights in their inventory. And the lack of standardization, features, designs and performance of different manufacturer’s products of course makes it challenging to know which manufacturers’ products to use on various projects.

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

Roos: Anyone can specify an LED downlight to dump light into a space. Not anyone can specify LED downlighting that truly optimizes the appearance and functionality of a space. With current technology, we can create nuanced and stunning aesthetic executions and positively impact productivity, health and wellbeing… all with low lifecycle costs in terms of both energy and maintenance. Having well-trained lighting specialists on your team that can select and thoughtfully apply the best LED downlighting for each application will separate you from your competition and earn you more business.

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DOE’s Jim Brodrick on Sky Glow and Blue Light

In this republication of a recent Postings, SSL Program Manager Jim Brodrick revists last year’s AMA community guidance on streetlighting and sets the record straight on sky glow and blue light.

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

About a year ago, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued community guidance on street lighting. Although the initial commotion from that has calmed somewhat, a continuing succession of news stories generated by the AMA guidance has kept the topic of LED street lighting and its potential effects on health and the environment — including the night sky — in the public’s mind. As discussion of these issues has spread, so have many misperceptions and mischaracterizations of the technical information, with the difference between what has and has not been scientifically established often blurred. So DOE has produced a variety of information resources to better clarify the facts as we currently know them.

For example, to help clarify the science underlying street lighting’s environmental effects, DOE conducted a study that examined the expected contributions to sky glow from typical U.S. conversions of high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting to LED. Among the key findings was that all of the LED product conversions show reduced sky glow relative to an HPS baseline when the results are expressed as unweighted radiant power, for both near and distant observers. When the results are scotopically weighted, some LED products reduce sky glow for near observers, while others increase it. For distant observers, the elimination of uplight that occurs in typical conversions to LED virtually eliminates sky glow from the street lighting system. And CCT was found to be an unreliable predictor of sky glow impacts.

Recently, DOE hosted two webinars on the sky glow study. Conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Bruce Kinzey and Tess Perrin, they not only covered the impact of LED street lighting on sky glow, but also delved into the modeling effort underlying the study, as well as the influence of individual variables. If you were unable to attend, the webinar files are now available for download.

In addition to the sky glow study, a new DOE-funded research project conducted by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will investigate the health impacts of outdoor lighting by providing key experimental data on the effects of roadway lighting on drivers, pedestrians, and residences that experience light trespass. Through a highly controlled experimental test plan aimed at identifying threshold effects for different CCTs, the project will provide insight into the conversion of outdoor lighting systems to SSL and will allow for science-based, informed decision-making.

DOE is also preparing an operational sky glow tool intended for use by street lighting designers and others to conduct ballpark comparisons of the relative sky glow impacts of their design decisions. And we’ve expanded our helpful online resources on the topic, which now include updated tables on selected blue-light characteristics of various outdoor lighting sources at equivalent lumen output. The tables were updated in June from earlier versions, to increase the number of LED samples on which the corresponding data ranges are based. Data for each source include a measured CCT, the calculated percentage of radiant power contained in “blue wavelengths” (as defined by an astronomical resource based on ability to affect sky glow, corresponding to wavelengths between 405 and 530 nm), and the corresponding scotopic and melanopic multipliers that are shown relative to an HPS baseline, due to that source’s predominance in the existing outdoor lighting market.

We’ve also included a link to a position statement recently issued by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) that offers additional valuable, science-based information on the human and environmental effects of LED street lighting. The IES position statement disagrees with some aspects of the policy statement on outdoor lighting that was issued last year by the AMA. AMA Policy H-135.927 “encourages minimizing and controlling blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible to reduce glare” and “encourages the use of 3000K or lower lighting for outdoor installations such as roadways.” IES Position Statement PS-09-17 points out, among other things, that CCT “is inadequate for the purpose of evaluating possible health outcomes” and that the AMA recommendations “target only one component of light exposure (spectral composition) of what are well known and established multi-variable inputs to light dosing that affect sleep disruption, including the quantity of light at the retina of the eye and the duration of exposure to that light.” The IES statement notes that increased melanopic content is “a more widely accepted input to the circadian system associated with higher risk for sleep disruption and associated health concerns,” and that “LED light sources can vary widely in their melanopic content for any given CCT.”

In addition, DOE is playing an active role on the recently formed IES Sky Glow Calculations Committee, supporting the position of Chair. The purpose of the committee is to assemble guidance and recommendations regarding methodologies for estimating sky glow from a range of anthropogenic sources of light, corresponding primarily to those falling under IES purview. Currently, no such IES guidance exists.

We continue to learn more and more about the unintended consequences of lighting the nighttime environment, but much more research is needed. So stay tuned.

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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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