Learn How a Relighting Project in Cleveland became an Adventure into the Rainforest for Tec Project Team

LD+A, the magazine of Illumination Engineering Society (IES), explores a high profile project in University Circle and reveals the adventures and challenges that were overcome for the relighting of The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. A collaboration of Tec Inc. Engineering & Design and Tec Studio Inc., this was a unique opportunity for our team given the limited number of these types of facilities around the country. 

Read more on how the team made the Glasshouse sparkle again in LD+A's July issue.

Garden of Cleveland | LD+A; July 2018 (p. 37)

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. 

sea monkey bulb-pic.jpg

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.  

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.

Streetlight Study

The Lighting Research Center’s National Lighting Product Information Program has just published a Specifier Report on commercially available Steetlights used for collector roads. The results are pretty interesting considering all the LED hoopla we all have been subjected to in the industry over the past few years. Below is a take-off on the Abstract . . .
The organization purchased 14 streetlights (identified by a survey of Specifiers during 2009). Four of the streetlights were high pressure sodium (HPS), one was induction, one was pulse start metal halide (PSMH) and eight were LED. Using IES Recommended Practice guidelines in RP-8-00, the poles were laid out to meet required footcandle and contrast levels.

On average, the LED streetlights and the Induction streetlight could be spaced only about half the distance of the HPS and PSMH streetlights and still meet the IES RP-8-00 criteria. Meaning, a one to one replacement (as often suggested by manufacturers) may end up below acceptable light levels.

The Life Cycle cost is dominated by the initial product cost rather than the potential energy savings or maintenance cost and the other “more efficient” sources only offered 1% to 10% less power consumption per mile illuminated.

For further info, please check out the link below to the published document


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!

Laws, Standards & Codes OH MY!

I will be presenting at the next Illuminating Engineering Society program in Cleveland held on February 17, 2010 at 11:45 at Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Cleveland.

The presentation is Laws, Standards and Codes OH MY! These are current code topics that everyone in the lighting industry should be aware of when creating, supporting or supplying for a lighting design. For more information on the program, see the February Lumen Press.

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.