GE, Lithonia Lighting want better school lighting

GE Lighting, Cleveland and Lithonia Lighting, Atlanta, have combined efforts to help schools improve their classroom lighting quality and cut energy costs by as much as 50%. The information-delivery vehicle for this new effort is a website at
   According to the press release: “Better quality, more controllable and efficient lighting is an investment that ought to be on the radar screens of school districts across the U.S. this year. Superintendents, business managers, and school boards can take a meaningful step toward extraordinary, lasting lighting energy savings—and improved, more flexible learning environments—by visiting”

GE and Lithonia's website is a new resource aimed at helping schools improve lighting and cut energy costs.

   The site provides a spectrum of information about how schools can improve lighting energy efficiency. It features a lighting audit request form tied to the introduction of energy-efficient Class Pack Lighting Systems from GE Lighting and Lithonia Lighting. By installing Class Pack Lighting Systems, schools can reduce annual lighting-related energy costs as much as 50%.
   “We want to help school districts across the country understand the significant opportunity that today’s energy-efficient lighting systems can provide,” said Jason Raak, a marketing manager with GE’s lighting business. “Recent new product advancements make current high-performance lighting far superior to systems installed just five years ago, and payback periods are shorter than ever.”
   Qualified school representatives can use to request a school or district-wide energy audit (restrictions apply). Visitors to the site will see a host of supporting statistics and details on how school executives can reduce the cost to renovate facilities by using NEMA premium ballasts and CEE qualified HPT8 lamps which, in many regions, can defray initial costs through utility rebate eligibility.
   The Class Pack Lighting Systems combine high-light-output, full-spectrum fluorescent lighting with a ballast system that delivers customized lighting levels on a two-lamp platform. With fewer, longer-life components, it minimizes maintenance and lamp replacement costs. It’s designed for fast, easy installation after school is out for the day or during summer renovations.
   “We think provides school districts with many of the resources needed to make smart financial decisions about lighting and energy savings,” said Monik Mehra, director of marketing, Lithonia Lighting. “It’s a vital tool at a time when school districts have to do more with less, while striving to improve the quality of their students’ learning experience.”—Gary L. Parr

A new idea in LED lighting

Redwood Systems launched its network-based technology for LED lighting and building-performance systems in March. The new technology  is based on the idea that LED lighting presents opportunity to create a unified network-based digital platform for smart buildings, helping building owners and designers reduce energy costs while providing control and automation in commercial lighting never before possible.
   At Lightfair last week, Commercial Building Products asked executive Jeremy Stieglitz to demonstrate the product. By combining three typically discrete systems (power, communications, sensors) into one low-voltage networked system, Redwood says its platform “will make smart buildings vastly simpler, easier, and lower cost to own and operate.”
   Redwood Systems’ CEO is Dave Leonard,  formerly general manager of Cisco’s Ethernet Switching Business Unit. Mark Covaro, Redwood’s CTO, is the former principal power design engineer for Cisco’s widely deployed power-over-Ethernet platform.
   “Redwood’s vision is to use LED lighting’s low voltage to power not just lighting, but create a digital network to manage and efficiently optimize lighting, heating, venting, air conditioning, plug loads, window shading, and just about everything else that uses power in a building,” said Leonard. “Using a network-based platform approach, we will deliver smart lighting systems that revolutionize how lights, and buildings, are powered, controlled, and optimized.” —Jim Carper

Cool thing at Lightfair: WAC’s OLED chandelier

WAC Lighting's SOL OLED chandelier.

What did I see at Lightfair that was new? Though there’s one day left, the most intriguing product so far is the SOL OLED (organic LED) chandelier being shown by WAC Lighting, Garden City, NY.
   The chandelier features ORBEOS OLED Lighting from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Sunnyvale, CA. The circular satellite OLED panels rotate up, for indirect lighting, or tilt down to comfortably illuminate the surface below, or faces around a table. A central downlight also provides supplemental lighting on a tabletop.
   Exceptionally thin (2.1 millimeters), the OLED panels distribute quality light with solid color rendering (CRI 75) and a warm color temperature (2800K). ORBEOS panels are fully dimmable and deliver a uniform area of glare-free light. The SOL chandelier is crafted of aluminum and finished in black nickel. It is 18.5 inches in diameter and 2.2 inches tall.
   “SOL, our new decorative chandelier, is our first complete OLED fixture introduction,” said Shelley Wang, president of WAC Lighting. “We believe that the inconceivably thin, curved planes of the complete design, and the incorporated glare-free adjustable organic LED panels, will capture considerable attention.”
   Soft light from the ORBEOS panels is incorporated into the design and requires no additional light control from lenses or reflectors that traditionally result in a 10% to 40% loss in efficiency. ORBEOS light panels achieve energy efficiency without the use of heavy metals or other rare-earth materials commonly used in other energy-efficient sources. The OLEDs are made of layers of carbon-based materials that self-illuminate in various colors when energized, without having an impact on the environment.—Gary L. Parr

Stuttgart, Germany project wins GE Edison Award

The 2009 GE Edison Award was presented to Andreas Schulz and Alexander Rotsch of Licht Kunst Licht AG (Bonn, Germany) for lighting EnBW City in Stuttgart, Germany.

The 2009 GE Edison Award was presented to Andreas Schulz and Alexander Rotsch of Licht Kunst Licht AG (Bonn, Germany) for lighting EnBW City, Stuttgart, Germany. A personalized Steuben crystal award for the 27th-annual lighting design competition was presented by GE Lighting on May 11, 2010 in Las Vegas. The GE Edison Award competition is open to those lighting professionals who creatively employ significant use of GE light sources (lamps and/or LEDs) in a lighting design project completed during the previous calendar year.
   Light is energy, and energy is the business of EnBW, the third largest supplier of power, gas, and water in Germany. Energy is made tangible throughout their new headquarters complex, the EnBW City, designed by architect Lars Klatte from the firm RKW Rhode Kellermann Wawrowsky.
   Inside the entry hall, a luminous cloud of polished aluminum wire and innumerable xenon light points defines the visual center of the space. Complemented by two water feature walls, it forms a narrative approach to the theme of energy. The mirrored surfaces of the glass and water enhance the brilliance of the space.
   Full glazing allows plenty of daylight into the entry hall. Grouped in sets of four, downlights with GE 70-watt ConstantColor CMH T6 3000K ceramic-metal-halide lamps are attached to the roof structure and provide light and shadow. The concept of strongly directional light is continued in the waiting area. Reflected light from floor surfaces brightens ceilings and the underside of the connecting bridge. GE T5 Starcoat Ecolux 3500K fluorescent lamps, mounted in the stair stringers, provide a functional layer of light while accentuating the shape of the stairway.
   An additional Forum building houses meeting rooms and a staff cafeteria, arranged around a four-story atrium. To emphasize the height of the space, tight rows of GE 35-watt CMH T6 ceramic-metal-halide lamps, housed within an in-ground trough, graze monolithic service ducts. A string of downlights at the roof structure crowns the lighting effect and continues the strong directional lighting theme established in the entry hall and waiting area.
   The lighting design exemplifies architectural integration and more than meets strict European regulations for power consumption.
   Visit to view all of the 2009 GE Edison Awards winners in more detail and to find information related to the 2010 GE Edison Awards.—Gary L. Parr

Bridgelux, Molex Win Top Honor

Bridgelux and Molex won the “Most Innovative Product Of The Year” award for the Helieon Sustainable Light Module System at the 2010 Lightfair, Las Vegas. Jason Posselt, vp marketing for Bridgelux, explains the product in this video shot by Commercial Building Products.

The sights and lights of Spain

Last month, I attended the Cevisama tile show in Valencia, Spain. In addition to looking at Spanish ceramic tile, I photographed some interesting light fixtures there and in Granada. Enjoy. — Jim Carper

Hotel Palacio de los Patos, Granada, Spain

Hotel Palacio de los Patos, Granada, Spain

Chandelier in a Cevisama booth

Chandelier in a Cevisama booth

Street lamp, Granada, Spain

Street lamp, Granada, Spain

Library in the Andalucia Museum of Memory, Granada

Library in the Andalucia Museum of Memory, Granada

A fish tale

Exterior of Rock 'n Fish restaurant at the LA Live entertainment complex in Los Angeles

Rock ‘n roll I get. Same deal with fish ‘n chips. But Rock ‘n Fish? As the name of a restaurant? When a press release crossed my desk (e-mail inbox, actually) about Rock ‘n Fish, and I said, “OK, I’ll take the bait” (so to speak). I opened up the message and looked at the jpegs. The light fixtures grabbed me. I was hooked.
Rock ‘n Fish is a restaurant at the L.A. Live Entertainment Campus in Los Angeles. The 5.6-million-square-foot mixed-use development is on 27 acres, covering more than six blocks in the city’s South Park district. The Art Deco-style complex includes broadcast studios, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, bowling lanes, music clubs, and a music museum.
For his fine-dining restaurant, owner Michael Zislis wanted to match the architecture of L.A. Live. Zislis and designer Larry Drasin of Beverly Hills created their own intepretation of Art Deco inside Rock ‘n Fish. Toward that end, they wanted one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures.
“We had a preliminary design completed,” Drasin said. “But we counted on the expertise and experience of Sunset Design to take our artistic ideas and make the work as lighting.”
Sunset Designs, South El Monte, CA, works in most media, including crystal, silk, and metal (brass, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, wrought iron and many more).

dining-room at Rock 'n Fish LA Live entertainment complex. Lighting fixture designed an manufactured by Sunset Designs South El Monte CA

“We gave them the working drawings and they engineered the fabrication. It was a piece of cake,” Zislis said.
That would be “crabcake,” I assume. —Jim Carper 



DC power: Coming soon to an office near you

There’s a movement underfoot to bring DC power to commercial building interiors. Members of the EMerge Alliance agreed upon a standard, but the announcement last month didn’t make much of a splash in the press. To tell you the truth, I put the press release aside until this week when I spoke with alliance chair Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries. He filled me in on the year-old organization, the work it is doing, and the implications of this standard. EMerge Alliance Standard Flow Chart For instance, building owners soon could find it easier to reconfigure space for new tenants.  Instead of rewiring a floor, owners can plug light fixtures into the ceiling grid. They’ll move fixtures around as easily as furniture. Facility managers will be able to integrate native wind energy into their buildings without first converting it to alternating current.
The statement from the alliance said the standard establishes a more efficient means of powering digital, DC-powered devices, such as sensors, lighting, and IT equipment. It creates an integrated, open platform for power, interior infrastructures, controls, and peripheral devices to facilitate the hybrid use of AC and DC power within buildings.
EMerge Alliance members favor the use of 24-V DC power, which allows for a “plug and play” approach to rewiring, said Patterson. He added that low voltage no longer equates to low performance.
Founding members are Armstrong World Industries, Johnson Controls, Nextek Power Systems, Osram Sylvania, and Worthington Armstrong Venture. Convia, Creston Electronics, Herman Miller, Lutron Electronics, Southern California Edison, Steelcase, and Tyco Electronics are among the participating members. The not-for-profit organization seeks additional members.
The alliance is establishing a third-party registration and evaluation program for labeling products based on the standard. The program is scheduled to begin this fall. Standard-compliant devices will be branded with the EMerge designation.
Check out the EMerge Alliance website for more informational, including a 3-minute instructional video. If you are attending Greenbuild in Phoenix next week, stop by the Alliance’s booth 2252. — Jim Carper

Why don’t we fix our lights?

“Lighting is the single largest user of electricity in commercial buildings. It accounts for 38% of the electric bill—more than cooling, heating, and equipment. If you walk around a commercial building, you see why: The lights are too bright, they’re on for too long, and they illuminate vacant spaces.”
   Those two sentences are the opening paragraph of the Building Power feature that appears in our September issue, mailing Tuesday. I’d be willing to bet the $10 in my pocket that that paragraph describes 90% of the commercial buildings that are in use on any given day.
   Our concept of commercial building lighting is so antiquated, so ineffective, and so wasteful, that essentially all of it should be scrapped. We have lighting technology available to us today that will chop chunks of money out of our energy bills and do it with a rather short ROI, but we aren’t using it. Why don’t we see a nationwide effort to improve workspace lighting and cut energy costs?.—Gary L. Parr

Cherokees to light town with Lumec LEDs

Philips Lumec, Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, has announced that members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of western North Carolina have chosen LED lighting solutions to illuminate  their downtown streetscapes. In doing so, they clearly place Cherokee, NC, a town of 14,500 residents located on the south end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in a select group of communities choosing environmentally responsible LED lighting technologies.
   The Band chose the LifeLED product, manufactured by Philips Lumec, as the light source for their downtown streetscapes.
   “We’re dramatically upgrading both the technology and the overall look of our community,” said Damon Lambert, transportation planner, Cherokee Dept. of Transportation.  “Most importantly, we’re estimating a savings of about $23,000 annually with the LED system.  So, in spite of some additional front-end cost, the estimated payback is well within the expected life of the system. We felt the investment to be a wise one for now and the future.  We considered 250-W metal-halide lamps initially, but when we saw the performance of the LED system it quickly became the preferred option.”
   Working in concert with Proctor Hodge Architecture, Cherokee, NC, and Hodge & Associates, Knoxville, TN, to upgrade the community’s 40+ year-old existing lighting system, the first three phases of the LED lighting system are to be installed by late summer, 2009.—Gary L. Parr