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Construction Spending Tumbles in January

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently announced that construction spending during January 2009 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $986.2 billion, 3.3% below…

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently announced that construction spending during January 2009 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $986.2 billion, 3.3% below the revised December estimate of $1.02 trillion. The January figure is 9.1% below the January 2008 estimate of $1.085 trillion.

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $682.6 billion, 3.7% below the revised December estimate of $709 billion. Private residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $291.5 billion in January, 2.9% below the revised December estimate of $300.3 billion. Private nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $391 billion in January, 4.3% below the revised December estimate of $408.7 billion.

In January, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $303.7 billion, 2.3% below the revised December estimate of $311 billion. Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $85.5 billion, 0.6% above the revised December estimate of $85 billion.

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Extended Life Linear Fluorescent Lamps

I recently wrote an article for TED Magazine about extended-life linear 4-ft. fluorescent T8 lamps. Industry averages: * 20,000 hours at 3 hours/start on instant-start ballast (the most commonly installed…

I recently wrote an article for TED Magazine about extended-life linear 4-ft. fluorescent T8 lamps.

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Industry averages:

* 20,000 hours at 3 hours/start on instant-start ballast (the most commonly installed electronic ballast)
* 24,000 hours at 12 hours/start on instant-start ballast
* 24,000 hours at 3 hours/start on a programmed-start ballast
* 30,000 hours at 12 hours/start on a programmed-start ballast

Extended-life lamps raised the bar on fluorescent lamp life, with new-generation lamps pushing it even higher.

Depending on the manufacturer and lamp, extended-life lamps can offer service life of:

* 24,000-36,000 hours at 3 hours/start start on an instant-start ballast
* 30,000-40,000 hours at 12 hours/start on an instant-start ballast
* 24,000-40,000 hours at 3 hours/start on a programmed-start ballast
* 36,000-46,000 hours at 12 hours/start on a programmed start ballast

Some of these lamps (“premium fluorescent lamps”) are premium versions of standard lamps, combining the benefit of longer life with other high-end performance features such as additional energy savings, low mercury, RoHS compliance, and, in some cases, an extended lamp warranty. The lamps at the high end of the range of rated life may be recognizable via a suffix at the end of the lamp’s nomenclature, such as XL, XLL (Philips Extra Long Life), and SXL (GE Super X-tra Life).

There are also a number of extended-life T5 lamps available as well.

The lamps are ideal for projects where lower maintenance demands and a higher degree of sustainability are desired.

The best white LED products offer about 50,000 hours under optimal field conditions. Fluorescent will not go down without a fight.

You can read the complete article here, courtesy of TED Magazine.

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Light as Architectural Material

Furniture designer SAAZS has collaborated with Saint-Gobain Innovations to produce Planilum technology, which enables light to be incorporated as a material into stylish objects and furniture. Planilum, a complex multi-layered…

Furniture designer SAAZS has collaborated with Saint-Gobain Innovations to produce Planilum technology, which enables light to be incorporated as a material into stylish objects and furniture.

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Planilum, a complex multi-layered special glass containing a plasma gas excited through transparent conductive layers, can light up a 40-sq.m. room for 100 input watts.

The result is incredible. The first exhibition of concept pieces utilizing this technology, called “Light Prose by SAAZS,” was held in Milan with experimental pieces by Christian Biecher, Adrien Gardère and Arik Levy.

Visit SAAZS here to learn more.

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People: Bradshow Promoted at Speirs and Major, Zumtobel Lighting and WAC Welcome New Presidents

UK lighting design practice Speirs and Major Associates has announced the promotion of Keith Bradshaw to Director. Bradshaw, formerly an Associate Director, first joined the Edinburgh office in 2002. A…

UK lighting design practice Speirs and Major Associates has announced the promotion of Keith Bradshaw to Director.

Keith Bradshaw.

Keith Bradshaw.

Bradshaw, formerly an Associate Director, first joined the Edinburgh office in 2002. A graduate of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, he has a broad range of experience as a lighting designer. During his time at Speirs and Major Associates he has worked on many of the projects that have won the lighting firm its major awards, including the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi, Armani Ginza Tower Tokyo, Copenhagen Opera House. He has also worked extensively on the recently opened Armani store on 5th Avenue, New York.

The U.S. division of Zumtobel Lighting, Inc. has welcomed Tim O’Brien as its new President.

Before joining Zumtobel, O’Brien held several senior management positions within the lighting industry, including Osram Sylvania, GE and most recently Cooper Lighting. While at Cooper Lighting, he spent time as the VP of Marketing and Product Development and as Vice President and General Manager of the Architectural Products and Controls Business Unit. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Egger‘s role has shifted to a stronger exclusive focus on sales and marketing to strengthen the company’s U.S. market position.

Shelley Wang.

Shelley Wang.

WAC Lighting Co-Founder and CEO Tony Wang has appointed Shelley Wang to President.

In her new position, Wang will oversee all operations of WAC Lighting Company, including WAC Lighting North America and W2 Architectural Lighting, its architectural division specializing in specification grade commercial products. She will coordinate all sales, marketing, development and administrative activities, in conjunction with the company’s manufacturing campus in China. Previously, she served as Vice President and General Manager for the company.

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Leviton’s Bob Freshman Climbs for Charity, Asks Your Help

Leviton marketing manager Bob Freshman has been a lieutenant/firefighter/EMT for Newberg, OR for the past eight years. Starting in 2008, he began competing in the Seattle Firefighter stairclimb and is…

Leviton marketing manager Bob Freshman has been a lieutenant/firefighter/EMT for Newberg, OR for the past eight years. Starting in 2008, he began competing in the Seattle Firefighter stairclimb and is participating in the 2009 event this weekend.

Bob Freshman at the 2008 event.

Bob Freshman at the 2008 event.

The primary purpose of this event is to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and last year more than $530,000 was donated for this event.

Bob told me it’s a tough event for 1,500 firefighters from the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and other countries who participate each year.  

Wearing full firefighting gear and airpack (70 pounds), he will be climbing the 69 floors of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle.

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. It takes 69 flights of stairs and 1,311 steps to reach the highly acclaimed observation deck overlooking the city. On Sunday, March 8, firefighters will race up the stairs in full fire gear and SCBA to help raise funds and awareness for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year some 1,500 firefighters from 225 departments are expected to compete in the event, making the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb the largest single firefighting competition in the world.

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. It takes 69 flights of stairs and 1,311 steps to reach the highly acclaimed observation deck overlooking the city. On Sunday, March 8, firefighters will race up the stairs in full fire gear and SCBA to help raise funds and awareness for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year some 1,500 firefighters from 225 departments are expected to compete in the event, making the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb the largest single firefighting competition in the world.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible charitable donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Bob’s name, click here.

Here is a link to a news story done by a Seattle TV station on the 2008 event.

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ASHRAE to launch building energy labeling program

More than 2,800 people attended ASHRAE‘s 2009 Winter Conference, held Jan. 24-28, Chicago. Also taking place in conjunction with the meeting was the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, which attracted 54,000…

More than 2,800 people attended ASHRAE‘s 2009 Winter Conference, held Jan. 24-28, Chicago. Also taking place in conjunction with the meeting was the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, which attracted 54,000 registered visitors and exhibitor personnel.

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A major announcement was ASHRAE’s proposed building energy labeling program, which the Society expects to launch at the 2009 Annual Conference in Louisville, KY. Uniform metrics are vital to making buildings more energy efficient, according to Ron Jarnagin, chair of the committee overseeing the program, who updated attendees.

The ASHRAE program will include a method for rating the energy performance of buildings covered by Standard 90.1; qualification criteria for raters and assessors; provision of both Asset and Operational ratings to cover both design and operations; and a process for approving alternative methods. It is expected that the labeling requirements will be based on the ENERGY STAR requirements, and then expand beyond.

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For more information on the proposal, click here.

Costar Group also has an excellent article published online about the program, here.

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New Lighting Products in 2009

Since the launch of the blog I’ve been having to weed out comments for some of the posts where manufacturers or manufacturer sales reps are trying to promote their new…

Since the launch of the blog I’ve been having to weed out comments for some of the posts where manufacturers or manufacturer sales reps are trying to promote their new products.

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I’m not against people doing this, not at all. It’s just that those posts were not the right place for promotional messages.

To provide a forum, I am producing this post hoping it attracts the interest of manufacturers and specifiers, users, installers, etc., where manufacturers can talk about what’s new at their companies.

I’m not editing these comments beyond the usual rules, so you’re likely to see all sorts of products. Needless to say, LightNOW makes no endorsement, accepts no liability, etc.

So: What’s new?

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NCQLP Recognizes Lighting Controls Handbook

I hope you’ll excuse some blatant self promotion, but I received some good news about one of my books, The Lighting Controls Handbook. The book has been selected by NCQLP…

I hope you’ll excuse some blatant self promotion, but I received some good news about one of my books, The Lighting Controls Handbook. The book has been selected by NCQLP as a primary reference for its Lighting Certified (LC) certification exam.

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Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

“Intended for energy managers, electrical engineers, building managers, lighting designers, consultants, and other electrical professionals, this book provides a practical description of major lighting controls types and how to apply them. It’s a comprehensive step-by-step educational tour of lighting automation technology and its practical design and application, with useful discussion about the purpose and benefits of lighting controls, emphasizing the achieving of relevant energy savings, as well as support of occupant visual needs and preferences. The book shows readers how to take advantage of the many benefits of today’s sophisticated controls, including expanded energy saving opportunities, and increased flexibility, reliability and interoperability.”

You can get it from Amazon here.

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New Survey Suggests Typical Lighting Control Energy Savings in Office Buildings

The Lighting Controls Association authorized ZING Communications, Inc. to conduct a survey of a group of nearly 900 lighting designers, more than 730 electrical engineers and more than 530 lighting/energy…

The Lighting Controls Association authorized ZING Communications, Inc. to conduct a survey of a group of nearly 900 lighting designers, more than 730 electrical engineers and more than 530 lighting/energy consultants subscribing to the LightNOW lighting industry and lightingCONTROL lighting control e-newsletters. The survey, conducted online based on three email invitations distributed in December 2008 and February 2009, produced a 6% response. Of this response, 95 respondents qualified to complete the survey, an overall 4.4% response.

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The survey covers advanced lighting controls in the office building new construction and existing buildings retrofit markets, asking respondents to indicate how often they specify certain strategies, how they perform, whether energy savings are verified, and if so, how much energy they save on average.

Note that this is not a universe study. The results should not be attributed to the construction industry overall. The respondents, by virtue of their interest in lighting controls, subscription to lightingCONTROL, and their interest in and ability to complete a very detailed survey about lighting controls, suggests that they are in the high end of the lighting controls market. This introduces a bias with some of the results. For example, their satisfaction with controls may be higher than other construction professionals because they may design control systems better than their competitors. The data point that is most transferable across the market is average energy savings realized for certain control strategies.

How often are advanced controls specified and installed?

The subscribers divided themselves into two groups—those who focus on new construction, and those who focus on retrofits. They were asked to report the percentage of new construction or retrofit office building projects over the past two years for which they specified certain control strategies. They were then asked the same question, but concerning projects in which the controls were actually installed, not just specified. All resulting numbers are rough estimates (+5%), as respondents were asked to express their answers as a range (1-10%, 11-20%, etc.), which were defaulted to the middle as an assumption (5%, 15%, etc.). The numbers suggest rates of adoption for new construction and retrofit office building projects and substitution rates.

The results suggest that for new construction projects, occupancy sensors and bilevel switching are the most popular lighting control strategies. It is encouraging to see that the most progressive controls specifiers are specifying personal dimming control for one out of five projects, and the substitution rate, while higher than the other strategies, is still reasonable. The data appears to confirm that daylight harvesting is becoming more popular. However, there was one surprise: Occupancy sensors and scheduling controls would be expected to be installed in more projects.

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How often are advanced controls specified and installed into existing buildings?

The results suggest that for office building lighting retrofit projects, occupancy sensors and bilevel switching are the most popular lighting control strategies. The level of adoption of bilevel switching in existing buildings is surprising given the added cost and difficulties to the project. Bilevel switching is required by the Commercial Buildings Deduction, which may be more influential in office building retrofit projects over the past two years than we had supposed.

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Do specifiers regarding lighting control strategies as relatively problem-free?

Subscribers were asked to rate various lighting control strategies on a 1-5 scale based on how problematic the installed controls were during operation. A 1 indicated the installation was very problematic, a 3 somewhat problematic, and a 5 indicated that the controls are problem-free. No control types were identified as particularly problematic. These results are were expected.

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Why do specifiers specify advanced control strategies in their office projects?

Subscribers were asked to rate various reasons to specify advanced control strategies on a 1-5 scale based on their significance. A 1 indicated the possible reason is very significant, a 3 somewhat significant, and a 5 very significant. Energy codes and energy cost savings are identified as very highly significant as drivers to specify, which is not surprising. One interesting result is the importance of LEED and sustainability, identified as very significant (>4.0 rating), almost as significant as energy codes and energy cost savings.

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How often is the energy savings performance of office lighting control projects verified using monitoring or some other method?

Respondents were asked to identify the percentage of their office projects that include automatic lighting controls and in which energy savings were verified using monitoring or some other method. Nearly one-third of respondents said this occurs on their projects—an estimated 22% of projects, based on a weighted average of the responses with a +5% margin of error. These subscribers formed a subgroup to which another question was asked, which was to identify average lighting energy savings resulting from popular automatic lighting control strategies.

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How much lighting energy savings do popular automatic lighting control strategies produce?

Respondents were asked to identify average lighting energy savings resulting from installation of popular automatic lighting control strategies, as measured in their verification projects. All resulting numbers are rough estimates (+5%), as respondents were asked to express their answers as a range (1-10%, 11-20%, etc.), which were defaulted to the middle as an assumption (5%, 15%, etc.). The numbers suggest typical energy savings for popular lighting controls. Personal dimming control was eliminated due to insufficient data sample that was producing a suspicious result (25% energy savings, much higher than previous research).

The results for the remaining control types contradict conventional wisdom in the case of occupancy sensors, which were expected to be higher (around 35-45%), and scheduling controls, which were expected to be lower (around 5-10%).

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Do verified energy savings meet or exceed specifier expectations?

Respondents were asked to rate how well various control strategies installed in their office projects over the past two years met their energy savings expectations on a 1-5 scale. A 1 indicates it did not meet expectation, a 3 that it met expectations, and a 5 that it exceeded expectations. Occupancy sensor, scheduling and daylighting control strategies were ranked very highly by respondents. Personal dimming was eliminated due to insufficient response.

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Neo by Se’lux

Neo by Se’lux, designed by Jan Kleiheus and a winner of the Good Design Award from the Athenaeum Museum in Chicago, is a system of luminaires available in 3- and…

Neo by Se’lux, designed by Jan Kleiheus and a winner of the Good Design Award from the Athenaeum Museum in Chicago, is a system of luminaires available in 3- and 4-ft. nominal lengths in surface- and pendant-mounted configurations, creating numerous design possibilities with an attractive aesthetic.

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It’s one of the most interesting architectural lighting products I’ve seen so far this year.

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