Category: Craig’s Lighting Articles

DLC’s LUNA QPL Identifies Environmentally Responsible Lighting

Skyglow, light trespass, glare and color remain issues in outdoor lighting design. For the first time, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) addressed them in technical requirements released December 2021, resulting in recent publication of a new Qualified Products List (QPL) as a subset of its QPL for solid-state lighting. LUNA version 1.0 identifies outdoor LED luminaires that save energy and promote responsible outdoor lighting.

Skyglow, light trespass, glare and color remain issues in outdoor lighting design. For the first time, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) addressed them in technical requirements released December 2021, resulting in recent publication of a new Qualified Products List (QPL) as a subset of its QPL for solid-state lighting.

LUNA version 1.0 identifies outdoor LED luminaires that save energy and promote responsible outdoor lighting.

My contribution to the July issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR breaks down the new technical requirements and what to expect from the LUNA QPL.

Check it out here.

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“Ban the Bulb” is Back

My contribution to the June issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes two major Department of Energy rulings related to incandescent lamps–one that revises definitions to eliminate previous exemptions, and anohter that interprets the 2007 energy law’s backstop provision, which will eliminate a majority of lamps that previously complied.

In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued two final rules regulating general-service incandescent lamps, the subject of my most recent contribution to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. The final rules adopted revised definitions of general-service lamps as well as general-service incandescent lamps while interpreting a backstop energy standard as applying to these incandescent lamps. As a result, more incandescent lamps are covered by energy standards, and incandescent and halogen A-lamps that previously complied appear likely to be eliminated.

There’s a tangled web to unweave here, starting with the 2007 energy law and its impact on consumer choice and a big technological shift in the market, conflict in interpretation between the Trump and Biden Administrations, and resulting effect on future availability of incandescent lamps.

Check it out here.

UPDATE: Since publication, I discovered additional information, which I’m happy to share:

While DOE’s enforcement on manufacture and import culminates January 1, 2023, distributors and retailers have more time, affecting market availability of non-compliant general-service lamps in 2023. For distributors and retailers, DOE stated in its enforcement policy that the department would begin with “warning notices in January 2023, progressing to reduced penalties two months later, and culminating in full enforcement in July 2023,” with possibly even more flexibility for “very small retailers” that contact DOE.

Currently, the industry should be evaluating product lines, supply chains, and inventories to ensure compliance.

Learn more about DOE’s enforcement policy at https://bit.ly/3J40Yqb.

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LLLC Shows Promise

My contribution to the May issue of tED Magazine evaluates luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC) as a control solution and potential path for designing and installing networked lighting control systems.

Originally published in tED Magazine, the official publication of the NAED. Reprinted with permission.

Luminaire-level lighting control (LLLC) combines the energy code-mandated functions of occupancy and light sensing in an LED luminaire capable of operating autonomously using an onboard lighting controller. The latest generation of products adds a layer that enables programming and collection of useful occupancy and other data.

Typically installed in office buildings and schools, LLLC is also suitable for high-bay, parking garage, gas station, and other applications, particularly luminaires that are high wattage and have long operating hours and would therefore benefit most from enhanced energy savings. The Department of Energy estimated the installed base of networked luminaires will grow from less than one percent currently to nearly a third of all lighting by 2035.

“LLLCs combine LEDs, controls, connectivity, and data for a flexible lighting product that can improve occupant comfort and space utilization,” said Martin Mercier, Strategic Marketing Manager, Connected Systems, Cooper Lighting Solutions. “In the market, there is definitely a growing interest as these systems are getting easier to install, commission, and use.”

Defining LLLC

Image courtesy of Lutron Electronics

A basic LLLC solution starts with a luminaire fitted with LEDs connected to driver(s). A lighting controller is added as an integral component of the driver(s) or as a separate device that uses a relay to send dimming signals to them. The controller also features a microprocessor for programmed (or preprogrammed for “out of the box” energy code-compliant) operation, enabling the luminaire to operate autonomously. Finally, we have the input sensor(s), which may include an occupancy or vacancy sensor, light sensor (for daylight response), or a hybrid unit combining these functionalities. All control components are pre-installed in the luminaire.

As a subset of networked lighting control, a number of solutions incorporate radios for wireless communication between the luminaire and gateways or hubs and/or a central server that constitute the lighting network. If connected to a server, along with energy data, highly granular occupancy data can be collected for purposes such as optimizing space utilization. With Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, additional capabilities, such as asset tracking and contract tracing, can be implemented. Theoretically, other sensor types, such as air temperature sensors, can be incorporated, along with additional control strategies such as shade, plug load, and HVAC control.

Categorization

A 2021 Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) study categorized LLLC as one of three types of systems: Clever, Smart, and hybrid of the two.

Clever: These systems enact high-end trim, dimming, occupancy sensing, and light sensing. The luminaires install in a plug-and-play manner and require little or no additional programming.

Smart: These systems include capabilities of Clever systems but feature the ability to communicate and analyze energy and non-energy data for various uses such as space utilization, asset tracking, and more.

Clever-hybrid: These systems include a standalone gateway and provide additional capabilities such as monitoring but do not provide the full data collection and analysis capabilities of a Smart system.

Advantages and disadvantages

LLLC offers several advantages. Overall, by making each luminaire a control point, control is highly flexible, responsive, and therefore generally more energy-saving. According to the NEEA, average lighting energy savings with LLLC exceed 60 percent.

For the electrical contractor, LLLC can simplify wiring and reduce time installing discrete lighting control devices. For the electrical distributor, it offers an energy-saving, value-added solution that can streamline product schedules for lighting projects. The designer gains flexibility; the owner gains high energy savings, potentially data, and the ability to fine-tune and reconfigure the system with relative ease in the future; and users interact with a lighting system that respects comfort and offers personalization potential.

“Wireless systems and LLLC will continue to simplify lighting control design and specification because you don’t need to have all the project details upfront,” said Craig Casey, Building Science Leader, Lutron Electronics (Lutron.com). “Contractors don’t have to be worried about wired zones or zone configuration, just power to the fixture. Because of the tremendous opportunity for enhanced lighting performance, the lighting designer has a broader palette than ever and can enjoy greater freedom to design lighting that meets the individual needs of every job.”

“For electrical distributors, LLLCs provide an integrated option between the luminaire and controls, thus reducing the overall SKUs a distributor may need to onboard and simplifying the management of the flow of goods,” said Rahul Shira, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Signify (Signify.com). “In simple terms, by integrating the occupancy and daylight sensor into the luminaire, the SKU counts drop from three to one, significant savings.”

“Because these devices are typically installed by the fixture manufacturer, driver compatibility is resolved before the fixture is shipped,” Casey added. “Distributors don’t have to worry about compatibility and can be confident they are selling the contractor a system that will result in an easy installation and setup with limited callbacks.”

The primary inhibitors are the luminaire’s higher base cost, potential higher complexity of the project if a Smart system is deployed, insufficient value or savings for a given project, and uncertain owner interest in non-energy benefits generated by collecting data. According to the 2021 NEEA study, compared to a luminaire with no controls, the cost of LLLC in 2020 was estimated at an average $0.58/sq.ft. for Clever, $1.16/sq.ft. for Smart, and $0.78/sq.ft. for hybrid systems based on a prototypical 40,000-sq.ft. office building. NEEA noted, however, a significant decrease in costs from 2019 to 2020, suggesting these systems were becoming more competitive with a falling initial cost that can be further softened by rebates when applied in a retrofit.

“In retrofit projects, LLLCs unlock the path to claim higher rebates,” said Shira. “In most geographies, these rebates range from $15 to $65 per sensor integrated into an LED luminaire and are in addition to the rebates offered for installing LED lights. When coupled with the installation savings and deep energy savings offered by LLLCs, a return on investment of less than two years or even one year becomes very achievable.”

Image courtesy of Cooper Lighting Solutions

Taking advantage

“LLLC will grow in market penetration and evolve into more advanced solutions with more benefits beyond lighting, making it easier to break building system silos with open protocol,” Mercier said, advising distributors to get ahead of the curve by becoming familiar with the technology and products through education. “This already exists, but market penetration and functionalities will grow by large factors. It also leads to standardization, so more devices can interact as part of an IoT ecosystem—think temperature sensors for room HVAC control, Microsoft Office suite tools for hot desk booking, Parking Guidance System integration, wayfinding for warehouse lifts, and so on.”

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Covers Field-Adjustable Luminaires

Another of my contributions to the April issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes the field-adjustable luminaire trend.

Another of my contributions to the April issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes the field-adjustable luminaire trend.

Sometimes, the customer isn’t exactly sure what they want. Field-adjustable (also called field-selectable) lamps and luminaires reduce guesswork for electrical contractors by allowing lighting performance to be dialed in during installation, which improves service efficiency.

The article describes the technology, its benefits, how it’s used, and what to watch for.

Check it out here.

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Publishes Controls Design Guidance

My contribution to the April issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR tackles the subject of designing lighting control systems.

My contribution to the April issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR tackles the subject of designing lighting control systems.

The article describes how the world of lighting control has changed over the years and then summarizes two documents by the Illuminating Engineering Society that provide solid design guidance for maximizing success.

For electrical contractors who want to stay ahead of the curve, this means education and training. Those that design systems would likely benefit from learning about best practices as much as manufacturer training on setup and installation. Because lighting control systems are becoming more complex, good design practices and disciplined approaches are worth understanding.

This article summarizes some of the design processes and key related considerations involved when designing with and specifying lighting controls, and then focuses on what’s needed for the most advanced systems.

Click here to check it out.

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Lighting the Sentient Building

My contribution to the March issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes cutting-edge research RPI is conducting to explore lighting systems that use artificial intelligence to act autonomously in providing optimal light distribution, light level, and color.

My contribution to the March issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR describes cutting-edge research RPI is conducting to explore lighting systems that use artificial intelligence to act autonomously in providing optimal light distribution, light level, and color.

From the article:

Imagine entering our hypothetical conference room, only this time it lacks discernible controls and is illuminated by a small number of visible luminaires. The lighting system detects where you are and what tasks you and others are performing and then smoothly adjusts output, spectrum and emission pattern to optimize comfort, productivity and circadian function. For example, a troffer mounted over the table provides a focused, high light level for task work, and then automatically transitions to more diffuse lighting for a meeting.

“Just as the vision of a self-driving car will include an embedded expert driver, we are developing the concept of an embedded lighting designer for autonomous lighting systems,” said Robert Karlicek, professor and director of the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) at RPI. “Our research testbed will explore delivering the ‘right light when and where needed,’ where optimized lighting will require no occupant intervention.”

Karlicek added that the data produced by the sensors would then be leveraged into a wide array of “sentient building” operations.

Check out this interesting research effort here.

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Field-Adjustable Lighting

Field-adjustable (aka field-selectable) lighting is staple LED light fixtures and lamps that allow field selection of preset operating parameters such as light output and correlated color temperature (CCT). For the electrical distributor, they offer a means to consolidate inventory and more flexibly satisfy local demand for lighting products.

Below is my contribution to the March 2022 issue of tED Magazine, the official publication of the NAED. Reprinted with permission.

Field-adjustable (aka field-selectable) lighting is LED light fixtures and lamps that allow field selection of preset operating parameters such as light output and correlated color temperature (CCT). For the electrical distributor, they offer a means to consolidate inventory and more flexibly satisfy local demand for lighting products.

On the luminaire side, adjustability started with lower-wattage products such as downlights, troffers, and panels and has since moved into other categories including high-bays and undercabinet luminaires. While predominant for indoor lighting, the adjustability trend has begun to enter outdoor categories such as floodlights, wall packs, and area lighting.

“Field adjustability is an emerging trend across most categories,” said Ross Barna, Chief Executive Officer of RAB Lighting, Inc. “While still not in the majority of lighting products sold today, I would not be surprised to see field-adjustable features in the majority of products within the next couple years.”

“The demand for field-adjustable luminaires continues to grow as distributors are maximizing limited warehouse space,” said Eric Jerger, VP, and GM, Indoor Lighting, Cooper Lighting Solutions. “Field-selectable luminaires offer multiple products in one, saving distributors money by stocking less inventory while still being able to meet the needs of their customers.”

How it works

The lighting product is functionally the same as a static-output luminaire or lamp but with a mechanism allowing adjustability of the light emission. For indoor lighting, this predominantly entailed ability to select light output, which has since evolved to include CCT. For outdoor and high-bay indoor lighting, it predominantly involves adjustability of light output. Other adjustability may be available, such as light distribution (e.g., a troffer with a choice of three reflectors) and ability to turn an outdoor photocell On/Off.

The most common adjustment mechanism is a set of mechanical switches or knobs integral to the driver or wired to it, which offer various output levels based on several labeled factory-preset steps. These manual controls cause the driver to draw more or less current based on the desired light output and manage the power between warm/cool LED arrays to tune color output. In the case of luminaires, they are typically set once and then installed. Some smart products can be controlled wirelessly using an app on a smartphone or using a lighting control system, allowing relatively easy, low-labor adjustment at any time to accommodate changing user needs.

Image courtesy of Cooper Lighting Solutions.

“Field-selectable products can be used anywhere,” Jerger said. “Whether it’s a residential homeowner or a schoolteacher in an education environment or a facility manager in a warehouse, field-selectable products are simple for contractors to install while providing long-lasting benefits.”

Distributor benefits

“For the electrical distributor, the main benefits are flexibility and availability,” said Andrew Banovic, Product Director Commercial Indoor Lighting, Acuity Brands Lighting. “Two of the largest investments in the distribution business are inventory and space to store it. Field-adjustable luminaires allow for drastic working-capital reductions, as well as increasing the turns on the SKUs that are being stocked. This also can eliminate a great deal of returns as a good percentage of returns to a distributor are because of lumen output or color changes that are needed.”

While the supply chain math is complex, Banovic offered a simplified evaluation. Acuity has found a combination of light output and CCT adjustment to be most popular, which allows a single adjustable-output luminaire to replace up to nine static-output models that cover most of the configurations needed for a given luminaire type. If three models can be serviced by a single model, a distributor can cut inventory in half without reducing service levels. If replacing nine models, it goes even lower. Banovic compared it to multi- and universal-voltage drivers and ballasts, which caught on quickly and became the new standard.

He offered an example demonstrating the utility of field adjustability. A local distributor stocks 200 static-output luminaires offering a mix of lumen and CCT packages. A customer orders 60 of the luminaire type, not caring about light output or CCT, as long as they match. Unfortunately, the distributor keeps half the units at 3500K and the other half at 4000K, and half at a high and half at a low light output. As a result, the distributor can’t fulfill the order on the spot. If the luminaires were field-adjustable, it could.

Another example is applicable to retrofits. If field-adjustable luminaires are available, a building with multiple space types and ceiling heights would not need a highly precise audit and specification of lumen packages. The contractor would order a large lot of adjustable lay-in luminaires instead of specific lumen packages in precise quantities that may not be in stock.

“Distributors these days are facing a very challenging environment, where supply chains are unreliable and inflationary pressure is pushing costs up across the economy,” Barna pointed out. “Being able to invest in inventory that can hit many birds with one stone is simply the best option to win in today’s market.”

With the added engineering and value, these luminaires may present a cost premium. While their core utility is fairly broad, they may not make as much sense for highly specified projects with comfortable lead times.

One question that will need to be answered in retrofit situations is whether and in what way the product qualifies for utility rebates. The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) allows field-adjustable luminaires in its Qualified Products List, which many rebate programs use to qualify LED products. BriteSwitch, a rebate fulfillment company, said it has not seen any rebate program expressly exclude field-adjustable luminaires. They added, however, that rebate programs vary in how they treat the luminaires, with recognizing only the DLC-listed wattage (maximum wattage), and others recognizing a lower wattage with some means of verification. As a result, it may be beneficial for distributors to confirm how their local programs handle it, select DLC-listed luminaires if required, and, if they’re managing the rebate, to prefile for approval. In 2021, BriteSwitch reported the average rebate for a field-adjustable troffer/panel, downlight, or retrofit kit was $33-34; $120 for a high-bay luminaire; and $91-97 for outdoor wall and pole/arm mount luminaires.

Final word

“Try them,” Banovic advised. “If you haven’t stocked any yet, add a pallet to your warehouse. See how fast it flies off the shelf and how fast you can get on and off job sites. You will never go back.”

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Lighting Predictions 2030

My contribution to the January 2022 of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR looks at BEYOND 2030, a publication by the Illuminating Engineering Society in which industry thought leaders imagine the state of lighting in 2030 and beyond, challenges our industry faces this decade, and where it should focus its energies.

My contribution to the January 2022 of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR looks at BEYOND 2030, a publication by the Illuminating Engineering Society in which industry thought leaders imagine the state of lighting in 2030 and beyond, challenges our industry faces this decade, and where it should focus its energies.

Media-driven environments, networked controls, DC power and healthy lighting are just a few topics covered, providing a palette of fascinating possibilities for the future of light. As an example of the predictions:

Mark Lien’s “Lighting Forecast by the Decades” is a snapshot piece packing many predictions. By 2030, he says, LED will have saturated the exterior lighting market. Energy standards will have been consolidated or eliminated, with only a minimum and a stretch standard offered. Government will shift from focusing on boosting energy efficiency to minimizing carbon. Renewable energy will be even more attractive. Augmented reality will enable a preview of how lighting will look and perform in a space.

By 2040, Lien adds, exterior lighting will center around a digital platform for a menu of technologies that includes light. Solar power for exterior lighting will be more efficient, while roadway lighting will adapt to self-driving vehicles. Glare will still be an issue, while lighting designed to optimize health will be widely adopted.

What do you think? Where is lighting headed during this decade?

Click here to check it out.

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National Building Stock Study Reveals Ongoing Lighting Upgrade Opportunity

Commercial buildings in the United States are trending larger and more commonly feature LED lighting and occupancy sensors. While traditional light sources have declined in use, they remain prevalent in the nation’s estimated 5.9 million buildings, spelling a significant continuing upgrade opportunity, particularly in older buildings that have not been upgraded.

Below is my contribution to the December 2021 issue of tED Magazine, offering another take on the new Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey recently published by the Department of Energy. Reprinted with permission.

Commercial buildings in the United States are trending larger and more commonly feature LED lighting and occupancy sensors. While traditional light sources have declined in use, they remain prevalent in the nation’s estimated 5.9 million buildings, spelling a significant continuing upgrade opportunity, particularly in older buildings that have not been upgraded.

These are just some of the conclusions drawn from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which has periodically profiled the national building stock since 1979 using a survey-based approach. Published in September 2021, the 2018 report provides estimates for commercial building characteristics such as region, activity, size, age, and equipment. It follows the 2012 report, which provides an historical benchmark.

In this article, we will dig into the data to produce salient findings in two key areas: commercial building characters and lighting and controls adoption.

Buildings

Between 2012 and 2018, the population of commercial buildings grew 6 percent to 5.9 million buildings, and total floorspace grew 11 percent to 97 billion sq.ft. During that time, 357,000 buildings and 7.5 billion sq.ft. were added to the national building stock. Since 1979, the amount of commercial floorspace has nearly doubled.

Other key findings:

  • By floorspace, the largest markets were office, mercantile, warehouse and storage, and education. The most common commercial building types were warehouse and storage, office, and service, representing 48 percent of buildings and 42 percent of floorspace. While common, service buildings constituted only 7 percent of floorspace.
  • The population of education, lodging, warehouse and storage, public assembly, worship, and service buildings increased. Other markets, such as office, healthcare, food sales/service, and mercantile decreased.
  • The largest population of commercial buildings and floorspace was in the South Census Region. The second was the Midwest, followed by the West (populated by buildings of the largest median size), and Northeast (smallest population of buildings, oldest in median years).
  • Newer commercial buildings tended to be larger than older buildings. In 2018, the median building size was 5,400 sq.ft., up from 5,000 sq.ft. in 2012. Seventy percent of buildings were 10,000 sq.ft. or smaller in 2018, down from about 75 percent in 2012.
  • The largest buildings were a small fraction of the building population but a third of floorspace. Buildings larger than 100,000 sq.ft. constituted only 2.4 percent of the building population but 34 percent of floorspace. In contrast, the smallest buildings—1,001 to 5,000 sq.ft.—represented nearly half of buildings but only 8 percent of floorspace.
  • The median year of construction for all U.S. commercial buildings was 1982, producing a median age of 36 years. Seventy-five percent of buildings were built on or before 2000, representing 71 percent of floorspace. Forty-six percent of all buildings, accounting for 41 percent of all floorspace, were built before 1980.
  • A total of 86 million people worked in U.S. commercial buildings. This translated to a median floorspace of 1,175 sq.ft. per worker, a 14 percent increase in space over 2012.

Lighting and controls

Compared to the 2012 survey, the 2018 CBECS shows a remarkable technological shift toward LED adoption at the expense of traditional lighting. It also reveals growing adoption of automatic lighting controls, notably occupancy sensors. Nonetheless, the continuing prevalence of traditional and uncontrolled lighting produces a snapshot of a continuing market opportunity to upgrade older lighting systems.

Key findings:

  • Adoption of LED lighting grew significantly between 2012 and 2018 in commercial buildings to become the second-most common light source. In 2018, LED lighting was used in 44 percent of commercial buildings and 64 percent of floorspace, up from 9 percent of buildings and 25 percent of floorspace in 2012. By 2018, LED was installed in 2.6 million buildings, more than five times more buildings than in 2012, and covered 62 billion sq.ft., more than two and a half times the floorspace. Looking at five major building types, adoption was highest in healthcare, mercantile, and office, as shown in Table 1.
  • Standard fluorescent remained dominant but was in decline. In 2018, standard fluorescent lighting was used in 68 percent of commercial buildings and 76 percent of total floorspace, a decline from 84 percent of buildings and 92 percent of floorspace in 2012.
  • Other traditional sources showed sharp declines in use. From 2012 to 2018, incandescent declined from 33 to 19 percent of buildings, compact fluorescent from 41 to 19 percent, halogen from 16 to 9 percent, and high-intensity discharge (HID) from 9 to 4 percent. In terms of floorspace, from 2012 to 2018, incandescent declined from 44 to 22 percent, compact fluorescent from 62 to 35 percent, halogen from 32 to 15 percent, and HID from 27 to 12 percent.

Table 1. Lighting equipment adoption in 2018 by major building type, expressed as a percentage of floorspace in that vertical market.

Warehouse
and
storage
Office Mercantile Education All health care
Incandescent 10% 21% 35% 17% 33%
Standard fluorescent 66% 79% 83% 83% 84%
Compact fluorescent 17% 44% 52% 31% 59%
High-intensity discharge (HID) 11% 10% 9% 14% 21%
Halogen 7% 13% 35% 12% 27%
LED 47% 74% 75% 63% 77%
  • Occupancy sensor adoption significantly increased. In 2018, occupancy sensors were installed in more than 44 billion sq.ft. in more than 1 million buildings, 26 percent more buildings than in 2012 and 24 percent more floorspace. In 2018, occupancy sensors controlled lighting in 17 percent of buildings but 46 percent of total floorspace, up from and 15 percent of buildings and 41 percent of floorspace in 2012.
  • Adoption of other lighting control equipment was a mixed bag. Daylight harvesting increased from 7 to 7.5 percent of floorspace, increasing from 6.1 to 7.2 billion sq.ft. in 138,000 buildings, but remained flat at about 7 percent of floorspace. Building automation systems for lighting increased from 14 to 17 percent of floorspace, increasing from 12 to 16.7 billion sq.ft. in 317,000 buildings. Light scheduling remained flat at about 35 percent of floorspace. Multilevel lighting and dimming declined from 17 to 15 percent of floorspace, which is somewhat surprising due to the inherent controllability of LED lighting and its utility. Demand-responsive lighting significantly declined from 5 to 2 percent of floorspace. Look at the major building types in Table 2, however, adoption is nonetheless substantial for many of these equipment types in terms of controlled floorspace.
  • Plug load control remained relatively rare. In 2018, for the first time CBECS included plug load control, which showed adoption in less than 1 percent of buildings and around 2 percent of floorspace. This is expected to increase due to this strategy being included in the latest generation of commercial building energy codes.

Table 2. Lighting controls adoption in 2018 by major building type, expressed as a percentage of floorspace in that vertical market.

Warehouse
and
storage
Office Mercantile Education Health care
Light scheduling 16% 46% 65% 35% 44%
Occupancy sensors 40% 62% 49% 57% 70%
Multi-level lighting or dimming 4% 21% 16% 15% 29%
Daylight harvesting 2% 15% 13% 6% 14%
Building automation system (BAS) for lighting 5% 22% 40% 24% 22%

While these adoption gains are impressive from an energy efficiency standpoint, inverting these numbers reveals a strong ongoing lighting upgrade opportunity, particularly in the lighting controls space.

Separately, CBECS estimated buildings and square footage that received a lighting upgrade as a renovation since 2000, around the birth of the LED revolution. Looking at buildings built since 2012, around when LED began achieving mass adoption in general lighting, 82 percent of buildings and 67 percent of floorspace have not received a lighting upgrade since 2000.

This number seems odd due to the significant adoption of LED, suggesting at least some form of upgrade has taken place. At a minimum, we can look to the continuing prevalence of traditional lighting, notably standard fluorescent still in the number one spot. If every standard fluorescent lamp were suitable for upgrade, this alone would represent lighting covering four out of five square feet in seven out of 10 buildings.

All of this leads to a simple conclusion that a substantial portion of the building stock remains untapped for LED and controls upgrades.

Check out CBECS

The 2018 CBECS is available for free online as XLS files at the Energy Information Administration’s website, offering insights into the building market that can be useful for business planning. How many warehouse and storage buildings are in the South? What is the average office floorspace per worker? In what building types is LED adoption greatest?

CBECS offers an estimate for these and many other questions here.

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: NEC 2020 Impacts 0–10V Control Wiring

Per a change in the 2020 National Electrical Code effective January 1, 2022, 0–10V (Class 2) dimming wire insulation colors have changed to eliminate use of any reserved colors, notably gray. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) responded with an industry guideline adopting pink as a substitute.

Per a change in the 2020 National Electrical Code effective January 1, 2022, 0–10V (Class 2) dimming wire insulation colors have changed to eliminate use of any reserved colors, notably gray. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) responded with an industry guideline adopting pink as a substitute.

In this article written for the December 2021 issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, I discuss the color change and then take a quick look at the cost-effectiveness of 0–10V versus digital dimming.

Click here to check it out.

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