LED's and the upcoming GovEnergy conference

I've spent the last few days putting together the finishing touches on a LED presentation for the GovEnergy conference August8-10th. www.govenergy.com I am happy to be re-teaming with Jimalee Dakin, Visa Lighting to represent a version of our LED presentation from Lightfair 2 years ago. But with LED technology moving at such an incredible pace, there are always new things to add.

Some recent additions have included:
On Feb 15, 2011 The Energy Star program announced the first LED retrofit lamp (designed to replace the 60w A19) had achieved full "Energy Star Qualified" listing.

On February 16, 2011, the EPA announced the Energy Star Luminaire Specification V.1.0 to assist in indentifying product that meets a specific set of criteria determined to be acceptable by Energy Star. You can visit the site at www.energystar.gov/luminaires.
February was apparently a very busy month as the ZHAGA Consortium (an industry organization for the standarization of LED light engines) released their first set of standardized specifications for a "Scocketable LED light engine with integrated control gear" on February 11, 2011.
This particular specification describes the interfaces of a downlight engine standard. The specifications are only available to ZHAGA members at this time, but will be available for download by the public at a later date. But the idea of standardization in the LED industry certainly has tremondous appeal and its exciting to hear progress on that front as well. You can check it out at www.zhagastandard.org.
And yet another update references the DOE's 12th round of CALiPER testing. CALiPER stands for Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting. Visit www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/about_caliper.html to view the document with the most recent independent tests run on a varied selection of currently available LED product.  I am sure there are more, but these are a few we recently noted and thought were definately worth sharing at the upcoming conference.

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.

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.