ALG Online was created with the help of 23 authors, leading experts in their field, including education, research, engineering, manufacturing, and design. This month, contributing author and lighting expert, Craig DiLouie shares his thoughts on the latest trends and topics in advanced lighting.
Trends to Watch in Lighting Controls
Regulations, the sustainable design movement and commercial building energy codes are promoting ever higher standards of high efficiency for lighting systems. While solid-state lighting develops, policy makers are now looking to lighting controls as the new low-hanging fruit available to achieve energy savings and reduce carbon emissions, with focus going beyond automatic shutoff and space controls and embracing daylight harvesting and bi-level lighting.
Meanwhile, as the smart grid develops, power suppliers will shift to real-time pricing with incentives to building owners to curtail load during emergency grid events increasing demand for dimmable lighting systems. Lighting designs based on best practice are highly controlled to avoid energy waste.
Beyond controls, the big opportunities for the lighting professions and high efficiency lighting are in green construction and relighting existing buildings. Green construction, driven by LEED, now required for public construction in some jurisdictions, is now being codified with California's CALGreen code and introduction and anticipated adoption of model sustainability codes such as ASHRAE 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).
The existing buildings market, however, represents the biggest opportunity. Many of these buildings were built to older lighting standards and prior to contemporary energy codes, resulting in use of obsolete lighting systems such as T12, over lighted spaces and no automatic shutoff control. Due to energy regulations that largely eliminated the magnetic T12 ballast by 2010 and most 4- and 8-foot linear T12 lamps by 2012, building owners will be forced to upgrade, and will have to choose between compliant electronic T8, T5 and T12 systems. Lighting professionals should advocate a comprehensive relighting approach that addresses issues such as glare, distribution, shadows and color, while saving energy not only through products but superior design and incorporating advanced lighting control.
With the rapid introduction of new technology, this is an exciting time to be in the lighting industry. But good design will always be king, especially now, as new rules and codes squeeze the watts out of lighting and make achieving quality lighting ever more difficult. Those designers that can distinguish themselves by being able to provide high levels of lighting quality for the lowest energy cost will thrive in today's challenging marketplace.
Craig DiLouie is the founder and principal of ZING Communications, which provides lighting industry-focused education, journalism, and marketing services. For more information, visit Craig’s blog and monthly newsletter at www.lightnowblog.com and www.lightsearch.com