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Saving Electricity Will Not Get Us Off Middle Eastern Oil

It’s a myth that reducing electric energy consumption by installing energy-efficient lighting will have a significant impact on oil consumption. According to the Energy Information Administration, oil accounted for only…

It’s a myth that reducing electric energy consumption by installing energy-efficient lighting will have a significant impact on oil consumption.

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According to the Energy Information Administration, oil accounted for only 1.6% of electric power generation in the United States in 2007.

Coal is the largest producer of electric power in the U.S. at 48.5% of electric power generation, followed by natural gas (21.6%) and nuclear (19.4%).

Energy-efficient lighting and controls offer numerous benefits, but unfortunately reducing America’s oil dependence is not one of them.

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WAC Lighting Turns 25

WAC Lighting, manufacturer and designer of track, recessed, undercabinet, monorail and decorative lighting, is celebrating 25 years in 2009. The company was started in Forest Hills, NY in 1984 by…

WAC Lighting, manufacturer and designer of track, recessed, undercabinet, monorail and decorative lighting, is celebrating 25 years in 2009.

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The company was started in Forest Hills, NY in 1984 by Tony and Tai Wang. In the beginning, the company marketed portable lamps at a variety of trade shows across the United States. As its line evolved, WAC began to introduce track fixtures and recessed trims and housings, and gradually shifted into the task lighting segment of the industry. In January 1993, WAC developed a national sales force and opened a showroom in the Dallas Market Center, becoming a major supplier of track and recessed lighting. In 1998, it relocated its corporate headquarters to 615 South Street in Garden City, NY, where its main offices remain today. In 2004, Shelley Wang, daughter of Tony and Tai, joined the company, and was appointed General Manager in 2006. Last year, the company doubled the size of its corporate offices and east coast distribution center to meet current demands.

Learn more about WAC Lighting here.

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Edge Lighting Offers New Online Configurator

Edge Lighting now offers a new online “Configurator” designed to allow lighting specifiers to create and price complete custom Pro Aim Monorail lighting systems for customers in minutes. The Configurator…

Edge Lighting now offers a new online “Configurator” designed to allow lighting specifiers to create and price complete custom Pro Aim Monorail lighting systems for customers in minutes.

The Configurator allows builders, contractors, lighting showroom sales people and consumers to create a complete list of all the components needed to create a Monorail lighting system for a given room, space or facility, then prices the items while compiling them, allowing the specifier to come up with an accurate cost quickly.

Give Edge lighting a visit and try it out here.

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IES Profiles Naomi Miller as “Featured Member”

The IES website has profiled Naomi Johnson Miller, principal of Naomi Miller Lighting Design in Troy, NY, as a “featured member.” I saw this as a perfect excuse to write…

The IES website has profiled Naomi Johnson Miller, principal of Naomi Miller Lighting Design in Troy, NY, as a “featured member.” I saw this as a perfect excuse to write my own ode to Naomi and her work.

Naomi Miller

Naomi Miller

Naomi is one of those designers who makes the lighting profession a profession. Her award-winning projects have advanced the art and application of lighting and her tireless volunteer contributions to the IES and lighting industry for more than 30 years have advanced our understanding of light and design. She has contributed to numerous publications, including Illuminate, LD+A, the IES Handbook and the Advanced Lighting Guidelines. Her Lightfair seminars are must-go events. IES has recognized her contributions with a Distinguished Service Award and two Presidential Awards. Over the past year, I had the pleasure of working with Naomi on the development of the IES QVE Light + Design: A Guide to Designing Lighting for People and Buildings (DG-18) publication, which is due out soon.

Click here to visit Naomi’s website to learn more about her design services.

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LEARNING TO SEE: A Matter of Light

Last year, it was my honor to work with legendary lighting designer Howard Brandston on editing his new book LEARNING TO SEE: A Matter of Light, which was subsequently published…

Last year, it was my honor to work with legendary lighting designer Howard Brandston on editing his new book LEARNING TO SEE: A Matter of Light, which was subsequently published by IES. I wrote about the book in Illuminate, a magazine I edit for the publishers of Architectural Products and several other magazines for which I write, but never produced a comprehensive review here at LightNOW. I am now writing to correct this and encourage you to get a copy.

LEARNING TO SEE: A Matter of Light by Howard Brandston

At 138 pages, it’s a slim book, but its content is ambitious in its comprehensiveness, covering the science of art and the art of lighting. It is Brandston’s gift to the design community, a playful but incisive distillation of more than 50 years of experience designing and teaching lighting. It’s a career boiled down into insight and advice, complete with an appendix comprised entirely of quotable musings. You will find yourself quoting from the entire book, in fact, after finishing it.

If the book could be boiled even further to a single statement, it might be Brandston’s trademark question, “What is it you wish to see?” As an artist and lover of life, he challenges people to re-examine every decision they make in a fresh context, focus on every moment being lived, and turn each day from a series of things to be done into a provocative question. As one of the lighting industry’s iconoclasts, he challenges today’s designers of lighting–and he considers almost everyone a designer–to transcend the rules and conventions of lighting to viscerally connect with the project. Put yourself in the role of the customer, he says. The worker. The traveler. You are here, going there. What is it you wish to see? In this way, he reminds us of the artistic nature of lighting and to think about light as an artist, how to use it to achieve a desired emotional response in the users of light.

Howard Brandston at an IESNY-sponsored book signing at Bottlerocket Wines on June 19, 2008 in New York City.

Howard Brandston at an IESNY-sponsored book signing at Bottlerocket Wines on June 19, 2008 in New York City.

The book is divided into four sections: Learning to See, Taking Responsibility, Creativity and Communication. In the first section, Brandston acknowledges light as governed by science but raises up lighting as an art form that must be understood relative to context, culture, demographics and scale. In the second section, he describes how to harness one’s creativity and internalize and externalize it through communication. In the third section, he talks about how to transcend rules and conventions to be truly creative. And the last section is about the process of lighting design. The book ends with appendices about lighting terms, ethics and design, and wit and wisdom. The short, easy to digest chapters are spiced with short commentaries by luminaires such as Oliver Sacks, Peter Boyce and Dan Ciampa, as well as insight into his thinking during some of his more prominent projects such as the relighting of the Statue of Liberty.There are valuable takeaways for veteran lighting designers as well as those approaching lighting for the first time.

You can get LEARNING TO SEE here.

2008 – 138 Pages
Full color
Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-87995-225-9
LTS-1-08
Price: $65.00
Member Price: $50.00

About the Author: Howard M. Brandston, LC, FIESNA, Hon. CIBSE, FIALD, MPLDA, MSL&L, is an award-winning lighting consultant, professor and artist. He has more than 50 years’ experience in lighting design, engineering and electronics, designing illumination for more than 2,500 projects, including the relighting of the Statue of Liberty. In 1999, he was awarded the AIA Institute Honors Award for his contributions to architecture, and he is the only lighting designer to have been inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.

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IDA and IES Publish Outdoor Model Lighting Ordinance for Public Review

The latest research shows that at least 10% of all outdoor lighting, even fully shielded lighting, ends up creating light pollution, according to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Many communities…

The latest research shows that at least 10% of all outdoor lighting, even fully shielded lighting, ends up creating light pollution, according to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Many communities across the U.S. have tried to deal with light pollution or some facet of it–sky glow, light trespass and, more rarely, glare–with a patchwork of thousands of lighting ordinances, many of them written by non-lighting people.

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Three years in the making, a Joint Task Force between the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and IDA have completed a long-awaited Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO), which has been posted as a 26-page PDF document on the IDA website for public review and comment.

“Like many communities who have written their own ordinances, we thought it would be easy and in fact, the MLO has taken much longer than we thought it would,” said Denis Lavoie, Task Force co-chairman. “We worked through some challenging issues related to sky glow and glare in order to have a process that has technical credibility. The result is an ordinance that provides the flexibility for an installation to be judged based on the lighting equipment used or the characteristics of light emitted from a site.”

The MLO offers a single generic outdoor lighting ordinance, written in code language for easy adoption into community codes and bylaws, that can be adapted to any community through the use of five Lighting Zones of differing stringencies, which tailor the MLO to address local needs and preferences. A prescriptive system is included to regulate typical lighting installations using a new rating system called BUG (Backlight-Uplight-Glare), which is designed to prevent excessive lighting and permit easy plan review and field inspection. There is also a computer analysis option for complex lighting installations, which applies the latest research findings with respect to glare, skyglow, and light trespass and restricts designs to appropriate limits of off-site impact.

The MLO is also consistent with the California Title 24 outdoor lighting energy code, the next generation of the IES’ Recommended Practice for Outdoor Environmental Lighting, and the next generation of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 and IECC energy codes. It is being submitted to the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC) to be used for the LEED system Sustainable Sites Light Pollution Reduction Credit.

You don’t have to be a member of IES or IDA to comment on the draft MLO. Please read the MLO and share your ideas. Public review closes Friday, April 10, 2009.

“This MLO will permit all of the lighting recommendations of the IES to be met with currently-available lighting equipment,” said Task Force co-chairman James Benya. “For most situations, designs using well-shielded luminaires and good design practice will have no problem complying.”

“We studied hundreds of lighting ordinances as part of this work,” said Task Force member Naomi Miller. “The MLO is the only ordinance that combines what has been learned from recent glare and skyglow research with the realities of practical application.”

A companion “User’s Guide” to the MLO is also in development for release with the final version of the MLO. IDA is already looking into companion model regulations for city street lighting, signs and other causes of light pollution.

Click here to learn more about the MLO and how to comment on it.

Click here to read the November, 2008 National Geographic Magazine cover story, “Our Vanishing Night” by Verlyn Klinkenborg.

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Lighting Our Near Energy Future

Studies show that commercial buildings produce about half of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change—making these buildings the top emitter of human-caused greenhouse gases, ahead of cars and trucks—while…

Studies show that commercial buildings produce about half of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change—making these buildings the top emitter of human-caused greenhouse gases, ahead of cars and trucks—while consuming nearly three-fourths of electricity produced at power plants.

The Commercial Buildings Initiative (CBI) is a public-private partnership formed to achieve an ambitious goal: By 2030, new commercial construction will be zero-energy. That is, buildings of the future will consume 20% of the energy they do now, and meet the remaining requirements through renewable resources. Meanwhile, the existing commercial stock will reduce its own energy demand by 50%.

The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) recently demonstrated a task/ambient Integrated Office Lighting System (IOLS) combining high-efficacy direct/indirect luminaires with an LED Personal Lighting System (task lighting). The system demonstrated lighting power densities of 0.5-0.7W/sq.ft., 36-55% lower than ASHRAE 90.1-2004/2007.

The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) recently demonstrated a task/ambient Integrated Office Lighting System (IOLS) combining high-efficacy direct/indirect luminaires with an LED Personal Lighting System (task lighting). The system demonstrated lighting power densities of 0.5-0.7W/sq.ft., 36-55% lower than ASHRAE 90.1-2004/2007.

CBI’s creators state on their website: “As with the Apollo Program, which put the first astronauts on the moon, and the Manhattan Project, to design, build and test the first atomic bomb, CBI’s scope is broad, is intended to affect society comprehensively, and will require a large and concerted effort among many diverse players to achieve success.”

This is not about initial cost and quick paybacks, but a broad effort to halt the effects of climate change and its predicted impacts on all humans.

Reducing energy consumption in buildings by 50-80% is a tall order. We’re already asking these questions in the lighting field: How low can we go with watts? How low can we go with light levels?

Legendary lighting designer Howard Brandston writes in his new book, Learning to See: A Matter of Light, about what he calls the Political Energy Law: “Lighting consumes energy; therefore, when energy is abundant, use may increase, and when energy is scarce, it must be rationed.” Between 1913 and 1972, for example, light level recommendations for offices increased; since then, they have been decreasing. People’s visual requirements, Brandston notes, are not part of his Law. But while light is a commodity, lighting is an asset whose product is essential for commerce. Approach it only from a cost point of view, and you tamper with commercial success.

The U.S. Department of Energy sees LEDs as a likely solution. By 2025, DOE predicts, LEDs will reach efficacies as high as 160 lumens/W, about two times higher than fluorescent, 10 times higher than incandescent, and more than three times higher than the global and North American average of 50 lumens/W for lighting in all sectors. DOE, in fact, believes that solid-state lighting will provide most of our general lighting needs within the next 20 years. More light, fewer watts, more flexibility for design.

Don’t expect traditional lighting systems to go quietly (if ever), however, but instead become more and more efficient themselves into the near future. How can this occur, if we are indeed squeezing all of the watts out of luminaires and footcandles out of design? According to recent research, the answer may come from integrated design and lighting controls, lighting efficiency resources that have only been partially tapped.

Lighting controls, in particular, represent the new frontier of energy savings. At Lightfair, nearly 30 controls products entered the Innovation Awards, and a controls product claimed the Most Innovative Product of the Year and the Technical Innovation Award.

The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) recently demonstrated a task/ambient Integrated Office Lighting System (IOLS) combining high-efficacy direct/indirect luminaires with an LED Personal Lighting System (task lighting). The system demonstrated lighting power densities of 0.5-0.7W/sq.ft., 36-55% lower than ASHRAE 90.1-2004/2007. The addition of an occupancy sensor controlling the task lighting was found to reduce energy consumption by another 20-30%. Learn more here.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) recently studied another system produced by CLTC and manufacturer Finelite: the Integrated Classroom Lighting System, or ICLS. ICLS consists of teacher-controllable direct/indirect and whiteboard luminaires, occupancy sensor and optional photosensor. LRC studied ICLS in 28 classrooms and found it to produce an average 0.73W/sq.ft., nearly 50% lower than ASHRAE 90.1-2004/2007. Learn more here.

Both systems were developed to save energy while achieving lighting best practices, although they warrant further study in this area. They require changes to traditional design approaches, one requiring integrated design of general and LED task lighting, the other requiring the specification of controls as an integral part of the lighting system. They are also each likely to catch the attention of policy makers looking to save large amounts of energy fast while ostensibly preserving lighting quality. And each may be a sign of trends such as energy codes increasingly mandating design choices and controls increasingly being integrated into lighting systems and luminaires.

If LEDs are the future of lighting, are highly integrated systems such as IOLS and ICLS its near future?

Learn more about the Commercial Buildings Initiative here.

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Lampshade Eats Flies, Turns Them Into Light

Material Beliefs has designed a prototype of a lampshade that functions similarly to a Venus Flytrap–capturing flies and turning them into energy. When the floor lamp is turned on, flies…

Material Beliefs has designed a prototype of a lampshade that functions similarly to a Venus Flytrap–capturing flies and turning them into energy.

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When the floor lamp is turned on, flies and moths become naturally attracted to the light, entering through holes in the lampshade but unable to then escape. Over time, the insects die and fall into a microbial fuel cell under the lamp, which in turn generates power to light several LEDs when the house lights are turned off.

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Lighting Education Institute Announces Webinar Series on Photometry

Craig Bernecker, director of The Lighting Education Institute, will be teaching a weekly 90-minute webinar on luminaire photometry over a period of six weeks from April 13 to May 26,…

Craig Bernecker, director of The Lighting Education Institute, will be teaching a weekly 90-minute webinar on luminaire photometry over a period of six weeks from April 13 to May 26, 2009.

Craig A. Bernecker, Ph.D., FIESNA, LC, founder of The Lighting Education Institute

Craig A. Bernecker, Ph.D., FIESNA, LC, founder of The Lighting Education Institute

Designed for architects, engineers, interior designers, lighting designers, sales reps, manufacturers and other professionals interested in lighting design, the course promises to teach students “how to speak the language of lighting system performance to enable better design, application and comparison of lighting systems,” according to the Institute’s website. “Content includes both interior and exterior luminaire photometry and focuses on the practical use and interpretation of photometric reports.”

The weekly webinars will be supplemented by a dedicated course management website which includes weekly lessons, resources and “assignments,” interactive forums and chat sessions, and archiving of the webinars for review or if you miss the live seminar. All you need is a computer and phone to take the course.

The cost is $575. Click here for more information.

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Metabolic Media

Inspired by photosynthesis in plants, Studio Loop.ph Ltd. set out to build architectural structures with energy-harvesting canopies that absorb solar energy during the day and emit light at night. “A…

Inspired by photosynthesis in plants, Studio Loop.ph Ltd. set out to build architectural structures with energy-harvesting canopies that absorb solar energy during the day and emit light at night.

“A modular photovoltaic membrane was prototyped for the installation that can be clad to our geotextile architecture to provide both shelter and shade from the sun during the day and once evening falls light is cast into the darkness using low-power micro LEDs with printed circuitry,” Rachel Wingfield, MPhil RCA told LightNOW. “We will be developing this over the next 12 months together with Risø DTU, the National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Denmark, as a low-cost, high-volume source of light for emergency shelter relief.”

The same technology can be used to provide a lightweight solution for growing food plants in small spaces without soil, she adds.

Visit Studio Loop.pH at Loop.pH and Risø DTU at www.risoe.dk/solarcells.

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