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Post Digital

Royal Philips Electronics’ “Transitions” 2008 road show throughout Europe, featuring exhibits designed by eight leading European architects and lighting designers and installed in containers, was staged to showcase the exciting…

Royal Philips Electronics’ “Transitions” 2008 road show throughout Europe, featuring exhibits designed by eight leading European architects and lighting designers and installed in containers, was staged to showcase the exciting new possibilities offered by a new generation of lighting technology.

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Italy’s contribution, “Post Digital” by Fabio Novembre, consists of a cube of 30,000 LEDs that are sensitive to human proximity. The effect is amazing.

In Novembre’s words:

“Digital is all that is represented by digits; it comes from the Latin digitus meaning ‘finger’; and you count digits with your fingers.

“Digital is about transforming the analog nature of life into a countable block of elements. It is a human attempt at simplification of the infinite space.

“As a modern caveman, I wanted to create a link between the digital grid of LEDs and the freedom of movement of a body in space, without any physical contact. Simplification is a risky approach to the complexity of relations. . . . I want to enter a post-digital phase in which technology simplifies life whilst preserving its humanity.

“When you go close to the walls, without touching them, you can switch on the 30,000 LEDs and, like a writer, you can draw and write, and leave trails based on the movements inside the container.

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“Each individual circuit incorporates a movement detector which activates the LEDs instantaneously, but delays their switching off for a few seconds.”

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What if 80% of the lamps in your house had to be fluorescent? Part 2

Great conversation still happening in the comments section in an earlier post here. To which I’d like to add: Perhaps we are “banning” the wrong technology? CFLs save energy but…

Great conversation still happening in the comments section in an earlier post here.

To which I’d like to add: Perhaps we are “banning” the wrong technology?

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CFLs save energy but they have dimming issues with self-ballasted screw-in type units, thermal issues in some luminaires, sizing issues in others, color, time to reach full brightness, etc. Being forced to use CFLs will mean compromises for consumers of light.

Dimming, meanwhile, offers no compromises that I can think of except a cost adder compared to the light switch (which CFLs also have compared to the standard A lamp). Dimming enables homeowners to keep the advantages of incandescent lighting–warm color, easy control, instant ON, fits all existing luminaires, zero mercury in landfills (although admittedly more mercury would still be emitted by power plants producing the higher amount of electrical energy required), offers light distribution that existing luminaires were designed to produce. Plus many of them are made in America, not in China, and aren’t we trying to get more people employed on this continent?

Meanwhile, dimming can dramatically extend incandescent lamp life, which is good for the environment, and according to one study produces an average 20% energy savings.

I’d like to make the argument that if you use an energy saving halogen light bulb (such as the energy-saving version of Philips Halogena), which saves 30% energy at the expense of a 10% reduction in light output, plus a dimmer, which saves an average 20% in energy savings, and you get all the advantages of incandescent light plus longer life, with none of the disadvantages of CFLs, perhaps we are targeting the wrong technology?

Perhaps we should be allowing consumers to choose whatever light source they want, and instead ban the ON/OFF light switch and require dimming everywhere?

What do you think?

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Free Daylighting Webinar to Be Held March 18

Webinar: “Daylighting: Lighting Every Building Using the Sky” Presented by: Energy Center University in partnership with the Daylighting Collaborative, presenting faculty Abby Vogen Horn, Senior Project Manager, Energy Center of…

Webinar: “Daylighting: Lighting Every Building Using the Sky”

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Presented by: Energy Center University in partnership with the Daylighting Collaborative, presenting faculty Abby Vogen Horn, Senior Project Manager, Energy Center of Wisconsin
When: March 18, 2009 at 1:30pm – 3:00pm CDT

What: Integrated daylighting design is the key to whole building energy savings and a successful sustainable design. This 1.5 hour webinar examines critical daylighting design techniques and considerations. Participants will gain an overall understanding of how to approach daylighting design. Topics from this webinar include:

* Definition of successful daylighting
* Components of daylighting design
* Integration with electric lighting
* Top and side lighting strategies
* HVAC savings with daylighting
* Current daylighting software tools

As a result of this webinar, you will be able to:

* Explain how to implement successful daylighting design
* Specify critical daylighting design elements
* Explain how daylighting saves energy and reduces cost
* Describe how to critically analyze design options for projects
* Define one or more performance criteria necessary for successful daylighting

Who should view this webinar? Architects, lighting professionals, interior designers, building design professionals, engineers and anyone interested in learning about daylighting.

Credits: Payment is required to receive credit for this webinar. Once you have completed the course and passed a 10 question quiz, members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will earn 1 Learning Unit (HSW). Credit for the AIA Sustainable Design requirement has been submitted for 1 Learning Unit. Credit for the National Council on Qualifications for Lighting Professions (NCQLP) has been submitted for 1 lighting education unit. This course has been approved by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The webinar will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete and is an audio-visual presentation.

Cost: This webinar is free. To receive credit, you must pay $49 and pass a 10 question quiz.

Questions? For more information, call Phil Jahnke Sauer at 608.238.8276 x124 or click here to email him.

Register: Click here to register now. Space is limited, so register early.

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Architecture Billings Index Hits Another Historic Low

On the heels of a modest uptick in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped to a historic low level in January. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity,…

On the heels of a modest uptick in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped to a historic low level in January.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI rating was 33.3, down from the 34.1 mark in December (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The inquiries for new projects score was 43.5.

Key January ABI highlights:

* Regional averages: West (38.3), Midwest (34.6), South (34.4), Northeast (29.8)

* Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (39.6), institutional (37.1), commercial / industrial (33.8), multi-family residential (29.5)

* Project inquiries index: 43.5

“Now that the stimulus bill has passed and includes funding for construction projects, as well as for municipalities to raise bonds, business conditions could improve,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “That said, until we can get a clearer sense of credit lines being made available by banks, it will be hard to gauge when a lot of projects that have been put on hold can get back online.”

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The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.

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Electroindustry Confidence Rises in January, But Still Paints Bleak Picture

Though up from a near record low a month ago, NEMA’s January Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current conditions continued to paint a bleak picture in January. January’s reading…

Though up from a near record low a month ago, NEMA’s January Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current conditions continued to paint a bleak picture in January.

January’s reading rose to 20 points, a 12-point gain from December, when the EBCI hit the lowest point in the past seven years. But it was still well below the threshold of 50 and suggests significant deterioration in the business climate at the start of the new year.

In fact, for the first time, not a single survey respondent reported improved conditions in January.

Click here for the complete January 2009 report (PDF).

The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index gauges the business confidence of the electroindustry in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America, and is based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies. Those companies represent more than 80%t of the electroindustry.

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Cooper Lighting Announces 2009 Class Schedule for the SOURCE

The SOURCE, Cooper’s 35,000-sq.ft. lighting education facility located at Cooper Lighting‘s headquarters in Peachtree City, GA, has released the 2009 calendar of classes for the lighting and design community. The…

The SOURCE, Cooper’s 35,000-sq.ft. lighting education facility located at Cooper Lighting‘s headquarters in Peachtree City, GA, has released the 2009 calendar of classes for the lighting and design community. The SOURCE has been servicing the lighting industry for more than 17 years, educating more than 100,000 construction professionals with accredited seminars and workshops.

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New this year, the Industrial Lighting Solutions seminars will be held in Houston, Texas at the new Cooper Technology Center. The SOURCE will also be offering a Healthcare Lighting Solutions seminar and an Energy Solutions seminar at this location. (Cooper Lighting is a division of Houston-based Cooper Industries, Ltd. and information on this new facility can be found here.) In addition, the SOURCE will be hosting its Healthcare Lighting Solutions and Energy Solutions seminars in Universal City, California with tours scheduled at the Cooper Lighting Van Nuys facility.

Current available seminars/workshops for 2009 at a glance are:

March
Healthcare Lighting Solutions – $350, March 23-24
Industrial Lighting Solutions (Cooper Industries Technology Center in Houston, Tex.) – Free, March 30-31

April
Energy Solutions for Commercial and Industrial Lighting Design- $350, April 1-2
Lighting Fundamentals – $500, April 22-24

May
Advanced IRiS Solutions – $350, May 18-19

June
Lighting Fundamentals – $500, June 3-5
Energy Solutions for Commercial and Industrial Lighting Design (Universal City, Calif.) – $350, June 23-24
Healthcare Lighting Solutions (Universal City, Calif.) – $350, June 25-26

July
Lighting Fundamentals for Distributors & Contractors – $500, July 15-17
Residential Lighting Solutions – $350, July 30-31

August
Retail Lighting Solutions – $500, Aug. 11-13
Lighting Fundamentals – $500, Aug. 19-21

September
Industrial Lighting Solutions (Cooper Industries Technology Center in Houston, Tex.) – Free, Sept. 1-2
Advanced IRiS Solutions – $350, Sept. 21-22

October
Lighting Fundamentals – $500, Oct. 7-9
Healthcare Lighting Solutions (Cooper Industries Technology Center in Houston, Tex.) – $350, Oct. 21-22
Energy Solutions for Commercial and Industrial Lighting Design (Cooper Industries Technology Center in Houston, Tex.) – $350, Oct. 28-29

November
Exterior Lighting Solutions – $350, Nov. 4-5

December
Lighting Fundamentals – $500, Dec. 2-4

Course descriptions, registration and lots more info here.

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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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