Category: Legislation + Regulation

New Ballast Efficiency Rules Go Into Effect

As of July 1, ballast manufacturers can no longer make ballasts for use with 34W T12 lamps in new fixtures that do not pass energy efficiency standards created by the…

capitolhillAs of July 1, ballast manufacturers can no longer make ballasts for use with 34W T12 lamps in new fixtures that do not pass energy efficiency standards created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The same rule applied to ballasts for operation of full-wattage T12 lamps starting April 1, 2005.

Check out all of the ballast rules here.

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AGC Study: Stimulus Construction Funds Have Little Impact So Far on Companies’ Hiring

The stimulus plan appears to be having little influence on construction companies’ ability to expand payrolls to date, according to a new industry analysis of the impact of the federal…

The stimulus plan appears to be having little influence on construction companies’ ability to expand payrolls to date, according to a new industry analysis of the impact of the federal program’s construction spending released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The disappointingly slow pace of construction spending outside of the transportation sector is one of the main reasons for the relatively small impact on new hiring.

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“While the construction portion of the stimulus is having an impact, it is far from delivering its full
promise and potential,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of AGC. “With construction unemployment at almost double the national rate, it is disappointing to see so many stimulus programs getting off to such a slow start.”

Sandherr said that five months into a federal stimulus program that has approximately $135 billion dedicated for construction projects, there is little difference in hiring and purchasing patterns between companies doing stimulus-funded work and companies that aren’t.

For example, he noted that while 36% of construction companies with stimulus-funded work report plan to hire new employees, an almost identical percentage of firms without stimulus-funded work also plan to make new hires this year or next. He added that while 36% of construction firms with stimulus-funded work plan to purchase new equipment and supplies, a higher rate – 43% – of construction firms without stimulus-funded work report plans to purchase new equipment over the same time frame.

One reason the stimulus is having a limited impact on construction hiring and purchasing patterns, Sandherr said, is that outside of the transportation arena, little of the stimulus’ authorized construction dollars have resulted in actual construction work. He noted that while the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for $4.6 billion in stimulus construction funds, the agency has only obligated $715 million and paid out $84 million.
Meanwhile, the General Services Administration has only obligated $656 million and paid out $12 million of its $5.9 billion in stimulus construction funds. And only half of one percent of the $6 billion in stimulus funds available for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s state clean water and drinking water programs has been put to use at this point.

He said the slow investment rate for construction funds was significant to hiring and purchasing patterns because some of the hardest hit segments of the construction industry are outside of the transportation area.

Sandherr said the stimulus was doing a much better job at this point in helping construction companies save existing jobs. He noted that 60% of construction firms with stimulus-funded work report have saved or retained jobs because of the stimulus.

And he noted that construction firms with stimulus-funded work do plan to make larger equipment purchases than their colleagues without stimulus-funded work. Among companies planning equipment purchases, 42% of firms with stimulus work say they will spend over $500,000, while only 18% of firms without stimulus work will invest more than half a million dollars in new equipment and supplies.

“The stimulus is clearly working,” Sandherr said. “It just isn’t working fast enough for many construction workers in many communities.”

Sandherr said there was still time for the Administration to make sure the multi-year stimulus program delivers on its promise. He said the association was urging federal agencies to address critical shortages of contracting officials within key federal and state agencies overseeing stimulus construction dollars. He added that the Administration needs to fully and finally clarify reporting and Buy American requirements included in the stimulus, noting many federal and state agencies are having difficulty interpreting the new mandates. And he urged everyone involved with the stimulus to set proper expectations for what the stimulus will, and will not, be able to do for the economy.

“Unsustainably high expectations can bring down good policy and great programs,” Sandherr said. “The stimulus will keep our industry alive, but it will not turn around a trillion dollar construction industry overnight.”

The stimulus analysis was based in part of a survey almost 1,000 construction firms nationwide conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. The survey results were combined with the association’s analysis of federal and state agency stimulus activities, and a review of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Click here for the survey results and here for the association’s stimulus impact analysis.

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NRDC: American Clean Energy Leadership Act Will Save Americans Average $6/Month

According to an analysis released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans across the country will save on their monthly electricity bill under the American Clean Energy Leadership Act….

According to an analysis released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans across the country will save on their monthly electricity bill under the American Clean Energy Leadership Act. NRDC experts say most consumers will save money under the legislation’s energy-efficiency and consumer protection provisions.

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The following is a statement by Dan Lashof, director of the Climate Center at NRDC:

“There is growing support from businesses, faith groups, labor and other diverse groups that we need to produce more clean energy and reduce global warming pollution. This analysis shows that we can do both while saving consumers money on their electricity bills. This finding is consistent with the analysis of the bill released by EPA yesterday, which found that household expenditures on electricity and natural gas would be 7 percent lower in 2020 due to the legislation. This bill will create jobs in manufacturing and whole new industries, and protect public health. We need the House of Representatives to pass this bill now.”

Click here to see the NRDC analysis.

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President Obama Announces New Lighting Efficiency Rules

Yesterday, President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced aggressive actions to promote energy efficiency and save American consumers billions of dollars per year. Included were major changes…

Yesterday, President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced aggressive actions to promote energy efficiency and save American consumers billions of dollars per year.

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Included were major changes to energy conservation standards for numerous household and commercial lamps and lighting equipment. These are the same rules proposed by the Department of Energy and reported on by LightNOW here.

These new rules, which take effect in 2012, focus on general service fluorescent lamps and incandescent reflector lamps. According to Energy, these fluorescent and incandescent lamps represent approximately 38% and 7% of total lighting energy use respectively.

The final rules, as issued by the Secretary of Energy on June 26, 2009, can be viewed and downloaded from the Office Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s website here.

More to come …

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Message from Marsha Turner, IALD Exec. VP, on Texas HB2649

Excerpted from IALD Reflections, the newsletter of the IALD: Thank you, all of you, who took the time to weigh in on this issue. Your efforts, and those of our…

Excerpted from IALD Reflections, the newsletter of the IALD:

Thank you, all of you, who took the time to weigh in on this issue. Your efforts, and those of our colleagues in the entertainment lighting industry, and members of the ALA, ESTA, IES and many other organizations, have paid off. I am pleased that we were able to mobilize so quickly and in such concentrated fashion. This effort demonstrates very clearly the power of a collective voice.

Now that Senator Averitt has agreed to remove the language from the bill, we need to send heartfelt and sincere thanks to those Texas legislators who received our vociferous protests. May I impose upon each of you to craft an appropriate message and send it on behalf of yourself or your company? It will go a long way toward helping ease future relations with the Texas decision-makers when we go back to the table and continue our discussions with them.

No one thinks this is over yet; far from it. This portion of the saga has been concluded in our favor, and that’s a big victory because the situation would have been very different, and very difficult, had things gone the other way. We should not belittle or downplay the effort that it took to achieve this “stay of execution” because it took hundreds of people and significant coordination among IALD, the ALA, ESTA and other organizations to put their collective influence, and that of their members, into play. What was accomplished here has never before been attempted or accomplished by the IALD.

It is correct for us to “celebrate the moment” just as it is correct for us to be working with Senator Averitt and the other Texas legislators to participate in the work that will happen after this. Which we are; those conversations have already begun. We will of course keep the membership informed.

Congratulations to all of you for a truly significant achievement.

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Texas Regulation of Lighting Design: What’s Next

I got an email this morning explaining why Senator Averitt added the language to the bill. Apparently, residential builders and owners in the Senator’s district had complained about people representing…

I got an email this morning explaining why Senator Averitt added the language to the bill. Apparently, residential builders and owners in the Senator’s district had complained about people representing themselves as lighting designers, selling bad equipment that did not perform, and producing a loss for the builders. Apparently, the Senator had no idea that there was a legitimate profession called lighting design and that the bill would damage it.

Nonetheless, the Senator still perceived a need for regulation. He’s taking the current lighting design language out of the bill but inserting language requiring the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation to study the issue and propose regulation for the next legislative session in two years. When the next legislative session convenes in 2011, therefore, some type of legislative action may occur.

Ideally, the Texas Legislature and Department of Licensing & Regulation will work with groups like IALD throughout the process to ensure that any new regulation is rational and does not unfairly restrict the lighting design profession. But the result in the future may still be some type of licensing or qualification required for professionals providing lighting design services in the State of Texas.

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Lighting Design Profession Wins: Texas HB2649 to be Amended (updated)

Good news! It’s confirmed: The “lighting designer” language in Texas House Bill 2649 will be withdrawn and replaced with language requesting a study by the Texas Department of Licensing &…

Good news! It’s confirmed: The “lighting designer” language in Texas House Bill 2649 will be withdrawn and replaced with language requesting a study by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation of the feasibility of licensing in the industry, according to Texas State Senator Kip Averitt’s office.

IALD President Jeff Miller said the combined grassroots efforts organized by the architectural and theatrical lighting design communities paid off.

“We hope that the Texas legislature and executive branches will continue to work with us to help ensure the continued economic and creative health of our industry,” he added.

In other words, the issue may come back to haunt us in two years when the Texas legislature reconvenes. Hopefully, the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation will be open to working with groups like IALD to ensure that any new regulation is rational and does not unfairly restrict the lighting design profession.

A number of steps must be taken before the current legislative session ends on May 31, but the bottom line is lighting designers will continue to be able to practice in the State of Texas.

There is no further need to contact the Governor or involved legislators, but you may wish to write to them to thank them.

To all those who took the time to help stop this assault on the lighting design profession, the industry thanks you for a job well done!

And a special thanks to the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), which demonstrated excellent leadership over the past several days, lobbying quietly behind the scenes while keeping its members informed.

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Keep Up The Pressure on Texas HB2649 (updated)

Your voice has been heard. There have been hundreds of phone calls, letters and emails over the past 48 hours about this potentially disastrous bill. Now here’s an update for…

Your voice has been heard. There have been hundreds of phone calls, letters and emails over the past 48 hours about this potentially disastrous bill. Now here’s an update for Thursday, May 28. The latest word via discussions on LinkedIn and emails I’ve received is:

* Senator Averitt’s office has indicated that he will be removing the language that refers to lighting design and lighting designers. He was the author of this provision.

* Governor Perry’s office has indicated that he will veto the bill if it arrives on his desk with the language referring to lighting design and lighting designers.

This is good news. Your efforts are working!

BUT I just got word from IALD that Senator Averitt, the principal sponsor of the “outlaw lighting designers” amendment language, is not willing to drop the issue entirely. He is willing to entertain the idea of referring the whole problem to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for further study and consideration by the Legislature at its next regular session in January 2011.

In short, this isn’t over yet. We are still in a critical window of time. We need to keep up the pressure.

IALD is telling us today: “The work involved in removing the wording in THB2649 threatening the practice of lighting design in Texas is not complete, but the tactics must now change.”

IALD is advising us to focus our efforts on Senator Averitt:

1. Call Texas Senator Kip Averitt, who introduced the amendments to the bill specific to lighting designers, at 512.463.0122 and let him know your opinion on the bill ASAP.

2. Contact Texas Governor Perry at 512.463.1782 and ask that he veto it.

And of course, if you live in Texas, you should also contact your representative.

There have been reliable reports that the contacts with Rep. Smith’s office have gotten pretty hostile, involving profanity. Please be assertive but not aggressive with the staffers you talk to on the phone. Doing otherwise will hurt more than help.

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JoAnne Lindsley’s Letter to Texas Representative Wayne Smith

I was copied on this letter that JoAnne Lindsley, a leading lighting designer, past president of IALD and principal of Lindsley Consultants Inc., wrote to Texas Representative Wayne Smith about…

I was copied on this letter that JoAnne Lindsley, a leading lighting designer, past president of IALD and principal of Lindsley Consultants Inc., wrote to Texas Representative Wayne Smith about the new bill, which has passed both houses of the state legislature, that essentially would require licensing to do lighting design. Rep. Smith initiated the bill without the language restricting the lighting design profession. JoAnne gave me permission to publish the letter here at LightNOW. Add your voice to hers by calling Rep. Smith at 512.463.0733 or email him.

Dear Representative Smith,

I am writing to you because I understand that you initiated this bill without the restriction that excludes the profession of lighting design.

I have been a Professional Lighting Designer for three decades.
Architectural Lighting Design has been a distinct profession for more than four decades.

Time is short and I have just learned of the Texas bill HB2649/SB2414 this evening. I understand that it has passed both houses in preparation for signing by Governor Perry. I implore you to do what you can to revert to the original language of this bill that did not exclude unlicensed professionals.

Not knowing the original impetus for this bill, I cannot intelligently argue that this mandate is counter to the motivation. I can tell you that hundreds of professional lighting designers are well qualified, uniquely qualified in fact, to do the tasks that are outlined in this bill. Although many, or most of designers like me are trained in one of the professions that are named, they have chosen to concentrate in the rich and interesting field of lighting design. There is no licensing criteria for architectural lighting designers. To lose their services in the state of Texas will be a great disservice to the people of Texas and set an unfortunate precedence for legislation in other states.

I have copied Professor Fred Oberkircher of Texas Christian University, among interested others. Fred is leaving his long time post as Director of the TCU Center for Lighting Eduction to become the President of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

I have reviewed his resume at: http://www.demt.tcu.edu/oberkircher.asp,
and while he is supremely qualified in the field of lighting it appears that he will not be able to practice in his home state of Texas after September 1st, should this legislation be signed into law. You can view Professor Oberkircher’s resume through the link above.

My resume is attached for reference as exemplifying the background of an experienced but unlicensed professional. I live and practice in the New York Metropolitan area. I have a current project under construction in Arlington, TX.

Please consider this message, and resolve this legislation in favor of allowing the benefits of professional lighting design, for people and buildings of your state.

Sincerely,

JoAnne Lindsley

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IALD Urges Lighting Community to Respond to Texas Bill

IALD is hoping the Texas Senate Business & Commerce Committee will remove language restrictive to the profession as a “technical adjustment” when the bill is prepared for the Governor’s signature,…

IALD is hoping the Texas Senate Business & Commerce Committee will remove language restrictive to the profession as a “technical adjustment” when the bill is prepared for the Governor’s signature, or the eventual veto of the bill by the Governor should no changes in language be made.

Here’s what IALD says we can do:

1. IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME TO CONTACT ONE PERSON, call Texas Rep. Wayne Smith at +1 512 463 0733. Rep. Smith initiated the bill in the Texas State House of Representatives without the language restricting the lighting design profession, and/or email him and let him know your opinion on the bill before it goes into committee Friday evening.

2. Since the Senate added the Lighting Designer language after the House approved the bill, the House must review the bill once more. If you live in Texas, contact your representative or just email them all at once to make sure they know that the lighting designer language impacts too many people. Twitter to Texas Representatives: @aaronpena, @AllenFletcher, @RepHughes, @Dan_Flynn, @dangattis, @TXRepErodriguez, @gfcoleman, @jddeshotel, @SpeakerStraus, @RepHancock, @lhbcampaign, @MarcVeasey, @MikeVillarreal, @TMF116.

3. Call Texas Senator Bob Deuell, Senate sponsor of the bill, at 512.463.0102 and/or email him and let him know your opinion on the bill ASAP.

4. Call Texas Senator Kip Averitt, who introduced the amendments to the bill specific to lighting designers, at 512.463.0122 and/or email him and let him know your opinion on the bill ASAP.

5. Make sure Texas State Governor Perry knows this bill is coming to him and ask that he veto it. Phone in your opinion to 512.463.1782. Fax to 512.463.1849. Email using his contact form. Twitter to @TexGov and @GovernorPerry.

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