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Luminaire manufacturers offer new integrated classroom lighting solutions

In many schools, lighting eats up 30-40% of utility costs. As energy codes become more restrictive, can lighting satisfy the demands of the modern classroom, with horizontal and vertical workplanes,…

In many schools, lighting eats up 30-40% of utility costs. As energy codes become more restrictive, can lighting satisfy the demands of the modern classroom, with horizontal and vertical workplanes, computers and A/V equipment? To test one approach, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) engaged studies of a new Integrated Classroom Lighting System (ICLS) developed by manufacturer Finelite, which I wrote about in a whitepaper for the Lighting Controls Association, available here.

Litecontrol's CS/av luminaire in AV mode.

Litecontrol's CS/av luminaire in AV mode.

ICLS includes two rows of direct/indirect linear fluorescent pendants, mounted parallel to the windows and spaced about 15 ft. apart, with a wallwasher illuminating the main teaching board. Each luminaire includes three high-performance (3100-lumen) T8 lamps: two outboard lamps producing uplight and downlight, and a separately ballasted inboard lamp producing downlight. Both the inboard lamp and outboard lamps cannot be on at the same time, resulting in immediate energy savings. An occupancy sensor provides automatic shutoff when the classroom is empty, and an optional photosensor can be used to dim the lights when daylight boosts light levels above a target threshold. As a result, the NYSERDA demonstration project revealed ICLS reducing lighting power density to an average 0.73W/sq.ft., about one-half of the maximum limit posed by the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 energy standard. Teacher switches mounted near the main teaching board allow the teacher to switch from General Mode (downlight off, uplight/downlight on) to A/V (and reading) Mode (downlight on, uplight/downlight off). A dimming option (using a dimmable ballast) allows the teacher to turn on and dim the downlight component.

Other manufacturers are developing their own solutions based on the ICLS template developed by the California researchers, such as Peerless and Litecontrol. Litecontrol’s new Control Solution/av, for example, provides flexibility needed in today’s modern classroom, which often uses whiteboards, smart boards, computers and LCD projectors. The CS/av is prewired for easy teacher control in two modes using a simple switch—General, for general room lighting, and AV, for AV presentations. It is also integrated with dual-technology occupancy sensors and is available with daylighting control.

It’s not uncommon these days to see luminaire manufacturers beginning to integrate lighting controls into their products, whether it’s a new Peerless Lighting solution integrating Synergy Lighting Controls’ SIMPLY5 control system, Litecontrol luminaires with various control options, or Zumtobel’s ZX5 luminaire with Lutron’s Ecosystem.

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Survey: One in Four Boomers Plan Move

One in four baby boom generation households (26%) expects to move from their current home in the future, with the majority looking for a single-level home that is more comfortable…

One in four baby boom generation households (26%) expects to move from their current home in the future, with the majority looking for a single-level home that is more comfortable or convenient, according to a new survey prepared for AARP.

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Echoing past surveys, most boomers (79%) say they would like to stay in their current home for as long as possible. Some–less than 10%–said they would like to stay in their current home but don’t think they will be able to do so.

Many of those who expect to move said they will be looking for a better house, a better climate or a home that is closer to family and friends. More than half of those boomers (age 45-64) planning to move expect to look for a home that’s all on one level (59%). About half said they will look for a newer home (50%) or a smaller home (49%).

The poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), was released to coincide with the announcement of the 2008 Livable Communities Awards from AARP and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) honoring innovative thinking in the field of home and community design.

Older boomers are significantly more likely than younger boomers to think that they will move into a single level home (68% vs. 54% of those planning to move), but age is not the only factor that affects expectations. Boomer men are more likely than women to believe they will move into a newer home (61% vs. 42%) or move into a home in a warmer or better climate (41% vs. 25%) Boomer women are more likely than men to think they will move into a smaller home (54% v. 41%).

“While boomers will reflect the patterns of earlier generations and mostly age in place,” said Elinor Ginzler, Senior Vice President of AARP, “the sheer number of boomers will increase demand for a whole variety of home and community options. The 2008 Livable Communities Award winners offer some great examples of appealing, user-friendly design.”

The number of persons age 65 and older is expected grow to 70 million by 2030.

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Stimulus Package Encourages States to Use Standard 90.1-2007

The stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, focuses on economic stimulus through both tax credits and public-sector spending, with a heavy focus on infrastructure and energy. Here’s an…

The stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, focuses on economic stimulus through both tax credits and public-sector spending, with a heavy focus on infrastructure and energy. Here’s an interesting development I had missed at first glance through it:

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The Department of Energy is offering $16.8 billion to the states for a variety of measures related to production of renewable energy, renewable energy and conservation research, carbon capture and sequestration research, grants for installation of items such as fuel cells and geothermal heat pumps, and other programs.

For a state to qualify to get the money, though, governors are required to work toward implementation of a commercial building energy code at least as stringent as ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 and to develop a plan for achieving 90% compliance with the code, including provisions for training and enforcement programs. As posted on this blog several weeks ago, DOE recently determined that 90.1-2004 is the new national energy standard starting at the end of 2010. The governor similarly has to implement and enforce a residential energy code at least as stringent as IECC 2009.

It’s an interesting development because 1) a majority of states currently use IECC as a commercial energy code, but IECC 2009 recognizes 90.1-2007 as an alternative compliance standard, and 2) DOE just determined that the 2004 version of 90.1 is the new national energy standard starting at the end of 2010, but is now encouraging states to adopt 2007 before DOE has finished its determination on it.

Here’s an article I wrote for the Lighting Controls Association describing the major lighting changes in ASHRAE 90.1-2007.

Here’s the text from the law:

For an additional amount for `Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’, $14,398,000,000, for necessary expenses, to remain available until September 30, 2010: Provided, That $4,200,000,000 shall be available for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants for implementation of programs authorized under subtitle E of title V of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17151 et seq.), of which $2,100,000,000 is available through the formula in subtitle E: Provided further, That the remaining $2,100,000,000 shall be awarded on a competitive basis only to competitive grant applicants from States in which the Governor certifies to the Secretary of Energy that the applicable State regulatory authority will implement the integrated resource planning and rate design modifications standards required to be considered under paragraphs (16) and (17) of section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2621(d)(16) and (17)); and the Governor will take all actions within his or her authority to ensure that the State, or the applicable units of local government that have authority to adopt building codes, will implement–

(A) building energy codes for residential buildings that the Secretary determines are likely to meet or exceed the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code;

(B) building energy codes for commercial buildings that the Secretary determines are likely to meet or exceed the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007; and

(C) a plan for implementing and enforcing the building energy codes described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) that is likely to ensure that at least 90 percent of the new and renovated residential and commercial building space will meet the standards within 8 years after the date of enactment of this Act …

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What’s New for Lighting in IECC 2009?

The Lighting Controls Association has published an article I wrote on the topic of the major lighting changes in the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) related…

The Lighting Controls Association has published an article I wrote on the topic of the major lighting changes in the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) related to commercial buildings.

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One of the most controversial changes isn’t directly related to lighting, but it could have a significant impact on lighting design. Previous versions of IECC allowed various construction disciplines—lighting, mechanical, envelope—to be able to comply with either the applicable version of IECC or designated version of ASHRAE 90.1. IECC 2009 changes that, forcing all disciplines to comply with one code. Because IECC does not include the Space by Space Method contained in ASHRAE 90.1, this could affect design flexibility.

Other significant provisions include:

IECC 2009 now addresses daylighting control, albeit gently, as only separate control zoning is required (via separate circuiting) and no specific method of control is mandated. Manual switching, dimming and automatic controls can be used. IECC 2009 contains additional retail power allowances that are significantly lower than 90.1-2007. And the Code addresses exterior lighting power allowances using a system of four Lighting Zones.

Check out descriptions of these changes along with others here.

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Greener Gadgets Design Competition: What’s Your Favorite Gadget?

Core77 has partnered with Greener Gadgets again to produce a design competition aimed at generating outstanding design innovations for greener electronics. They published the top 50 for online voting, and…

Core77 has partnered with Greener Gadgets again to produce a design competition aimed at generating outstanding design innovations for greener electronics. They published the top 50 for online voting, and then the Top 10 will be judged live Friday, February 27, at the Greener Gadgets Conference in New York City.

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Click here to see the top 50 green gadgets.

There are several lighting products included in the competition, including Venetian blinds that collect and store solar energy, a flexible solar panel that folds up into a flashlight, a highly aesthetic new twist on the CFL, and a smart switch.

My favorite lighting gadget is Lightimus, a decorative luminaire shaped like an hourglass. One side contains a solar panel while the other contains LEDs. During the day, the panels soak up the sun, storing enough energy to light the LEDs for up to eight hours. At night, the user rotates the luminaire so the LED side is up, triggering a photoresistor (on the solar panel side) and turning the LEDs on for achieve nighttime illumination. The LED light fades gradually, passing time like an hourglass.

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The most interesting product to me overall, however, is so elegant and useful you’ll smack yourself in the head wondering why somebody hasn’t thought of it before. It’s called the Sun Station, a line of public furniture made of concrete, teak wood and stainless steel and with a solar panel attached three meters above the ground to collect electric power so that the furniture’s users can charge and use electronics using renewable energy.

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Stimulus Watch

Two interesting sites to check out related to the stimulus bill signed into law by President Obama yesterday. First is Reed Construction Data. Click on the banner at the top…

Two interesting sites to check out related to the stimulus bill signed into law by President Obama yesterday.

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First is Reed Construction Data. Click on the banner at the top promising access to more than 18,000 Federal stimulus projects. After a quick registration you can download by region of the country (Northeast, etc.). The list is sparse on detail.

The second is a site called Stimulus Watch, based on the U.S. Conference of Mayors report of “shovel-ready” projects in cities around the country. These are not actual stimulus projects, but shovel ready projects mayors would like to see funded. The site was set up to invite visitors to vote for projects they believe should be funded. A quick search for “lighting” yielded four pages of projects. You can visit to see what projects are at least on your city’s wish list, and vote for lighting.

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Construction Starts Drop 23% in January

Jim Haughey, chief economist for Reed Construction Data, writes about the January 2009 value of construction starts, excluding residential, at the Reed website here. Overall, the value of construction starts…

Jim Haughey, chief economist for Reed Construction Data, writes about the January 2009 value of construction starts, excluding residential, at the Reed website here.

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Overall, the value of construction starts in January 2009 was up 5.3% over January 2008, but starts fell 23% from December, which, after accounting for the usual seasonal decline in January, Haughey estimated at about 20%.

“This is an unusually large cutback,” he writes. “The only similar drop in recent years was in September 2005 and that was reversed the following month.”

Haughey and Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC of America, recently hosted a webcast on the 2009 construction market outlook. Webcast 1 of 4, “Have We Hit Bottom?”, was broadcast on January 27 but you can see it here (requires registration). This webcast discusses the impact of the recession and how long it will take for the construction industry to rebound.

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DOE Publishes Workshop Presentations Online for Free Download

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published the workshop presentations and materials from its sixth annual DOE Solid-State Lighting R&D Workshop in San Francisco, held February 3-5, 2009. A…

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published the workshop presentations and materials from its sixth annual DOE Solid-State Lighting R&D Workshop in San Francisco, held February 3-5, 2009.

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A complete workshop report will be posted later in March.

Click here for conference highlights.

Click here to download the presentations.

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The Promise of Innovation

Using Apple’s iPod as an example, new research released by a team from UC Irvine’s Merage School of Business sheds light on the debate about globalization and its impact on…

Using Apple’s iPod as an example, new research released by a team from UC Irvine’s Merage School of Business sheds light on the debate about globalization and its impact on U.S. workers.
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Results from the study, which was funded by the Sloan Foundation, indicate that innovation by U.S. companies can create high-wage jobs for U.S. professionals no matter where production facilities are located. The bottom line is U.S. innovation may create more jobs outside the U.S. but U.S. workers receive the lion’s share of the wages.

The study focused on the case of Apple’s iPod, mapping the financial value created by the iPod for Apple and its suppliers and distributors.

Singling out the iPod as an example of a recent innovation in this industry, the team estimated that design, production and distribution of the iPod and its components accounted for about 41,000 jobs worldwide in 2006.

About 14,000 of those jobs were inside the U.S. and were fairly evenly divided between high wage engineers and managers, and lower wage retail and non-professional workers. Another 27,000 jobs were created elsewhere in the world and consisted primarily of low-wage manufacturing positions.

One of the most important reasons for the presence of higher-paying jobs in the U.S. is that Apple keeps most of the R&D, marketing, top management and corporate support functions for the iPod in the U.S., creating over 5,000 professional and engineering jobs for U.S. workers.

Although some U.S. firms may employ more engineers overseas than Apple does, this relative concentration of high-paying jobs at headquarters is not unusual, according to the study’s authors.

The research paper is available here.

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The Devaluation Effect of Globalization

Kevin Willmorth sums up the tradeoffs of globalization in his lighting and energy conservation blog. He makes the point that the U.S. economy is currently overly focused on taking profit…

Kevin Willmorth sums up the tradeoffs of globalization in his lighting and energy conservation blog.

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He makes the point that the U.S. economy is currently overly focused on taking profit from a devaluation process instead of one that builds value. The long term result is a loss of competitiveness and erosion of wages and qualify of life for the average American.

Read the complete post here.

I couldn’t agree more. What do you think?

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