Tec Studio Inc. receives State of Ohio EDGE Certification




Tec Inc. affiliate company, Tec Studio Inc. received EDGE Certification from the State of Ohio, after almost a year of filing the application and providing necessary information to the State.

Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) Program

The State of Ohio’s Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) program establishes an annual goal for state agencies, boards and commissions, as well as guidelines for state universities in awarding contracts to certified EDGE businesses. The EDGE program is designed to assist socially and economically disadvantaged businesses in obtaining state government contracts in the following areas: construction, architecture and engineering; professional services; goods and services; and information technology services. (In contrast to the Minority Business Enterprise program, the EDGE program does apply to construction contracts.) The State of Ohio developed the program because it recognizes the need to encourage, nurture, and support the growth of economically and socially disadvantaged businesses to foster their development and increase the number of qualified competitors in the marketplace.

Tec Studio was opened in 2013. We felt there was project opportunity available to an independent firm that may not be available as a service within the engineering firm.  Tec Studio is majority owned by women, allowing for diversity certifications including EDGE, WBENC, and Women Owned Small Business Enterprise (WOSB).


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On the case... a forensic investigation

Not a crime scene, but certainly a case of fantastic forensic engineering work. 

Hiram College completed a renovation of the dining/multi-purpose facility. Facilities staff noticed the compact fluorescent lamps (cfl) were not illuminated to full brightness. In preparation for a campus meeting, an electrical contractor was brought in to troubleshoot the problem. After checking the wiring for ground faults and replacing lamps, the problem persisted.

Tim Pool, PE, RCDD - Director of Engineering and a licensed electrical safety inspector - was called to assist the contractor. Working with our lighting designer, Ardra Zinkon and the fixture manufacturer, the team eliminated any lamp or ballast problems with the fixtures. On a lift inspecting fixtures, Tim noticed a cool draft of air coming from the plenum space, flowing out of the fixture housings. CFLs lose efficiency in cold conditions, providing lower illumination output. To test this, Tim used a piece of plastic wrap from the kitchen to cover the opening on the fixture housing, forcing the heat from the lamp to remain in the fixture and preventing the cold air from entering. The lamp went to full illumination almost instantly. 

It was determined that the kitchen hood exhaust combined with the make-up air unit was under pressurizing the main space and cold air from the air plenum was being dragged across the lamp causing a chill to the lamp envelope and thus not allowing the lamp to burn at full brightness. The College hired an air balancer to adjust air flow and the pressurization between the spaces was normalized.  

The solution we developed required an out-of-the box approach to problem solving that crossed disciplines. Who would’ve thought a piece of plastic wrap could be the primary tool to solve an engineering dilemma?

IES Progress Report Committee


I have been fortunate enough to serve as a member on the IES Progress Report Committee for the past eight years. Our mission is to, “keep in touch with developments in the art and science of lighting throughout the world, and prepare a yearly review of achievements for the Illuminating Engineering Society”.  

It’s an extremely talented group of about 30 dedicated individuals from across the lighting industry. Our members are Manufacturers (lamps, lighting controls, luminaires), Educators, Utility Folks, and Lighting Designers.  I feel privileged to be part of the committee with such an extensive knowledge base, we have members who have served on this sole committee for over 30 years.  It is our responsibility each year, to review submitted lighting products, lighting publications and research and then determine what is considered progress in the industry that is noteworthy and should be presented to the Society at the national conference and then published in our monthly trade journal.

Last year we received 261 submissions, 156 were accepted.  Our review period for submissions is an intense 2-1/2 days.  It seems like a short time for a review of so many items, but it certainly feels like a really long day when you have been trapped in a room for 10 hours straight looking at lights. But my colleagues make it all worthwhile. To hear fair and direct commentary on a products merits (or failings) from such a group of experts in invaluable. 

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Along with their wisdom comes a very dry sense of humor that helps make the day move forward.  And I confess, I have been known to slip in “made-up and fake products”.  In 2009, my “fake” product was accepted into the report and read aloud at the conference.  It was for the application of a new NET ZERO lighting control system.  All power in the building was organic and generated by the “gregarious activity of Sea Monkeys”.

It was claimed, they could generate up to 1.21 gigawatts of electricity daily.  The only other known organic source of that magnitude is a bolt of lightning.  The control system transferred the power through-out the building thru the use of a Flux Capacitor.


The fake submission was accepted by 100% of the members and kept us all in good spirits. And since submissions are currently open, I guess I need to start thinking of a small distraction that can help us through the next arduous review session…

We are currently accepting submissions for the 2012 report.  You can check out the 2011 report on the IES website   http://www.ies.org/progress/     Submissions close on August 17th.  

Cleveland Public Library Tech Central and MyCloud

The Cleveland Public Library Tech Central project is almost complete. We stopped in for a walk-thru last week while the final touches were being installed. The renovation looks beautiful, providing a needed update, while incorporating prominent pieces of the existing architecture.

The renovated space will provide a consilidated computing center for the Main branch with state of the art features. “We are proud to announce that in June 2012 we will be the first public library in the country, to provide a personalized desktop experience to our patrons using desktop virtualization. The days of saving files on USB flash drives will be over for many CPL patrons, as they will be able to use MyCloud to freely access their own computing world anywhere in the Library. MyCloud will allow each user to save their files, bookmarks, and preferences and have them available anytime they visit the Library.”

Along with the new desktop features, the new technology infrastructure is useful and unobtrusive. The electrical outlets and network connections are built into the furniture, inside of covered boxes. The cabling and power are run through the table legs and are routed under an innovative modular raised floor that feels like a solid floor. Tech Central is outfitted with Windows and Mac computers that are connected to the MyCloud service.

The architecture is brought to life through refurbished direct/indirect suspended lighting and additional accent lighting. The suspended fixtures illuminate the space evenly while minimizing glare for library patrons working at the computers. The existing intricate ceramic tile mosaic wall is highlighted for the first time with linear led accent lighting mounted to the edge of the counter installed along the wall. Additionally, information desks incorporate integral led technology with 3-form panels to provide a self-illumianted presense in the space.Track lighting has been installed to highlight a display table.

We’re proud to have been involved in the engineering and lighting design of this project.

 To view more pictures, visit the project photo gallery. http://www.tecinc1.com/photo-gallery/cleveland-public-library-tech-central/

A site visit to Pickaway County Library

Last week I had an opportunity to stop at the library and snap a few images of the project. Construction is almost complete on this renovation/new addition.  The project was phased to allow the library to remain open during construction. Submittting for LEED CI certification, the lighting contributed significantly to the energy efficiency of the space with a lighting power density of 20% less than energy code.








The New Obsolete

Technology is evolving so quickly these days and it seems what was “new” yesterday is old news today. We recently had a situation where a product specified less than 10 years ago became obsolete. A lamp used in a Fiberstars fiber optic illuminator was no longer available or supported by the manufacturer. The First Convenent Church of Willoughby Hills was desperate to come up with an affordable solution to keep the cross illuminated at night with the loss of the original lighting system.


Tec would like to thank Gene Scheilcher of Fiberstars for stepping up and finding a solution. While the lamp was no longer available, Gene had urged us to consider an LED option. Based on the cut sheets submitted, we were concerned with lumen output matching the previous system and asked for support on a mock-up. Following the mock-up, Gene went step further and provided the church with the replacement illuminator from Fiberstars.

Gene, thank you for your generous donation.

Photo Shoot at Miami University Farmer School of Business

I recently headed to Oxford, Ohio (near Dayton) for a photo shoot of a lighting design project at Miami University. An architectural lighting shoot is always a challenge. To those who haven’t had the opportunity to participate, it typically happens after hours (so we don’t end up with a lot of daylight filling the space). This means, the Owner is gracious enough to hand us the keys to the building and allow us to poke around in there after normal hours (just us and the cleaning crew).  We met  the day prior to the shoot to walk the space and come up with a gameplan. We also had to override the astronomical time clock on the lighting control system.

Checking the specific time of day for sunset, next we coordinated the “magic hour”.  It  happens for only about 45 minutes right before and during sunset. We get a great navy blue sky with no fill light coming in the windows striking a perfect balance with the indoor and outdoor environment. This project just so happened to be full of windows where we could take advantage of the daylight harvesting. It meant we had to pick the most significant spaces to catch that perfect light.

The photographer showed up with two sets of cameras to set up and allow us to move quickly between the two rooms with the most windows.  We shot eight different spaces in total and the shoot lasted almost 5 hours. We left the building around midnight.  You’d think that was a pretty long time for 8 photographs, but our photographer, Scott Pease (www.peasephotography.com) was very detailed and intent in getting us the best shots possible. As the human eye is so much more sophisticated than a camera lens, we are able to easily discern details on lighting fixtures, whereas the camera often turns them into blobs of light. Scott brought his laptop and checked every exposure before the final bracketing shots to make sure we would get the details and contrast we needed.

Along with getting sneak peeks of the final images, I spent the rest of the evening with Scott’s assistant straightening tables, and lampshades, pushing chairs in, and moving trash cans out of the shot. After all pictures are taken, we restore the space and then the same scenario happens in the next space. It’s a lot of “hurry up and wait”, but the final images look fantastic.

Thanks again Scott!

Universal Design Living Laboratory

image from:  www.udll.com

Last year I was approached with a rare opportunity to be part of a very unique team for the Universal Design Living Laboratory.  

What makes the project unique is that is being built from the ground up with the facets of universal design as the main unifying factor for all disciplines involved.  Not only that, but, it is also going to be a “living laboratory”, meaning open for guests to tour and better understand the goals of universal design.  The project Owners are Rosemarie Rosetti and Mark Leder. Rosemarie suffered a spinal cord injury years ago leaving here in a wheelchair and since then has devoted herself to speaking out to the world on universal design.

As a Lighting Designer, what does Universal Deign mean to me?  Small things that can be a big impact to the ease of someone living there, like locating switches and receptacles within reach of anyone in a wheelchair. Think about the kitchen and how you might reach a light switch located over a standard height/width countertop if you were in a wheelchair.  By keeping the goal of the space in mind, we were able to make small adjustments that will hugely impact the owner.  We made sure light fixtures were fully shielded and won’t provide higher angles of glare to those in seated positions. We specified light switches and dimmers with larger buttons or paddle style switches for ease of use for anyone with limited tactile ability. These are all pretty simple things to accomplish, if you think about it.

Along the basis of more thoughtful design, the Owners then decided to also build green. The house is hoping for a LEED Gold rating .  Within that avenue, we are tackling new ground through the integration of newly developed LED products. I have tested dozens here in my office to determine what will actually work and feel appropriate to a residential living space and meet our energy goals. I had a lot of reasons for looking at LED vs. fluorescent, most were not energy efficiency related, rather lighting quality related. Out goals were to achieve the “instant on” when a switch is turned on, rather than deal with the warm up time of compact fluorescent products. It is also allowing us an opportunity to dim with a fuller dimming curve then the fluorescent would have allowed and hopefully provide a much longer lamp life. Along their energy goals, we are hoping to power the exterior lighting with photovoltaic panels.  It has been a great opportunity to embrace current design trends and see how far we can go.

Ground-breaking was September 23, 2009 and much of the framing is already in place.

I have not been alone working on this project, I wanted to note that, along with Tec, the Universal Design Living Laboratory has over 100 corporate sponsors who see the value this project has to offer the public. If you get a chance, stop by the website at www.udll.com to see the progress made so far and those involved.

IES Progress Report

The January 2009 Lighting Design + Application (LD+A) is available now.  Check out the Progress Report for information of accepted products, publications, and applications of progressive and innovative new technology.  I serve on the committee that reviewed over 250 submissions this year. The committee’s mission is to keep in touch with developments in the art and science of lighting throughout the world.

“The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) is the recognized technical authority on illumination. For over 100 years; its objective has been to communicate information on all aspects of good
lighting practice to its members, to the lighting community, and to consumers, through a variety of programs, publications, and services.”

The Lighting Profession is Speaking Up!

In 2007 Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. The legislation was created to foster energy independence and encourage production of more efficient technology. Unfortunately, the Act, in effect, also bans the incandescent lamp as we know it. The Act mandates efficiencies that currently have not yet been achievable with an incandescent source by any manufacturers.  The efficiency standards will be phased in starting in 2012 with additional limits set in 2014 and 2020. The legislation promotes the use of less flexible technologies such as self-ballasted compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs. The self-ballasted screw-in CFL’s have a lower color rendering index than the incandescent lamps they are replacing, they are not fully dimmable, many cannot be used in universal operating positions and the optics are completely different - meaning lumen to lumen, they just don’t match up. LED’s are still in their infancy, and the industry has just started to develop standards and testing methods for solid state lighting. LED’s by nature are a point source and are not be the best fit for all general lighting applications. Not to mention the lack of standards for dimming and replacement. By 2012, the EISA standards will be mandatory. New amendments for further efficiency requirements have already been proposed for additional lamp types.

As the country moves toward creating a sound energy policy, more legislation of the lighting industry has occurred. The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) organized the Energy & Sustainability Committee as a method to participate in the process.  “The E & S Committee’s purpose is to provide the expertise of IALD lighting designers to address lighting-related aspects of sustainable design and operations of the built environment. The work of the committee will be tested against the IALD’s definition of Sustainable Lighting Design: Sustainable lighting design meets the qualitative needs of the visual environment with the least impact on the natural environment.”  Committee members serve on the review boards for ASHRAE, IECC and LEED and actively review new legislation in draft forms.  In the past year, the committee has presented a position statement on the Federal Energy Bill - Standards for Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting; and the IALD has signed a partnership to work with the US Department of Energy to “work cooperatively toward improving the efficient use of energy by lighting equipment and systems”.

As a lighting designer, I do believe, that a lighting system can only be sustainable if it truly satisfies not just energy requirements, but meets the qualitative needs of the occupants and creates harmony with the architecture. Examples of this persist and can be easily seen where office workers have removed the fluorescent tubes from the parabolics overhead. Studies and research in the field of lighting have taught us that better lighting improves worker efficiency and promotes a feeling of positive well-being.  But if the toolkit keeps getting smaller, the challenge to meet our directives of thoughtful and sustainable lighting become more and more difficult.

As a member of the IALD Energy & Sustainability committee, I will be traveling to Washington, DC to meet with the offices of Senate and House members serving on the Energy and Commerce committees and additional subcommittees.  I will be joined by fellow IALD E&S committee member and Lighting Designer, David Ghatan of CM Kling & Associates from Alexandria, VA and the IALD’s Policy Director John Martin.  Our goal is to foster a dialogue between IALD Lighting Designers and our elected officials, to create a partnership with a sustainable future we can all benefit from. Stay tuned for updates from our initial meeting.