Category: Energy + Environment

New Energy Bill Would Require 30% Reduction Over Today’s Baseline Energy Codes

The passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES 2009) has been highly publicized for its Cap and Trade Program,…

The passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES 2009) has been highly publicized for its Cap and Trade Program, but there’s another provision that is of significant interest to the lighting community: the requirement that national building energy codes for residential and commercial buildings be created that would take precedence over state and local codes if equally or more stringent. The national code would have to achieve a 30% reduction in energy consumption compared to today’s codes. By January 1, 2014 (residential buildings) and January 1, 2015 (commercial buildings), a 50% reduction requirement would have to be reached. Then, by January 1, 2017 (residential) and January 1, 2018 (commercial), and after three years thereafter respectively through January 1, 2029 and January 1, 2030, a 5% additional energy reduction would have to be achieved per year.

capitolhill

Currently, there is no “national code” per se although the Department of Energy recognizes ASHRAE 90.1-1999 as the current national energy standard. In 2004, all states had to either put a commercial energy code in place as stringent as 90.1-1999 or justify why they could not comply. Recently, DOE recognized 90.1-2004 as the new national energy standard, with all states having to comply by 2011. Meanwhile, the Stimulus is pushing adoption and enforcement of 90.1-2007. It’s starting to get even more confusing than it usually is with so many different codes and versions. Meanwhile, if the bill passes, it will mark the first time that a national residential energy standard would be created.

Is this going to be achievable? The folks who bring you 90.1 are working towards a 30% energy reduction goal with the 2010 version of the Standard. They may or may not meet it, is what I hear (daylighting control and other elements will be part of the mix), and they haven’t even thought about the 50% goal. Like the 30% goal, the whole 50% won’t have to come from lighting, but it sounds like policymakers are being optimistic about what’s achievable, such as what LED lighting is going to be able to deliver.

Meanwhile, we keep making energy codes stricter and more complicated, limiting choice, to add to a building stock that is replaced at a rate of about 2% per year, meaning today’s most efficient building could be around for the next 50 years. They’re squeezing design out of design to save energy, while pretty much ignoring the thousands of buildings already constructed, many of them decades old, and most of them using lighting technology considered heavily obsolete by today’s standard.

3 Comments on New Energy Bill Would Require 303 Reduction Over Today’s Baseline Energy Codes

Should Lighting Quality Drive Upgrade Decisions?

Writing for the February 2009 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine, I make the case that lighting quality should be an equal partner to energy savings in an upgrade of an…

Writing for the February 2009 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine, I make the case that lighting quality should be an equal partner to energy savings in an upgrade of an existing building. In fact, doing so can can result in a larger project and more work for the contractor. The article includes references to the IES’ Guidelines for Upgrading Lighting Systems in Commercial and Institutional Spaces, differentiates redesign from retrofit, and includes a list of questions that can help determine whether a project is a good candidate for redesign.

Click here to read the article.

Comments Off on Should Lighting Quality Drive Upgrade Decisions?

DOE Publishes ASHRAE Guidance on Achieving 30% Savings Over 90.1-1999 in Small Office Buildings

The Department of Energy’s Building Codes Resource Center has published a summary of the ASHRAE guidelines for achieving 30% savings over ASHRAE 90.1-1999 in small office buildings. One of the…

officeThe Department of Energy’s Building Codes Resource Center has published a summary of the ASHRAE guidelines for achieving 30% savings over ASHRAE 90.1-1999 in small office buildings. One of the interesting features of the website is a series of layout templates.

Check it out here.

Comments Off on DOE Publishes ASHRAE Guidance on Achieving 30% Savings Over 90.1-1999 in Small Office Buildings

NEMA Promotes New Research as Evidence of Opportunity for Lighting Renovations

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has revealed the results of new market research that provides a clear picture of America’s need for information about energy and cost saving through…

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has revealed the results of new market research that provides a clear picture of America’s need for
information about energy and cost saving through modern lighting systems. The research, conducted in conjunction with Today’s Facility Manager magazine, focused on nonresidential building owners and managers.

Findings indicate that 41% of building owners plan to upgrade lighting products and systems within the next year, primarily to save money and energy (78%) and lower maintenance costs (40%).

0904-nema_chart52

According to Ron Runkles, lighting industry director for NEMA, the association is working with its members to build awareness of the value of modern lighting through its enLIGHTen America campaign.

“The results of the research showed that 82% of building owners did not know the commercial building tax deduction was extended by Congress to 2013,” Runkles said. “We’re providing a service by letting people know there is a quick payback by investing in lighting renovation. For example, 38% want a three-year return on investment. And it’s green; the 30% building energy savings is almost a bonus.”

The research also revealed that 74% of those surveyed plan to apply for utility rebates; 61% do not currently utilize lighting controls; and 27% were pursuing LEED certification. Additionally, 96% of building owners consider sustainability either “important” or “somewhat important.”

See the complete research results here at TFM.

Comments Off on NEMA Promotes New Research as Evidence of Opportunity for Lighting Renovations

Rebates & Retrofits: The Stimulus Put to Work

Lighting designer Jim Benya of Benya Lighting Design has published a great presentation on his website talking about opportunities in the retrofit and relighting market, available free here as a…

Lighting designer Jim Benya of Benya Lighting Design has published a great presentation on his website talking about opportunities in the retrofit and relighting market, available free here as a PDF file.

1 Comment on Rebates & Retrofits: The Stimulus Put to Work

Ed Begley Delivers Environmental Keynote at Lightfair

Days after his appearance on the Oprah Show, environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. gave a humorous and empowering keynote address on sustainable living at Lightfair International on May 3….

begley
Days after his appearance on the Oprah Show, environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. gave a humorous and empowering keynote address on sustainable living at Lightfair International on May 3. Attendees heard how Begley began his global climate change activism, first in the ’80s with a wind turbine and now with lighting playing a critical role in his eco-journey.

Turns out Begley was an early adopter of Philips compact fluorescent lamps in the late 1980s and also uses Solatube.

Learn more about Begley’s environmental activism here.

Comments Off on Ed Begley Delivers Environmental Keynote at Lightfair

Commercial Buildings Deduction’s Interim Lighting Rule

Most lighting professionals are aware by now that the Commercial Buildings Deduction has been extended to 2013. Here is an article I wrote for Electrical Contractor Magazine, published in the…

capitolhill

Most lighting professionals are aware by now that the Commercial Buildings Deduction has been extended to 2013.

Here is an article I wrote for Electrical Contractor Magazine, published in the March issue, that describes the Interim Lighting Rule, which in my opinion is the easiest and fastest path for an indoor lighting project to qualify for the Deduction, although it requires bilevel switching, which can be problematic for some retrofit projects.

I recently finished a revision of NEMA’s LightingTaxDeduction.org website, which hopefully will go live soon. It will provide lots of good information about the Deduction.

LightNOW’s take: The CBD may be challenging for some retrofit projects due to the bilevel switching requirement but there are plenty of solutions. For new construction, the Interim Lighting Rule is almost a no-brainer. Unlike the Permanent Rules, you don’t have to do intensive energy cost calculations and you don’t need approved software. You just have to cut power density compared to an older energy standard. About half the states now use ASHRAE 90.1-2004, which for many building types can get you much of the way there for a 24-40% reduction in lighting power density (50% for warehouses). The other requirements are 1) meet IES light levels and 2) comply with the mandatory controls requirements, which you would be doing anyway. The main change to typical practice doing ASHRAE 90.1 would be to add in bilevel switching, but this should not be expensive or difficult for a new construction project. The trick is to do the paperwork and for the engineer or contractor, as long as they don’t work for the owner, to inspect and certify the project.

Comments Off on Commercial Buildings Deduction’s Interim Lighting Rule

CLTC Study Demonstrates Major Energy Savings for Bilevel Occupancy Sensors

Earlier this month, I posted a new whitepaper at the Lighting Control Association website that talks about the findings of a new study about combining occupancy sensing and bilevel switching….

Earlier this month, I posted a new whitepaper at the Lighting Control Association website that talks about the findings of a new study about combining occupancy sensing and bilevel switching.

According to the Advanced Lighting Guidelines, occupancy sensors in private offices can produce up to 45% energy savings.

A 2002 study by ADM Associates found that bilevel switching (multilevel switching with 3-lamp luminaires, the inboard lamp switched separately from the outboard lamps) produces 22% energy savings in private offices.

At least one-half of the energy codes in the United States are based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which requires automatic shutoff of lighting when it’s not being used, such as via an occupancy sensor, while also requiring light level reduction controls such as multilevel switching or dimming in enclosed spaces such as private offices. But IECC says that if an occupancy sensor is used in an enclosed space such as a private office, light level reduction controls are not needed, suggesting an either/or choice.

What if bilevel switching was combined with occupancy sensor functionality? Would this produce higher energy savings in a private office than bilevel switching or occupancy sensing alone. And: What combination of manual initiative and automation would produce the highest energy savings while also satisfying workers?

bilevel-switch

The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) organized a study in eight private offices at the University of California and found that combining the functionality of occupancy sensing and bilevel switching in a single device (controlling two relays for two zones of lighting) saved more energy than if an auto-ON occupancy sensor was used alone. In fact, using a manual-ON occupancy sensor saved 46% more energy than an occupancy sensor alone, and an auto-ON-to-50%-light-level sensor saved even more–52%.

This kind of research shows how controls can be used to maximize energy savings in private offices without sacrificing lighting quality. It’s likely to influence future energy codes.

Click here to read the article and learn more about the study results.

Comments Off on CLTC Study Demonstrates Major Energy Savings for Bilevel Occupancy Sensors

Obama Admin Announces $3.2 Billion in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements

Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced plans to invest $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects in U.S. cities, counties, states, territories and Native…

Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced plans to invest $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects in U.S. cities, counties, states, territories and Native American tribes. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, funded by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions and improve energy efficiency nationwide.

white_house

The funding will support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements. Other activities eligible for use of grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, deployment of Combined Heat and Power and district heating and cooling systems, and others.

To ensure accountability, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced and funds leveraged. Funding is based on a formula that accounts for population and energy use.

Cities and counties will receive nearly $1.9 billion under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, and states and territories will receive nearly $770 million. States will receive and administer funds for those counties and cities that are not large enough to qualify for direct DOE funding. $55 million will flow directly to tribal governments.

Up to $455 million is planned to be made available under a separate competitive solicitation for local energy efficiency projects. That solicitation will be released at a later date.

This announcement is in ADDITION to DOE’s recent release of nearly $8 billion to support weatherization and state energy projects.

A detailed breakdown of the funding by state, county, city and tribal government is available on the DOE’s Recovery Act Web site.

Following today’s announcement at the White House, Secretary Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are visiting the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Workers at the facility are being trained for the kinds of “green jobs” that the city and county are investing in—ranging from construction and facility upgrades of green buildings to installation of energy efficient street lights to building energy audits. Secretaries Chu and Solis will highlight the city and county efforts as a model for other communities and an example of how this funding can create local jobs and save energy.

More information on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program is available on the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program’s Web site.

Comments Off on Obama Admin Announces $3.2 Billion in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search