Category: Lighting Industry

Southern California Shipping Port Backlogs Gone; East & Gulf Ports Backlogged

The backup of container ships off the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA was one the biggest sources of U.S. supply chain congestion during the COVID-19 pandemic and a contributor to inflation. Now, though, it’s over, thanks to a drastic decline in import demand nationally.

The backup of container ships off the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA was one the biggest sources of U.S. supply chain congestion during the COVID-19 pandemic and a contributor to inflation. Now, though, it’s over, thanks to a drastic decline in import demand nationally.

The number of ships waiting to unload at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach fell from a peak of 109 ships in January to just four vessels in late October, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California (see graph). The biggest impact came from fewer containers reaching U.S. seaports for container imports. Additionally, a growing share of shipments is heading to ports on the East and Gulf Coasts of the US.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together handled 686,133 loaded import containers in September, down 18% from a year earlier and the lowest level since June 2020, according to port figures. Container imports to the US in September declined by 11% from a year earlier and by 12% in August. The cost of shipping a container from China to the United States has fallen to about $2,700 compared to last year’s high of around $20,000.

Bottlenecks continue to delay cargo at other major U.S. seaports and at inland freight hubs. Ports including Savannah, Houston, New York, and New Jersey have coped with backlogs triggered by diverted cargo from SoCal ports.

With demand slowing, shipping lines have canceled between 26% to 31% of their sailings across the Pacific over the coming weeks, according to Sea-Intelligence, a Denmark-based shipping data group, signaling that carriers are preparing for a continued drop in bookings.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal, here.

Image: Wall Street Journal

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BPA Report Characterizes Non-Residential Lighting In The Pacific Northwest

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) published their Non-Residential Lighting Northwest Market Model report, this Summer. The report provides a characterization of the non-resi lighting market (commercial, industrial, & outdoor).

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) published their Non-Residential Lighting Northwest Market Model report, this Summer. The report provides a characterization of the non-resi lighting market (commercial, industrial, & outdoor).

Image: Bonneville Power Administration

In addition to the charts and graphs below, here are some interesting findings:

  • >150 million lamp/fixture sales
  • 50% of the 2021 installed regional lighting stock is LEDs
  • Total lighting power consumption has decreased 20% compared to the 2015 baseline, because of LED replacing less efficient legacy technology. The only application that showed growing lighting power consumption was indoor agriculture.
  • LED penetration rose from less than 10% of stock in 2015 to 50% of stock in 2021 — representing approximately 46 million additional LED lamps and fixtures entering the install stock.
  • The largest individual application in the model (by consumption, lamp count, etc.) is ambient linear. This application represents overhead and ambient lighting, which linear fluorescent fixtures have traditionally dominated.
  • The most dramatic trend
    over the analysis period has been the shift from 32-watt
    T8 linear fluorescent lamps toward TLEDs. TLEDs have increased from 2% of the stock in this application in 2015 to 32% of the ambient linear stock in 2021, representing a growth of nearly 17 million lamps.
  • In 2015, the outdoor sector significantly outpaced the commercial and industrial sectors in LED adoption. However, as LEDs have become more widely adopted, the penetration of LED by sector has evened out, with all sectors having an LED penetration of approximately 50% in 2021.
  • The model indicates that LED luminaires are a bright opportunity for highly persistent savings.

The BPA 2022 Non-Residential Lighting Northwest Market Model report executive summary can be downloaded here.

All images: Bonneville Power Administration

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The Traditional Office Is Rapidly Being Replaced By Co-Working Spaces

A previous LightNOW post discussed the shift of offices from downtowns to suburbs, a significant reduction in downtown office occupancy, and the conversion of office buildings to residential use. There is another significant trend in office spaces. 39% of prospective office tenants report they either already use co-working spaces or are considering using co-working space solutions for their employees.

A previous LightNOW post discussed the shift of offices from downtowns to suburbs, a significant reduction in downtown office occupancy, and the conversion of office buildings to residential use. There is another significant trend in office spaces. 39% of prospective office tenants report they either already use co-working spaces or are considering using co-working space solutions for their employees.

Image courtesy Pixabay.com

Yardi Kube, a co-working management software company, released a survey of more than 1,100 prospective office tenants. Cost savings is the main reason for leasing flexible workspaces. 47% of respondents indicated they would require no in-office attendance or at most 2 days per week for their teams.

Office tenants have rapidly shifted towards remote and hybrid work arrangements after the onset of the pandemic, sending vacancy rates to all-time high levels across the U.S. Remote work, or work from home, has dominated the workspace landscape for the past two years, but many organizations are now making a move towards bringing employees back to the office, an adjustment that must take into account changing workforce expectations. Those working remotely have enjoyed no commute times, a flexible work schedule, extended family time and a more comfortable environment, among other work-from-home benefits.

Flexible workspace solutions have been getting a lot of attention as corporate America adapts to employee requests for hybrid work. Organizations across the country are reconsidering their office space needs while trying to provide their employees with a traditional workspace that fosters collaboration and empowers productivity.

The percentage of companies planning to return to the office full-time and those planning to work fully remote is almost the same, 34% and 35%, respectively. This means that the return plans for companies differ, and each company’s needs are important when considering the ideal office solution and work dynamic. Another 12% of companies are leaning towards some of the time (1-2 days) and 19% towards most of the time (3-4 days) in office.

How do you think the growth in co-working space will impact lighting products specified? Will it have other impacts on the office lighting market? Please share your thoughts below in the comment section.

The full article about the Yardi Kube survey can be found here.

 

 

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The Growing Use Of Online Lighting Configurators

A growing number of lighting manufacturers are offering online lighting configurators to simplify selection of lighting by specifiers, facility managers, and even consumers.

A growing number of lighting manufacturers are offering online lighting configurators to simplify selection of lighting by specifiers, facility managers, and even consumers. Here are several examples:

Ace Configurator by American Lighting – This lighting configurator offers a simple step-by-step guide to walk lighting professionals and facility managers through the lighting project, asking straightforward questions such as which color temperature is preferred, and how many feet of linear fixture is needed for the application. Made to be used by beginners and seasoned lighting specifiers alike, it assures that a lighting professional and facility manager has a complete list of materials for a beautiful linear lighting installation.

Using this linear lighting configurator is simple. To start a bill of material, the user decides if they would like to custom cut their fixture to their exact specifications, or if they would like all components delivered in bulk, to be customized in the field. Once that is decided, the ACE system delivers a few more questions about the project, such as “Is the lighting being installed indoors or outdoors?” and “Will the installation environment be dry, damp, or wet environment?” Also, the lighting configurator asks if the facility would like its system to be a simple white-light lighting application, or if the project would like something more complex, such as tunable white or offering color changing.

Once a user selects the perfect linear fixture for their application, the lighting configurator goes further, inquiring how the end user would like to control their lighting, such as user-friendly electronic low voltage (ELV) dimming systems for white light applications or hardwired DMX controls for a color changing project. Once the control protocol has been chosen, the lighting configurator calculates the wattage for the project and suggests the appropriate low voltage power supply best suited for the fixture and control protocol specified. If the project at hand requires a more complex control system, such as a control system for RGBW (red, green, blue, and white) color changing tape light, the lighting configurator will help calculate how many receivers and controllers are recommended based on the number of zones, run lengths, and desired control features. From there, the lighting configurator assists in choosing a proper mounting channel and automatically calculates how many pieces of that channel are required for the project, before jumping into a selection of any additional accessories one may need to complete an installation, such as in-wall rated wire or cord covers.

While this system is currently focused on the specification of LED tape light applications, it will be used in the future for many different linear lighting applications such as LED neon fixtures, 120V tape light, seasonal lighting applications, and more.

Philips Maxos Fusion Configurator by Signify – This lighting configurator calculates bill of materials for the Maxos fusion adaptable LED trunking system, for traditional high bay applications, such as warehouses, grocery stores, and big box retail.

At its heart, it consists of the Maxos fusion rail, the backbone of the trunking infrastructure, Maxos fusion panels that can be mounted flexibly along the length of the backbone and a whole range of mounting accessories to cater to different project requirements.

This configurator has the user select trunk color, if emergency lighting is required, trunk type, cable ducts or guides, types of brackets, number of brackets & distance between them, etc.

Track Lighting Configurator by Astro Lighting – This configurator has you select between suspension or flush mounting, live connectors and live ends for the track, and add spotlight trackheads. It then summarizes all materials needed to order properly.

Image courtesy AmericanLighting.com

Image courtesy Signify / Philips

 

Image courtesy Astro Lighting

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Lighting Industry Grew High Single Digits In Q3 But Will Slow To Low Single Digit Growth

Channel Marketing Group’s Q3 Pulse of Lighting survey was completed by 200 distributors, manufacturers, reps, and lighting agents.

Channel Marketing Group’s Q3 Pulse of Lighting survey was completed by 200 distributors, manufacturers, reps, and lighting agents.

Image courtesy Channel Marketing Group

Overall, they reported that:

  • Sales performance for Q3 approximated the projections that they shared in Q2, which is high single-digit numbers. This is consistent with the sales growth that occurred in Q2.
  • The difference, however, is that pricing increases grew at a slower rate, resulting in greater organic growth.
  • Distributors reported that the large new construction market appeared to slow, whereas the small and medium new and renovation markets continued to be strong.
  • From an inventory viewpoint, a lower percentage of distributors increased inventory, with over 50% maintaining inventory size.
  • At the same time, fewer distributors reported that their backlog grew. Most reported it remained flat, indicating that supply chain issues remain. Some distributors shared that their “hold till complete” inventory has increased, inevitably requiring only a few SKUs to complete an order.
  • Distributors were asked about their through-stock sales rate. Only 33% shared that they are selling more through stock, whereas 63% stated it has remained the same. At the same time, almost 40% have either reduced their inventory or have it “under consideration.” Some of this is due to product innovation/acceptance of selectable wattage and CCT products.
  • Some manufacturers shared that project sales cycles are taking longer.
  • All audiences reported that supply chain issues persist, and end-users are open to alternatives to avoid supply chain delays.
  • Much of the design community continues to work remotely, which hinders agent/reps sales interactions.

Looking forward:

  • All audiences foresee a lighting slowdown. While there will still be growth, the growth rate slows to low single digits.
  • Most do not see price increases being implemented in Q4.
  • Both manufacturers and agents/reps report that 40-50% of lighting specifiers/design build contractors look at their future project activity over the next 6 months, either slowing or they expressed concern.
  • Growth segments appear to be commercial retrofits, education, healthcare, and lighting for infrastructure projects.

The complete report is available for a fee from Electrical Trends.

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New California Law Protects Importers Using CA Ports

On September 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB2406 into law, protecting importers from the imposition of unfair fees and trade practices. The bill limits the damages of detention and demurrage fees imposed by international ocean carriers.

On September 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB2406 into law, protecting importers from the imposition of unfair fees and trade practices. The bill limits the damages of detention and demurrage fees imposed by international ocean carriers.

Image courtesy Pixabay.com

Existing law prohibits an intermodal marine equipment provider or intermodal marine terminal operator from imposing per diem, detention, or demurrage charges on an intermodal motor carrier relative to transactions involving cargo shipped by intermodal transport under certain circumstances, including when an intermodal marine terminal decides to divert equipment without 48 hours notice. This law also prohibits an intermodal marine container provider from imposing those charges, extended dwell charges, or commencing or continuing free time, as defined, on a motor carrier, as defined, beneficial cargo owner, or other intermediary relative to transactions involving cargo shipped by intermodal transport under certain circumstances.

This bill specifies that where these provisions are addressed by future federal law or regulation, and the federal law or regulation permits states to exceed the requirements set forth in the federal law or regulation, the more stringent provision shall govern.

The full legislative text can be found here.

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Record Utility Bonus Rebate Programs For Lighting

Brightswitch is reporting that there are a record number of utility bonus incentives for commercial lighting efficiency programs. A bonus program is when rebate organizations offer increased incentives for the existing rebate measures for a set period of time.

Brightswitch is reporting that there are a record number of utility bonus incentives for commercial lighting efficiency programs.  The value of the bonus will vary depending on the utility. Sometimes, it’s an extra 10% or 20%; other times, it can more than double the original rebate. This year, a record number of bonus programs are available for commercial lighting upgrades.

Image courtesy of BriteSwitch

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, utility commercial lighting rebate programs began offering bonus rebates to incentivize more lighting upgrades to achieve their energy saving goals during a time of reduced construction and retrofit activity. The number of bonus programs has continued to grow despite the easing of the pandemic.

Bonus programs typically start to appear in the Fall as utilities struggle to meet their participation and savings targets, but this year, they appeared as early as March. This increase in bonus dollars reflects the ongoing difficulty in finding new energy efficiency projects. Most of the low-hanging fruit projects, such as T12 and metal halide, have already been upgraded. However, there are still many opportunities where facilities have more efficient technologies like T8 and T5HO but haven’t upgraded to LED yet. These customers need increased incentives to help offset the more modest payback.

Bonus programs can widely vary in how they work, but they usually fall into these four categories:

  1. Bonus on specific products
  2. Bonus on certain customer categories
  3. Across-the-line bonus
  4. Trade ally bonus

Read the full Briteswitch article here.

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Important Details About The California Fluorescent Lamp Ban

On September 18, 2022, California banned fluorescent lamps, both CFLs and linear fluorescent lamps, joining Vermont’s ban in May, and the EU’s ban in December. California went beyond Vermont’s ban on 4’ lamps, by banning linear fluorescent tubes up to 8’ long.I chased down the legislative details for you.

Earlier this week, California banned fluorescent lamps, both CFLs and linear fluorescent lamps, joining Vermont’s ban in May, and the EU’s ban in December. California went beyond Vermont’s ban on 4’ lamps, by banning linear fluorescent tubes up to 8’ long.

I chased down the legislative language and found the following effective date information for the CA ban:

  • Screw or bayonet base CFLs are prohibited on and after January 1, 2024.
  • Pin-based CFLs are prohibited on or after January 1, 2025.
  • Linear fluorescent lamps (aka fluorescent tubes) are prohibited on or after January 1, 2025.

Other interesting details of the law include:

  • The legal language prohibits “final sale, sold at final sale, or distributed in CA as a new manufactured product.”
  • The bill exempts various CFLs and linear lamps, including ones for image capture and projection, lamps used for disinfection, sunlamps for tanning, and other specialized lamps for medical purposes & scientific research.
  • The CFL ban applies to all tube diameters and all tube lengths, including, but not limited to: PL, spiral, twin tube, triple, twin, 2D, U-bend, and circular.
  • The linear fluorescent ban includes, but is not limited to:
    • single-pin, two-pin, and recessed double contact.
    • all tube diameters, including, but not limited to T5, T8, T10, and T12.
    • all tube lengths from 0.5 to 8.0 feet, inclusive.
    • all lamp shapes, including, but not limited to linear, U-bend, and circular.

The remarkably brief 2.5-page legal language can be downloaded here.

 

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Are Graphene Composite Heat Sinks & Housings Ready To Replace Aluminum?

New materials have changed the lighting industry before. The change from RGB to phosphor-converted white LEDs was enabled by InGaN blue-pump LED development. Similarly, many TIR lenses have shifted from polymers such as polycarbonate to optical silicone..Another potential materials leap for the LED industry is that Chinese factories are beginning to offer high output luminaires with graphene composite heat sinks & housings.

New materials have changed the lighting industry before. The change from RGB to phosphor-converted white LEDs was enabled by InGaN blue-pump LED development. Similarly, many TIR lenses have shifted from polymers such as polycarbonate to optical silicone. I’ve also recently written about the great performance leaps of GaN-on-GaN transistors and their ability to double luminaire output or halve driver size. .

Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is the building block of Graphite (which is used, among others things, in pencil tips), but graphene is a remarkable substance on its own – with a multitude of astonishing properties which repeatedly earn it the title “wonder material.” The 2010 Nobel prize in physics went to the two scientists who first isolated graphene in 2004.

Graphene composite heat sinks & housings can now significantly reduce weight and cost compared with typical aluminum alloys, for the same application.  The heat dissipation of graphene composites is the same as aluminum alloy but at a fraction of the cost.

Have you considered developing graphene composite heat sinks and housings? Share your findings and experience with this new approach in the comments below or send us an email – we are looking forward to learning more about this material.

Example of a graphene composite high bay luminaire.

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As Chinese Heatwave Eases, Power Restrictions On Factories Are Lifted

The southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan downgraded emergency energy supply measures last week, restoring power to some factories after weeks of rolling blackouts due to a heatwave-driven shortage.

The southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan downgraded emergency energy supply measures last week, restoring power to some factories after weeks of rolling blackouts due to a heatwave-driven shortage.

Weeks of record temperatures above 104o F and a crippling drought strained hydropower generators throughout the region. Rain has increased and temperatures moderated, reducing the energy crisis. “Reservoir water levels are gradually increasing, and the power supply capacity has improved,” the Sichuan government announced last week, adding that the power supply crisis had been “alleviated to a certain extent.”

The region is home to major auto manufacturers, including Toyota in Sichuan and Honda in Chongqing, which said they resumed operations Monday. Apple iPhone manufacturer Foxconn also restarted work at its Sichuan plant, Nikkei reported.

State broadcaster CCTV reported last week that the “general industrial and commercial power consumption in Sichuan province has been fully restored,” adding that energy-intensive industries would resume production once hydropower reservoir levels rose further.

Southern China has recorded its longest continuous period of high temperatures since records began more than 60 years ago, forcing power cuts that have hit the agricultural sector particularly hard.

Power shortages also forced malls in parts of Sichuan and Chongqing to shorten their opening hours, while landscape and subway lighting was switched off, and some households experienced rolling blackouts.

For additional details, read the full MSN article here.

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