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The Circular Economy Applied To Emergency Lighting

A British emergency lighting manufacturer, Mackwell, shared the following information with LightNOW on how the emergency lighting industry in England is contributing to the evolving circular economy.

A British emergency lighting manufacturer, Mackwell, shared the following information with LightNOW on how the emergency lighting industry in England is contributing to the evolving circular economy. The circular economy is a series of strategies to minimize the carbon footprint of products and buildings through thoughtfully planning the recyclability of components, energy usage, and embedded carbon, including at a product’s end of life.

CIBSE is the British association of building services engineers that promulgate building industry standards analogous to IES standards for lighting. In October of 2021, CIBSE TM66 was published. This technical memorandum is a guidance document on how lighting products – luminaires – should be assessed in terms of their circular economy credentials. It includes a checklist, a method of assessing a product’s circular economy performance, and real-world examples of good practice.

At the same time, the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering (MEP) sector within the construction industry– in which many lighting products are sold – also has CIBSE guidance, TM65. TM65 is a methodology for assessing embodied carbon of products linked to MEP systems. Increasingly, lighting projects are seeing requests to assess products by using this framework.

Other means of assessment exist, such as the ‘cradle to cradle’ methodology. This approach ensures that solutions are designed and produced so that when they reach the end of their lifetime, they can be truly recycled. This means everything is either recycled or biodegradable. By adopting this methodology, the design and production of luminaires should allow for upcycling at the end of their life.

Emergency lighting is currently not well addressed within these methodologies. Emergency luminaries have several unique characteristics that can potentially influence their circular economy credentials and are not currently covered in the guidance. These include:

  • The embodied carbon associated with the choice of battery chemistry
  • Recyclability of different battery chemistries
  • Charging cycle characteristics and different energy consumption levels that are associated with these
  • The efficiency of different types of charging circuitry
  • Modularity in design to allow the re-use of components such as optics, drivers, and luminaire housings
  • Optical designs that allow increased spacings between emergency luminaires to achieve compliance, thereby minimizing the embodied carbon in the total number of emergency luminaires required.

Automatic and remote monitored emergency test systems also exist that can help to avoid unnecessary labor traveling to and from sites to carry out manual tests. This can also help to reduce the embodied carbon associated with emergency lighting installations while at the same time ensuring safety compliance.

Emergency lighting is inherently more complex than standard luminaires. This creates more opportunities to increase the circularity of emergency lighting products, installations, and test systems. Continued product development and evaluation will move the emergency lighting industry toward more sophisticated circular economy solutions.

Thanks to Mackwell for sharing this information with LightNOW readers.

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Researchers Use Infrared Light To Wirelessly Transmit Power Over 30 Meters

A research team from Sejong University in South Korea has demonstrated a new system which uses infrared light to safely transfer high levels of power. Laboratory tests showed that it could transfer 400 mW of light power over distances of up to 30 meters.

A research team from Sejong University in South Korea has demonstrated a new system which uses infrared light to safely transfer high levels of power. Laboratory tests showed that it could transfer 400 mW of light power over distances of up to 30 meters. This power is sufficient for charging sensors, and with further development, it could be increased to levels necessary to charge mobile devices.

Distributed laser charging works somewhat like a traditional laser, but instead of the optical components of the laser cavity being integrated into one device, they are separated into a transmitter and receiver. When the transmitter and receiver are within a line of sight, a laser cavity is formed between them over the air—or free space—which allows the system to deliver light-based power. If an obstacle cuts the transmitter-receiver line of sight, the system automatically switches to a power-safe mode, achieving hazard-free power delivery in the air.

Now that they have demonstrated the system, the researchers are working to make it more practical. For example, the efficiency of the photovoltaic cell could be increased to better convert light into electrical power. They also plan to develop a way to use the system to charge multiple receivers simultaneously. Read the full article here.

 

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Updated GSA Requirements For Lighting In Federal Buildings

In October, 2021, the GSA published updated rules for the construction and renovation of federal buildings (excluding military buildings). The “P100” is a 316-page document outlining construction and renovation guidelines.

In October, 2021, the GSA published updated rules for the construction and renovation of federal buildings (excluding military buildings). The “P100” is a 316-page document outlining construction and renovation guidelines.

Last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bi-partisan infrastructure law, authorized funding to significantly increase both new construction and renovations of federal buildings. Here are some of the new requirements that impact lighting:

  • The use of DLC-approved products to secure all available utility rebates for the GSA
  • The use of domestic construction materials (Buy American Act) for construction contracts performed in the United States (excepting waivers granted or per FAR 25.2)
  • A Gold rating in LEED certification for new construction and major renovations
  • Overall building energy efficiency that’s at least 30% higher than ASHRAE 90.1 E.C.L
  • Mandatory daylighting wherever possible

Lighting controls also figure prominently: “The GSA intends to lead the Govt. in owning and operating Smart Buildings.” An article by CREE Lighting provides additional details on changes involving: controls, exterior lighting, parking structures, and LED retrofits. Read the full article here.

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US DOE Publishes New Test Procedures For GSFL, IRL, & GSIL Lamps

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register Final Rule adopting amendments to the test procedures for general service fluorescent lamps (GSFLs), incandescent reflector lamps (IRLs), and general service incandescent lamps.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register Final Rule adopting amendments to the test procedures for general service fluorescent lamps (GSFLs), incandescent reflector lamps (IRLs), and general service incandescent lamps (GSILs) to:

  • update references to industry test standards and provide citations to specific sections of these standards;
  • amend definitions;
  • reference specific sections within industry test standards for further clarity;
  • provide test methods for measuring coloring rendering index (CRI) for incandescent lamps and measuring the lifetime of IRLs;
  • clarify test frequency and inclusion of cathode power in measurements for GSFLs;
  • decrease the sample size and specify all metrics for all lamps be measured from the same sample; and
  • align terminology across relevant sections of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to GSFLs, IRLs and GSILs.

The effective date of this rule is September 30, 2022. The final rule changes will be mandatory for product testing starting February 27, 2023. Find product information for General Service Fluorescent LampsIncandescent Reflector Lamps, and General Service Incandescent Lamps, including current standards and test procedures, statutory authority, waivers, exceptions and contact information.

 

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The Paradigm Shift In Controls

C. Webster Marsh authored an interesting article about the latest paradigm shift in lighting control design. Lighting controls have moved from on-off to dimming, to color-tuning and/or color-changing, and now to circuit dependent or independent, as control signals moved beyond line voltage wiring for both wired & wireless controls.

C. Webster Marsh authored an interesting article about the latest paradigm shift in lighting control design. As the above image conveys, lighting controls have moved from on-off to dimming, to color-tuning and/or color-changing, and now to circuit dependent or independent, as control signals moved beyond line voltage wiring for both wired & wireless controls.

The article was published on the Lighting Controls Association (LCA) website in early August. It argues that this paradigm change facilitated more advanced control solutions, which is altering the landscape of lighting control systems. Many designers, manufacturers, and contractors are resisting this change, however, and it appears as though controls are headed towards a third paradigm shift that will sustain those who adapt and eliminate those who don’t.

You can read the full article about the shift to dynamic, circuit-agnostic lighting controls here.

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So You’re a Fixture Chooser? A Guest Authors’ Perspective

Guest authors Clifton Stanley Lemon & Thomas Paterson make the case for eliminating the term “specifier.”

By Clifton Stanley Lemon and Thomas Paterson

Exactly when did lighting designers consent to allow themselves to be referred to as “specifiers,” the ones who pick the lighting equipment? Other trades and disciplines don’t suffer this indignity: we don’t call artists “paint choosers,” interior designers “furniture pickers,” or mechanical engineers “pump, fan, and duct table monkeys.” “Specifier” indicates an inordinate attachment to equipment and technology, not to the more important process of why you need it in the first place, an essential human activity known as “design.” Let’s just refer to all lighting designers by what they actually do. The profession will be better off for it.

We have been having conversations that touch on this topic as preparation for the LightSPEC West conference in Los Angeles on September 21 and 22, at which Thomas is keynoting with a talk entitled “Craft and the Creativity Myth.” Here we introduce some of our discourse and discuss the terms that come into play when explaining and defining the practice of lighting design.

One meaning of the term “specifier” from vocabulary.com is “someone who draws up specifications giving details (as for obtaining a patent).” This harks back to the early days of electricity when the bloodthirsty, contentious, competitive process of patenting and commercializing inventions by people like Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse had decisive outcomes on the future of technology. In fact, it is a way of addressing light though it is simply a matter of appropriately sizing grids of troffers.

Let’s abandon “specifier” in favor of “lighting designer.”

Let’s talk about what we are, starting with what we aren’t. With all due respect to hallowed and heartfelt organizational mission statements, lighting design is, strictly speaking, neither art nor science. We’re not artists, strictly speaking. We design to a brief (should we be fortunate enough to get one) to solve our clients’ needs. That’s design or engineering, not art: we celebrate great art, but creating it isn’t what we do. Art is typically neither driven by external purpose nor regulated by the government.

Lighting design is also not science. We use the results of other people’s scientific learning. But as a lighting designer, when did you last do a double-blind study to inform your design? Or discover a new principle of physics? Or publish a peer-reviewed paper? When did you formulate a hypothesis, prove or disprove it, and submit that new knowledge to the review of your peers? We use evidence in making important design decisions, but that doesn’t make us scientists.

According to legendary designer and architect, Charles Eames, design is “a plan for arranging elements to accomplish a particular purpose.” The key ideas here are “plan” and “purpose.” Much of what people do when they design may indeed involve planning – although that’s often omitted in the rush to decorate – but typically fails because the necessary purpose is poorly defined, if it is defined at all. Design as a term ties many things together. It’s a fundamental human activity. “Designer” as a professional descriptor is well understood across many fields, from graphic design to industrial design.

Lighting designers are creative, but do we have creativity? Does creativity really exist? Or is it just a bullshit term that belies a fundamental misunderstanding of design practice and discipline?

We suggest that the creative process is generally misunderstood, confused with butterflies of inspiration, overrated, and carries a corrosive connotation of inherited merit vs. learned skill.

So then, what is it that lighting designers do? We believe that what designers practice is craft, the professional craft of design.

What defines craft? You’re probably thinking of activities like woodworking, decoupage, and making things with popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners, a la Hobby Lobby – unthinkably lowbrow vs. intellectual and professional. For instance, several years ago, the California College of Arts and Crafts (which Clifton attended) became simply the California College of the Arts. Their curricula span architecture, film, fashion, ceramics, comics, furniture, and game arts (and presumably not decoupage).

Craft is formed of a broad knowledge of the media with which one works, the way it will be used, its acquisition, and application. A great craftsman responds to a client’s needs to create something that serves their purpose with grace, elegance, economy, and often great beauty.  What better description of the craft of lighting design?

Making craft implicit in design practice invites a bold realignment of entrenched hierarchical social values. The Old English word craeft signified an indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and resourcefulness. Today, it implies a deep holistic internalization of all the design skills necessary to deliver successful projects: research; defining purpose, problems, and intent; visualization; communication; collaboration; technical understanding; hands-on testing and verification; sourcing; budget management; problem-solving; construction management; and post-occupancy assessment.

Thinking of lighting design as a craft enables a more accurate understanding of necessary skills to be assembled in the mind of a craftsperson in order to form a new mastery. It allows us to look at the professional development of practitioners in our industry as a studied process of building skills and people, rounding out the areas they have not yet learned, and working to bring craft to the collective product of our field.

Recognizing this also allows us to value people at each stage of their career, from apprentice through journeyman/woman to master. Each is a stage of life, with a different focus on personal development, application, and generosity in teaching to the following generation.

Mr. Paterson’s keynote session on Wednesday, September 21, will explore a new perspective on lighting design and the craft needed to practice it. He’ll show how learning in a design practice can be facilitated through mentoring, transparency, continuing education, and direct jobsite experience. His firm Lux Populi, one of the top lighting firms in the world, encourages a culture of active listening, engagement with clients, experience-based problem solving, and collaboration with all other design and construction disciplines. Of course, they choose fixtures, but they’re designers first and foremost.

 

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Clean Energy Technologies Expected To Create Copper Shortages

Recent climate action is going to increase clean energy technology deployment that will significantly increase copper demand.

Lighting typically utilizes copper in:

  • Luminaire wires
  • LED module circuit boards
  • LED drivers
  • Smart lighting controllers
  • Most building electrical wiring

Recent climate action is going to increase clean energy technology deployment that will significantly increase copper demand. A recent article by David Gordon of Channel Marketing Group explores how climate action could impact the copper market.

Copper usage has historically been driven by new building construction in the US and, more recently, China. Copper demand is expected to double in the next 10 years. Electrification climate solutions, such as solar, offshore wind, onshore wind, tidal power, biomass, battery storage, geothermal energy, bioenergy, nuclear power, hydropower, EVs, and the need to improve the grid will spike demand beyond supply, and prices will go up.

 

There is likely to be accelerated research into copper alternatives, including aluminum alloys and graphene. The full article is available here.

 

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Study Finds Care Home Falls Reduced 43% By Changing Light Spectrum & Intensity

The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA) recently published a research study showing long-term care facility falls were reduced 43% by changing light spectrum and intensity throughout the day for residents.

The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA) recently published a research study showing long-term care facility falls were reduced 43% by changing light spectrum and intensity throughout the day for residents. In four long-term care homes totaling 758 residents, investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, led by Shadab Rahman, Ph.D., MPH, and Leilah Grant, Ph.D., of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, studied whether changing the intensity and spectrum of lighting across the day — which impacts neurocognitive processes such as alertness, mood and sleep — can reduce the rate of falls in elderly care-home residents.

In the homes, specifically, the short-wavelength (blue) content of ambient lighting was changed dynamically across the day and night at two sites, with fall rates at these sites then compared to the fall rates from the two other control sites, where the intensity and spectrum were fixed throughout the day and night. Overall, the researchers found a 43% reduction in the rate of falls for those who were exposed to the dynamic lighting versus those who were not.

“The ability to significantly reduce the rate of falls in long-term, care-home residents by implementing a relatively low-cost, passive, environmental intervention such as changing the spectrum and intensity of lighting throughout the day as a preventative strategy has major implications for improving health and well-being in this at-risk population,” said Rahman, the corresponding author of the study.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for older adults (age 65+) in America. Since current interventions to reduce falls are multifactorial and require significant time and resources, pushes have been made to find alternative low-cost and low-burden solutions.

The full author list for the research study is:

  • Leilah K. Grant, Ph.D.
  • Melissa A. St. Hilaire, Ph.D.
  • Jenna P. Heller, BS
  • Rodney A. Heller, BS
  • Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D.
  • Shadab A. Rahman, Ph.D., MPH

The research article is published here.

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“The Why” of Toggled iQ Networked Lighting Controls

In July, I wrote an article about a LightFair product demonstration that I received from Toggled, of their new wireless smart lighting platform, Toggled iQ. In that story, I focused on the various components (sensors, controllers, smart TLEDs, etc.), and the performance capabilities of those components.

What I didn’t cover was the question of why invest the additional time and money in a wireless networked lighting control system, like Toggled iQ.

In July, I wrote an article about a LightFair product demonstration that I received from Toggled, of their new wireless smart lighting platform, Toggled iQ. In that story, I focused on the various components (sensors, controllers, smart TLEDs, etc.), and the performance capabilities of those components.

What I didn’t cover was the question of why invest the additional time and money in a wireless networked lighting control system like Toggled iQ.

ENERGY MANAGEMENT

Converting a building from fluorescent to LED lighting can save up to 60% in lighting energy savings. Adding additional layers such as controls and back-end data analytics can add another 20% in energy savings.

Implementation of available Toggled iQ analytics capabilities allows users to manage and actively engage in improving their facilities’ energy efficiency. Device sensors provide data to Toggled iQ analytics tools which help identify areas that may be underperforming from an efficiency standpoint or flag areas that may not be used as often as originally thought – allowing for future efficiency adjustments.

OCCUPANT EXPERIENCE

By providing an optimal occupant experience, the Toggled iQ smart building platform can increase overall tenant satisfaction and can improve long-term tenant retention. Everything from lighting to HVAC can be customized and controlled in real-time, whether it be a single fixture, room, building or campus, all from the Toggled iQ mobile app. The building can be controlled by the organization or an individual.

PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

Predicting the remaining useful life of a building asset based on real-time data provided by Toggled iQ Analytics allows organizations to create, manage, and optimize maintenance schedules.

Toggled iQ Analytics provides multiple tools to help identify potential signs of deterioration, anomalies, and actual equipment performance issues in real-time. Collected data allows for the development of predictive maintenance schedules, which ensures assets continue to work at their optimal levels for as long as possible. Real-time data and predictive maintenance schedules also help to reduce labor costs associated sending crews out for maintenance that may not have been necessary.

WORKER SAFETY & PRODUCTIVITY

Maintaining clean building spaces will be key for those returning to work, post-pandemic. Part of that maintenance includes air quality. Toggled iQ devices can monitor and optimize air quality.

Providing quality lighting environments is also important. Toggled iQ lets end users tweak and tailor their lighting environment to make their workspaces more pleasant, efficient, and productive.

Flexible in-person workspaces can enhance collaboration and communication at work. Building owners and corporate leaders can develop their own unique workspaces that align to their organizational culture and environment. The control system can change room configurations in seconds, with the mobile app.

SPACE UTILITIZATION

Uncertainty in the pandemic has made it difficult for building facility professionals to optimize their spaces without wasting resources. Building data collection, utilizing Toggled iQ sensors and devices, combined with Toggled iQ Analytics enables building owners and facility managers to make informed office space utilization decisions.

The platform is capable of continuous monitoring of employees’ workspace usage and overall real estate utilization. Based on real-time data, facility managers can now better understand employees’ actual workspace demand and track workspace pattern changes to determine needs and optimize space. Workspace optimization Increases employee productivity and happiness and reduces costs by increasing space efficiency.

More information on the Toggled iQ wireless control platform can be found here.

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WILD In Search Of New Board Members

LightNOW ‘s editor, Suelynn Shiller, recently interviewed Katherine Stekr, Associate Director of HLB and Women In Lighting & Design (WILD) Board Member, about the experience of being on the WILD board and the current campaign to nominate new directors.

LightNOW ‘s editor, Suelynn Shiller, recently interviewed Katherine Stekr, Associate Director of HLB and Women In Lighting & Design (WILD) Board Member, about the experience of being on the WILD board and the current campaign to nominate new directors.

Shiller:  Katherine, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about WILD’s call for board nominations. What is your role with WILD?

Stekr:  Currently, I’m serving as Vice President nationally.

Shiller: We noticed social media posts calling for nominations to the WILD board of directors. How many Board seats are open?

Stekr: We have 6 total seats open for nominations: President-elect, Secretary, Marketing Director, Outreach Director, Membership Director, and Chapter Director.

Shiller: Who is eligible to become a Board Member?

Stekr: Anyone who is a WILD member is eligible!  And being a WILD member just means joining a chapter or getting on our mailing list.

Shiller: What are the responsibilities of a WILD board member?

Stekr: Depends on the role, but we have clearly defined roles set forth for each position we are looking to fill so that everyone has a purpose and no volunteer is wasting their time.  We welcome anyone to expand their role as they see fit.

Shiller: What is the average expected monthly time commitment?

Stekr: Depending on the role, and the time of year, 2-10 hours.

Shiller: How long are the board terms?

Stekr: President-elect will be a 4-year term; the rest of the terms are 2 years.

Shiller: What is WILD planning for 2023? And for the longer term?

Stekr: Well, WILD is just rolling off the last 12 months spent incorporating as a non-profit.  We have been busy setting up the framework for how WILD will function in years to come.  In 2023, our focus will be more on our initiatives (Lamplighter, DIER, Parenting) and getting more Chapters formed.  Long term, WILD is looking to have many more chapters created in cities across the US and Canada, as well as expanding as needed into other countries.

We’re looking forward to providing larger virtual events every quarter and continuing to tackle tough issues like our Lamplighter Coalition was created to do.

Editors Note: We reported on the Lamplighter Coalition’s work on August 12.

Shiller: What are the details of the election? Does the board vote for new members, or does membership? When will it occur?

Stekr: Right now, we are accepting nominations, you can nominate yourself or a fellow WILD member.  The Nominations committee will review and confirm everyone nominated wants to run and has the capacity to volunteer.  Then for the elections, every WILD member is eligible to vote and should!  The election will be held this fall, Oct 17-28.  Voting will be done via Google Forms sent through email.

Shiller: Who are you looking for in the lighting industry? Lighting designers? People in sales and or marketing? Engineers? Rep agency folks?

Stekr: WILD wants all those; if you are a woman, identify as a woman, or just care about women, we welcome you to join us!  Its not limited to lighting designers as we know that successful projects get completed by a lot of people being involved from start to finish.

Shiller: Why should someone self-nominate or nominate someone else?

Stekr:  I’m a firm believer in self-nomination.  I appreciate it when someone is brave enough to say, “yes, I want to do this; look how lucky your organization would be to have me.”  WILD thrives on those voices.  Those who step up to get things done while passionately caring about WILD and all things that affect women in our industry.  The more voices that sit at our table, the better we can represent the industry and hopefully work toward better diversity in the industry as well!

Shiller: Katherine, why are you a WILD board member?

Stekr: I’m a board member because I’ve seen first-hand how a local WILD chapter can create a really strong network of women who support other women.  We’re breaking the cycle of women not supporting peers/competition and are finding out that we thrive when we are connected.  I want our WILD National group to be able to have the resources to bring this to any city/group that wants to form a WILD chapter.  Women are powerful, and it’s time we start using our collective voices to create change.

Shiller: Is there anything else that you would like to share about the experience of being a WILD board member?

Stekr:  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other women on the BOD personally, as in other settings, I would likely never have had a reason to meet with them.  They are smart, compassionate, kind, and tough.  WILD is not afraid to have open and honest conversations about really tough issues, and I am so in awe when we have hard conversations, at the care everyone takes to hear multiple sides of the conversation.  We’re practicing having hard conversations and are hopefully creating safe spaces for others to dare to have hard conversations. We all learn when we talk to those who think differently. Our Board has had a lot of work this year, from forming a non-profit to discussing in-depth how we respond to issues like Roe v Wade.  It’s a great group of people, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for WILD.

To nominate yourself or someone else for a spot on the WILD Board of Directors, fill out the form at this link. To learn more about WILD, visit their website.

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