Category: Lighting Design

Masters of Light: Rune Nielsen on Mixing Light and Media

In “Light and Media in Architecture,” Rune Nielsen, Kollision explores the idea of a language of light, a dialogue between dynamic and interactive lighting systems and users.

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 “Light and Media in Architecture,” Rune Nielsen, Kollision explores the idea of a language of light, a dialogue between dynamic and interactive lighting systems and users.

Click here to check it out. Registration required.

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Randy Burkett Lighting Design Celebrates 30 Years of Professional Practice

Randy Burkett Lighting Design recently announced it is beginning its 30th year of professional practice.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design recently announced it is beginning its 30th year of professional practice. The company marked the occasion with the launch of a new branding initiative, including a major upgrade to its website.

Congratulations, Randy!

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Lighting for Learning

In 2016, education put-in-place construction spending reached $88.7 billion, making it the largest building market. This exciting lighting market is changing as teaching methods evolve toward greater interaction, flexibility, and technological integration. In this article, I talked to manufacturers about how school lighting is changing.

Below is my contribution to the November 2017 issue of tED Magazine, the official publication of the NAED. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Hubbell Lighting.

In 2016, education put-in-place construction spending reached $88.7 billion, making it the largest building market, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

“This is an exciting time for the K-12 lighting market,” said Trish Foster, LC, LEED-Green Associate, Director, Education Market Development, Acuity Brands. “From a renovation standpoint, this means older, dated schools are looking not only for more-efficient solutions but also solutions that can have a positive impact on the learning environment.”

The modern classroom is changing to accommodate new teaching methods and technologies. Classrooms are no longer static environments. They are incorporating a range of technologies, from mobile devices and computers to interactive whiteboards and modular furniture. They are becoming more collaborative spaces in which teachers and students interact and exchange ideas in nontraditional ways. If activities and spaces are flexible, the lighting must be flexible as well.

“Video displays, whiteboards on multiple walls, tablets for all students, Wi-Fi in every classroom are some of the things we see in new classrooms,” said Terry Clark, Founder, Finelite. “Since each of these needs a different type of light at different times in different intensities, new lighting systems are needed.”

He described the K-12 education market as “underserved.”

“More attention is given to selecting flooring than the best way to light a classroom,” Clark said. “As a result, too often, lighting has been bought on a lowest first-cost basis. When lowest first cost is the focus, it is difficult for a distributor to add value and make a profit on the project. That is about to change.”

Image courtesy of Finelite.

Lighting change
From LED technology we can gain high energy efficiency and optical control, flexibility with connected controls, ability to adjust color appearance and other capabilities. The latest energy codes encourage LED adoption while requiring a full range of control strategies. The Illuminating Engineering Society’s RP3 document recognizes evolving best practices. And building recognition standards and programs such as the Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS) promote use of these best practices.

The majority of energy codes require manual control, occupancy/vacancy sensing, and daylight-responsive controls in classrooms. The sensor must automatically turn the lights OFF within 30 minutes of the space being vacated. If the sensor automatically turns the lights ON, it must do so to 50 percent or less of lighting power (bilevel switching). One or more manual switches must be installed at the entrance allowing control of all general lighting; additional switches may be installed as needed. Daylight-responsive controls must be installed where daylight is present and respond via bilevel switching, step dimming, or continuous dimming.

A classroom lighting solution that maximizes CHPS points is energy code-compliant, features daylight and indirect/direct electric lighting, and allows teachers to control the general and separate whiteboard (if present) lighting. The general lighting is controlled in two modes: General (10-30 footcandles in the student zone) or AV (maximum 7 footcandles on the screen). The teacher may also manually override the occupancy sensor time delay during written tests. If daylight-responsive controls are used, the light sensor takes precedence over manual dimming for the upper light level limit.

“The ease of dimming LEDs is a huge advantage,” said Charles Knuffke, Wattstopper Systems VP and Evangelist, Legrand. “Additionally, there is an opportunity to move to shorter time delays when outside normal hours, such as the summer period, since there’s no reduction of product life.”

He added that controls aren’t just for new buildings anymore. “Many classrooms still have no automatic controls,” he pointed out. “These spaces should look at either wireless or simple to install controls that can be retrofitted in easily.”

Knuffke warned that while controls can add utility and energy savings, distributors should favor products that are easy to use and recommend training teachers about how the controls work.

Finelite responded to a DOE RFP to build a lighting and control system that would serve the classroom of the future. The system includes highly efficient tunable-white LED lighting, automatic controls, and a custom teacher interface promoting easy use of teacher controls. Image courtesy of Finelite.

Color control
One of the industry’s latest major product trends is tunable-white lighting, which offers a choice of correlated color temperatures (CCTs) typically from visually warm (low CCT) to visually cool (high CCT). In a classroom, this is typically achieved using a luminaire housing separately controllable warm- and cool-white LED arrays, with the desired CCT achieved via relative dimming between these two primaries.

“The ability to tune the color temperature of the light is certainly one of the most significant advances,” Foster said. “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 advancements in LED technology and easy-to-use control platforms, every classroom can now benefit from tunable-white lighting.”

She pointed to research suggesting changing CCT based on classroom activity can affect mood, behavior, and concentration. In one study, a fifth-grade classroom in Carrollton, Texas installed tunable-white lighting at the start of the 2016 school year and saw an improvement over the previous year’s scores in the annual state examination.

“The kiddos embrace it,” Foster added. “They remind the teacher to change the lighting when an activity changes. They also learn about the impact of lighting on the space.”

Clark believes efficient, dimmable, and tunable-white LED lighting will serve as an integral part of the classroom of the future. In 2014, Finelite responded to a Department of Energy (DOE) request for proposal to create a robust classroom lighting solution would deliver exceptional lighting quality for very low energy levels. The company built the luminaires, integrated controls, and mocked up a classroom for testing.

Capabilities include controls specifically designed for teachers to control CCT, dimmable sources, centralized building control, energy-code compliant control, plug-and-play installation, and a single source for pricing, shipping, and warranty. All while delivering a substantially lower life-cycle cost.

“The new system goes sufficiently far beyond what is presented in CHPS that the section will need to be substantially updated and the points assigned to better lighting increased significantly,” Clark added. “A new lighting approach is needed for every classroom, and it must be applied across the board—not reserved for only the most affluent school districts.”

Tunable-white lighting offers the ability to change CCT according to classroom activity, such as test taking, calming, and more. Image courtesy of Acuity Brands.

Selling school lighting
Foster advised distributors to think outside the traditional way of selling lighting products. “It is not about the total solution, integrating luminaires and controls,” she said. “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.”

She added distributors should expand the reach of the conversation to stakeholders who were perhaps not engaged in the past. “It’s now a full circle between facility managers, principals, teachers, and the distributor,” she said.

Knuffke sees distributors in the perfect place to sell lighting to both new and existing construction projects. “Nothing beats having a close relationship with the school facility personnel in the areas they cover, having the ability to educate on new technologies and product innovations, and understanding the local electrical and energy codes,” he said. “Keep educating yourself—distributors that do have a competitive advantage.”

Clark said classroom lighting is a hot market ripe for good selling and upselling opportunities. “Ask great questions,” he advised. “If they are asked to price a retrofit, ask why they are not taking the opportunity to upgrade to a new system. Do not assume the only issue is first purchase price. Strive to add value to the project. No other areas of school design and construction has undergone as much change as the way we should light classrooms. You will bring value to your customers by helping make them aware of this. Bringing increased value to your customers is what you need to continue to succeed in the years to come.”

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Masters of Light: Mark Sutton-Vane on Invisible Light

In “Invisible Light,” Mark Sutton-Vane of Sutton Vane Associates explores how to use concealed lighting hardware to articulate and re-interpret building architecture.

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 “Invisible Light,” Mark Sutton-Vane, Sutton Vane Associates explores how to use concealed lighting hardware to articulate and re-interpret building architecture.

Click here to check it out. Registration required.

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Outdoor Lighting 101

Outdoor stationary lighting presents a substantial market and a distinctive subset of lighting design. This article, which I wrote for the November issue of tED Magazine, describes considerations for evaluating and designing outdoor lighting systems.

Below is another article I wrote for the November issue of tED Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

Outdoor stationary lighting presents a substantial market and a distinctive subset of lighting design. While the market covers a variety of applications, the largest are building exterior and area and roadway lighting.

In a typical indoor space lighted during the day, the ceiling is relatively bright, the light is localized and has little or no impact on the natural environment, and the eye uses photopic vision. With outdoor lighting, the “ceiling” is relatively dark, unshielded lighting may be visible at great distances and impact the environment, and the eye may use scotopic vision (dark conditions) or mesopic vision (semi-dark).

Generally, the primary goals are to enable nighttime business, leisure, and enjoyment while promoting safety and security. A key decision is choosing what to light. Good outdoor lighting lights only what is needed without glare, light trespassing onto neighboring properties or negatively impacting wildlife, and uplight that can produce skyglow.

In this article, we will discuss outdoor lighting design considerations and the basic design process. It is based on the Illuminating Engineering Society’s (IES) RP-33-14, Lighting for Exterior Environments and other sources.

Visual factors
Visual factors relevant to outdoor lighting include light level, brightness, visual adaptation, and color quality.

Light level.
Measured in footcandles or lux (metric), light level is the quantity of illumination falling on a specific area. The designer’s aim is to ensure sufficient light output to provide an average or minimum light level over time, which may be defined by the maintenance interval. IES recommends a range of light levels for accent, building entry, facade, fountain, parking deck, parking lot, pedestrian stairs, roadways, outdoor pools and retailing, pedestrian path, and other applications. A second goal is to provide a uniform distribution of light. IES recommends maximum-to-minimum and average-to-minimum light level uniformity ratios.

Brightness. Luminance is the light reflected or emitted to the observer’s eye; brightness is the subjective perception of luminance. Excessive brightness is glare, which may be disabling or discomforting to vision. A bright outdoor luminaire does not equate to sufficient light level.

Visual adaptation.
The eye takes time to adjust from light to dark, including reduced visibility. Good outdoor lighting provides smooth transitions from bright to dark areas. In a large visual environment, very bright areas may result in less visibility in adjacent dim areas within view.

Color quality. At very low light levels, the eye adapts to scotopic vision, which is essentially colorblind, with an exception for very bright objects such as traffic lights. Most urban environments deliver enough ambient light to enable mesopic vision, a combination of photopic (daytime) and scotopic (nighttime) vision. For greater visibility, consider luminaires with some short wavelength (blue) output. Short-wavelength light is more likely to be judged as glaring, however, because the eye is more sensitive to this radiation at low ambient light levels, and short-wavelength light scatters more widely than other wavelengths within the eye. Outdoor luminaires should be selected with an appropriate spectral mix that provides both visibility and visual comfort.

Image courtesy of Wattstopper.

External factors
A variety of external factors influence selection of outdoor lighting, from space use to community master plans to local regulations regarding wildlife. Here, we will focus on three: energy codes, dark-sky ordinances, and American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines.

The latest generation of energy codes and standards prescribe maximum allowable power for outdoor lighting by application. These power densities are declining as more-efficient LED outdoor lighting has become viable. Codes and standards also contain detailed mandatory control requirements.

Dusk-to-dawn lighting must be turned ON/OFF using a photocell. During operation, power must automatically reduce by at least 30 percent after business operations or in response to occupancy. Façade/Landscape lighting must be operated using a combination photocell/time switch that turns it OFF between midnight or business closing (whichever is later) and 6:00AM or business opening (whichever is earlier).

Dark-sky ordinances vary but are generally designed to limit light trespass, skyglow, or both. Light trespass occurs when light spills onto neighboring properties. Skyglow occurs when uplight from nighttime lighting obscures a view of the stars. Many communities have adopted the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) developed by the IES and International Dark-Sky Association, which addresses both light trespass and skyglow in addition to energy efficiency and glare.

Both the major energy code standards and the MLO base requirements on a lighting zone (LZ) system (LZ 0-4). These zones range from no ambient light (e.g., wilderness parks and preserves) to high ambient light (e.g., high-activity commercial districts).

In 2016, the AMA issued community guidance cautioning against glare, which can affect safety, and LED lighting with a very cool correlated color temperature (CCT), which may suppress melatonin production. AMA specifically recommended 3000K sources, luminaire design that minimizes glare and light trespass, and dimming during off-peak operation. While cooler CCT sources remain more efficacious (lumens/W) than warmer CCT sources, the efficacy gap has been shrinking, increasing demand for warmer sources. The CCT recommendation received considerable pushback from the lighting industry, including IES, which issued a public statement saying the 3000K recommendation is insufficiently substantiated and that CCT itself is not an appropriate metric for predicting health outcomes.

Product selection factors
A wide variety of factors influence outdoor luminaire selection. Wattage, light output and distribution, glare control, color quality, ruggedness, certifications, aesthetics, maintenance, cost, and others come into play. Due to energy codes, controllability of LED sources, and advances in wireless connectivity, lighting controls are becoming much more important, offering extraordinary possibilities for global management and data collection.

The Backlight Uplight Glare (BUG) luminaire classification system developed by IES in TM-15-11 offers a useful tool for evaluating luminaire quality. Featured in the MLO. BUG delineates a luminaire’s light output by zones and tags these zones by distribution—backlight, which can cause light trespass; uplight, which contributes to skyglow; and glare, which is objectionable light. There are three zonal regions for backlight, for example (high, middle, and low). The MLO establishes maximum zonal lumens for each by LZ. Many luminaire manufacturers publish BUG ratings for their outdoor luminaires, while the MLO provides maximums by LZ.

Putting it together
All of the above must be matched to the application to provide the optimal customer solution. With the proliferation of the LED source, outdoor luminaires now offer much more expansive and robust capabilities, such as superior optical control, dimming, collecting data, and changing color by time of night. By understanding the basics of outdoor lighting, electrical distributors can add even greater value to projects.

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ACTLD’s Koert Vermuelen Talks Lighting and Architecture

In this video, Koert Vermeulen, principal designer and founder of ACTLD, talks about lighting and architecture, touching on subjects such as emotions and context.

In this video, Koert Vermeulen, principal designer and founder of ACTLD, talks about lighting and architecture, touching on subjects such as emotions and context.

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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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Masters of Light: Dean Skira on Outdoor Lighting

In “How to Integrate Light into Outdoor Space,” part of the UK’s LIGHTING Magazine Masters of Light webcast series, Skira Architectural Lighting’s Dean Skira explores some of his recent projects to show how layers of embedded lighting were integrated into the urban nightscape.

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 “How to Integrate Light into Outdoor Space,” Skira Architectural Lighting’s Dean Skira explores some of his recent projects to show how layers of embedded lighting were integrated into the urban nightscape.

Click here to check it out.

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Sports Lighting 101

Below is my contribution to the August issue of tED Magazine on the topic of sports lighting. Reprinted with permission. Since 2000, an average 60 percent of Americans have identified…

Below is my contribution to the August issue of tED Magazine on the topic of sports lighting. Reprinted with permission.

Since 2000, an average 60 percent of Americans have identified themselves as a sports fan, according to Gallup. In 2016, U.S. construction spending on amusement and recreation facilities (not including those built as part of educational facilities) increased nearly 10 percent to about $22 billion. In regard to lighting, new and renovated facilities are a juncture of venerable best practice, robust regulation and new technology.

In 2015, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) published an update to RP-6, Sports and Recreational Area Lighting. RP-6 states, “The goal of lighting for sports is to provide an appropriate luminous environment that contributes to the visibility of the playing target (ball), the competitors and the surrounding backgrounds.” Put another way, sports lighting should deliver optimal light levels and visual comfort for play and spectating.

Achieving this goal requires addressing quantity of illumination, or providing minimum maintained horizontal and/or vertical light levels. It also requires addressing quality of illumination, which incorporates a range of factors such as uniformity, glare, modeling and color quality. Care should be taken to minimize light trespass and skyglow in outdoor installations as dark-sky communities continue to grow across the U.S. Finally, selecting efficient luminaires, avoiding overlighting and using lighting controls can achieve good lighting while minimizing energy consumption.

Lighting the Bridgestone Arena. Photo by John Russell. Image courtesy of Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting.

Recommendations are geared by venue, sport and classification of play. Venues include both indoor and outdoor spaces—arenas, covered stadiums, athletic fields, field houses, gymnasiums and pools. Sports include aerial (e.g., baseball, basketball, football) and ground level (e.g., hockey, boxing, skating). Classification of play includes Class I (competition play with 5,000+ spectators), Class II (competition play with up to 5,000 spectators), Class III (competition play with up to 2,000 spectators) and Class IV (competition or recreational play with limited or no spectators). Some facilities are used for different sports and classifications of play, and therefore should be able to address the requirements of all uses.

Class I facilities, of course, impose the most complex requirements. Not only do these facilities have special design requirements, often broadcasting is involved. Sports organizations and/or broadcasters may impose detailed lighting requirements regulating everything from light levels to color.

Let’s look at a football field as an example. This sport is multidirectional, combining aerial and ground play. Typical lighting includes aimable floodlights mounted on crossarms fixed on poles. For nighttime play on a Class I field, IES recommends 100 footcandles (fc) of maintained horizontal illumination, measured or calculated 3 ft. above the field on a 30-ft. x 30-ft. grid. It is important the light distribute uniformly across the playing area. The Uniformity Ratio (UR), expressed as a ratio between the highest and lowest calculated or measured light level values, should be 1.7:1 or less. The Coefficient of Variation (CV), which expresses a weighted average of all light level values, should be 0.13 or less.

These recommendations become less stringent for other classifications: 50 fc, 2:1 or less UR, and 0.17 or less CV for Class II; 30 fc, 2.5:1 or less UR, and 0.21 or less CV for Class III; and 20 fc, 3:1 or less UR, and 0.25 or less CV for Class IV.

Continuing our example, luminaires are often mounted on poles typically varying in quantity as four, six or eight poles. These poles commonly install along the sides of the football field behind the bleachers to ensure clear spectator views. With larger setbacks, more luminaires and taller poles may be necessary.

Floodlights should be aimed out of the players’ line of sight to avoid direct glare. Each floodlight’s beam spread should place the highest quantity of its light output on the field without producing a “hot spot,” and with coverage overlapping the distribution of adjacent luminaires. A range of beam spreads is available, with luminaires typically designated as Beam Type 1-7 based on the NEMA sports luminaire classification system. This system is being challenged by LED luminaires, which offer the ability to precisely tailor beam spread based on the application.

Comparison of HID luminaires (right) with LED luminaires combining a base TIR optical array with advanced optical features to minimize glare and optimize light control (right). Image courtesy of Musco Lighting.

An eight-pole configuration might include four on each side, inset 30 ft. from each end (around the 0-yard line), spaced 100 ft. apart and set back 15 to 45 ft. A six-pole configuration might include three on each side, inset 30 ft., spaced 150 ft. apart and set back 45-74 ft. A four-pole configuration might include two on each side, inset 90 ft., spaced 180 ft. apart and set back over 75 ft. Major stadiums may see installation of floodlights in four lighting towers (one at each corner) or mounted on architecture such as an overhead steel truss system.

For a 160-ft.-wide standard football field, a setback of 30 ft. would typically entail a mounting height (measured from ground to the bottom of the floodlight crossarm) of 50 ft., according to IES. For a 50-ft. setback, a 60-ft. mounting height. For an 80-ft. setback, an 80-ft. mounting height.

Equipment should be selected appropriate to the application requirements. Light output, beam spread, shielding, color quality, ease of maintenance, energy efficiency, aiming, ingress protection and other factors must be evaluated based on the application. As with other applications, LED technology offers some significant advantages and is being rapidly adopted; in 2015 and 2017, the Super Bowl was played under LED lighting. Notable benefits include significant energy savings, longer life, spectral tuning, controllability (including dynamic events such as halftime shows), and optical options enabling superior glare control and a wide range of beam spreads. Another advantage is instant-ON operation, a critical consideration in resuming play after a power interruption, particularly during televised events. During the 2013 Super Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the stadium went partially dark, delaying play for about a half hour on account of the metal halide luminaires taking time to resume full brightness after power was restored. In 2016, the Superdome upgraded to a new LED system.

Another advantage of LED sports lighting is the ability to incorporate color and control to implement dynamic shows, as shown here at the U.S. Bank Stadium. Image courtesy of Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting.

Sports lighting is one of the more complex but rewarding lighting markets, imposing varying requirements based on type of play, venue and classification. As such, it pays to become educated about the basics and new product offerings so as to recommend and select appropriate solutions.

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What’s New in Retail Lighting

RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS recently published an interesting article about how retail lighting is changing in the LED era. It appears we need to go on hammering the basics–layering with light, integrating…

RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS recently published an interesting article about how retail lighting is changing in the LED era. It appears we need to go on hammering the basics–layering with light, integrating light and architecture, and so on–while talking about the extraordinary new possibilities in lighting with LED technology.

Click here to read it.

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