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Unlocking the Potential of Smart Cities

Agostino Renna, President & CEO of GE Lighting for Europe, The Middle East and Africa, recently authored an interesting series of blog posts, “More Than Light,” in which he describes the potential for intelligent cities and the role of lighting in these schemes. He notes:

“For me, the most important thing to consider when discussing the future of intelligent cities – and GE’s role within that – is that we are not constrained by technology. The technology is available, commercially viable, and it delivers the right outcome. But where the market needs to change is in the area of courage. We are still following convention, using old processes to solve new generation problems.”

Click here to read these thoughtful blog posts.

For more information about GE Lighting, visit www.gelighting.com.

Daintree Networks Named 2014 Red Herring Top 100 Global Winner

Daintree Networks has been selected as a winner of the Red Herring Top 100 Global award, recognizing the leading private companies from North America, Europe, and Asia today and celebrating these startups’ innovations and technologies. Finalists presented their winning strategies at the Red Herring Global forum in Los Angeles, Calif., November 18-20, 2014. Daintree Networks Vice President of Marketing and Channels Mandeep Khera delivered the presentation for the company. The Top 100 winners were announced at a special awards ceremony on Thursday, November 20.

Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated the companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, management quality, strategy and market penetration. This assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the track records and standing of startups relative to their peers, allowing Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models from around the world.

For more information about Daintree Networks, visit www.daintree.net.

Hubbell Outdoor Lighting Adds Motion Sensor Option to LED Wallpack Family

hubbellHubbell Outdoor Lighting’s LNC2 LED wallpack now features a motion sensor option to enhance energy savings, safety and security.

Available with two sensor options, the upgraded LNC2 LED wallpack now delivers even greater control and energy savings. The SCO option features an ON/OFF sensor, while the SCP option offers a programmable sensor with adjustable time delay and dimming level and Integral Photocell (SCP-REMOTE accessory is required to program in the field).

With a typical mounting height of 15 feet with 50-60 foot fixture spacing, the LNC2 delivers maximum perimeter illumination for safety, security and identity. The LNC2 also comes standard with quick mount that allows for simple mounting without having to open the fixture.

Click here to learn more.

For more information about Hubbell Building Automation, visit www.hubbell-automation.com.

Lutron’s Commercial Energy Codes, Controls and LEDs Seminar Helps Customers Design, Specify and Install Lighting Controls

Lutron Electronics will visit 10 major markets in 2015 with a brand new seminar that will help electrical contractors and engineers better meet the increasingly diverse demands of customers, while complying with rapidly-changing energy codes. The Commercial Energy Codes, Controls and LEDs Seminar will present attendees with impactful information and tools that will dramatically simplify the design, specification and installation of LED lighting controls in an increasingly energy-regulated world.

National, state and local energy legislation is constantly changing making it challenging for industry professionals to stay on top of the latest direction of energy codes and energy-saving products. Electrical contractors and engineers are working on more and more major renovation and new commercial construction projects demanding that they be at the forefront of energy efficient products, including LED lighting control systems. Understanding the great need for information and guidance in this area, Lutron created the Commercial Energy Codes, Controls and LEDs Seminar to provide customers with information they can trust to help grow their businesses.

The free half-day seminar will feature two workshops:

· Codes & Standards – to clarify the core energy code requirements with real world terminology and examples.

· Controlling LEDs – to explain LED controls, how they operate, what makes them different and review best practices for delivering profitable, world-class LED control projects. Attendees of this workshop will have the opportunity to earn one American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credit.

During each seminar, attendees will have the opportunity to meet the Lutron team and learn about new energy-saving products and tools at a Technology Showcase that will run throughout the day. Attendees will also receive a Lutron Caséta® Wireless starter kit to experience wireless LED controls in their homes.

Lutron’s Commercial Energy Codes, Controls & LEDs Seminar will visit 10 major markets starting in March:

1. Washington, D.C. – March 3
2. New York – March 10
3. Miami – March 12
4. Houston – March 24
5. Dallas – March 26
6. Boston – March 31
7. San Francisco – April 21
8. Los Angeles – April 23
9. Chicago – May 14
10. Atlanta – May 21

To get more information about or to attend one of the seminars, contact your local Lutron Representative or email Jill Mondin here.

For more information about Lutron Electronics Co., visit www.lutron.com.

Cree Adds Intelligent Color to SmartCast Technology

creeCree, Inc. has introduced field adjustable color temperature for SmartCast™ Technology-enabled CR Series LED troffers, delivering a dynamic and customizable lighting experience for building managers and occupants. The first of Cree’s industry-leading luminaires to feature instantly adjustable color temperatures, Cree’s groundbreaking SmartCast Technology combined with its TrueWhite® Technology allow for superior color quality and consistency while providing greater flexibility to control illumination at no additional cost.

In combination with the intuitive SmartCast Technology, Cree luminaires featuring field adjustable color temperature enhance commercial building design by eliminating the need to decide on color temperature at the onset of installation. With the ability to choose from 3000K to 5000K in 500K increments, SmartCast Technology-enabled CR Series LED troffers enable the use of only one troffer type in any space regardless of lighting preference. The result is simplified specification, ordering and installation with an energy-saving lighting-control system.

The CR Series LED troffers with SmartCast Technology offering field adjustable CCT are sold through Cree lighting sales channels throughout the United States and Canada. Click here to learn more.

For more information about Cree, visit www.cree.com/smartcast.

Lighting Control Rebates Stay Strong

According to BriteSwitch, for the fifth year in a row, lighting control rebates continue to remain at fairly high, stable levels compared to their costs. For example, current average rebates now available include:

* $32.68 for remote-mounted occupancy sensors
* $30.30 for fixture-mounted occupancy sensors

BriteSwitch reports:

“The relatively high rebate amounts (versus the cost), make them an easy add on to any energy efficiency project. For example, a warehouse upgrading their old metal halide fixtures to fluorescent fixtures can add a fixture-mounted occupancy sensor at a minimal additional cost after the rebates.”

Cree Selected by Fast Company Among the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2015

Fast Company Magazine has ranked Cree, Inc. among the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies worldwide. In addition to that distinction, the company has also been ranked number one in Fast Company’s annual Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Energy list. Cree has distinguished itself as a leader in LED technology.

Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March 2015) is now available online here.

For more information about Cree, visit www.cree.com/smartcast.

2015 Nonresidential Construction Forecast: Growth Across All Markets

The overall economy continues to improve, with all major economic indicators signaling a trajectory of continuing growth. GDP ended 2014 very strongly, with forecasts calling for 3% growth in 2015. Business confidence reached a level of 61, signaling average belief in expansionary business conditions.

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Economic conditions are supporting growth in demand for construction activity, particularly for nonresidential buildings. The nonresidential construction sector is now looking at double-digit increases in 2015, led by vigorous levels of demand for hotels and office buildings.

The AIA’s semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters, projects that nonresidential construction spending increase 7.7% in 2015.

Lighting industry performance in 2014

The National Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA) Lighting Systems Index increased 1.9% from the second to the third quarters of 2014, climbing to its highest level to date in calendar year 2014. The index posted a gain of 4.1% on a year-over-year basis. Shipments of emergency lighting, fixtures, and miniature lamps improved during the quarter; however, ballast and large lamp shipments fell.

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NEMA’s shipment index for T12 lamps bested the previous two quarters by advancing 8.6% from the second quarter to the third. In contrast, shipments of T5 and T8 lamps decreased by 6.6% and 11.1%, respectively. All three indexes are in negative territory on a year-over-year basis for 2014 through the third quarter. T12 lamps secured an increase in market share for the quarter posting a gain of 3.2% to reach a share of 22.2%. The share of T5 lamps was unchanged at 10%. Meanwhile, the market share for T8 lamps decreased to 67.8%.

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High intensity discharge (HID) lamp shipments, as measured by NEMA’s HID indexes, showed quarterly declines in two of the three lamp types. Sodium- and mercury-vapor lamps slipped 8.9% and 10.9%, respectively, from the second quarter to the third quarter. Only the index for metal halide increased during the quarter, posting a modest gain of 2%. Shipments of metal halide lamps increased 2.7% to a share of 63.5% of the HID market. The market share for sodium vapor lamps slipped to 32.7%, a decline of 2.3 percentage points. Mercury vapor lamps decreased by 0.4 points to a share of 3.8%.

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NEMA’s index for compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) shipments registered a year-over-year decline of 14.5% in the third quarter of 2014 despite a modest quarterly increase of 1.5%. For the first three quarters of 2014, the CFL index decreased 13.1% compared to the same period last year. The shipments index for incandescent A-line lamps posted a decline of 62.9% (q/q). In contrast, shipments of LED A-line and halogen A-line lamps continued to grow, showing quarterly gains of 53.8% and 37.7%, respectively. The proliferation of halogen A-line lamp shipments, and subsequent decline in shipments of incandescent A-line lamps, has resulted in an increase in market share for halogen A-line lamps. Halogen A-line lamps captured a share of 39.9% during the quarter, second only to CFLs, which continued to hold a narrow lead with a 41.1% share. The share of LED lamp shipments was 5.1%, an increase of 2 percentage points. Incandescent A-line lamps fell nearly 20 points to a share of 13.6%.

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2014 Construction Spending

Growth in construction spending in 2014 continued to outpace the U.S. economy. Estimated total put-in-place construction spending—actual numbers, not seasonally adjusted—grew at a healthy 5.6% in 2014. The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast for 2014 had predicted a growth rate of 5.8%.

Based on year-end numbers at the Commerce Department, total put-in-place construction spending reached $961.4 billion in 2014. This rate was slower than previous increases of 7.1% for 2013 and 9.2% for 2012, however.

In 2013, the residential market saw the biggest gains, as a robust market for apartments and single-family houses outweighed downturns in private nonresidential and public projects. In 2014, private nonresidential construction saw the biggest gains, with spending achieving a level of $337 billion, 10.5% increase over 2013. Residential construction was $355.2 billion, a 3.4% increase.

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The nonresidential building market was hamstrung by weather-related delays during the first part of the 2014, but conditions improved dramatically throughout the rest of the year to finish with greater than anticipated spending levels. Overall nonresidential construction was $606.2 billion, an increase of 6.6%. Public nonresidential spending was $269.2 billion, a 2.1% increase, demonstrating a modest turnaround after posting a 2% decrease in 2013. Below are five major nonresidential construction markets. All showed increases in total put-in-place construction in 2014 except for healthcare (-6.2%). The office market grew 18.9%, manufacturing 15.1%, commercial 11.9% and education less than 1%.

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“For the first time in nearly a decade there was growth in all three major construction segments-public, private nonresidential and residential,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “If the president and Congress can work out a way to pay for long-term investments in our aging infrastructure, there is a good chance this pattern will repeat in 2015.”

Current Construction Indicators

As a leading indicator of construction activity, the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Architecture Billing Index, or ABI, reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.
With the exception of March and April, the ABI stayed above 50 throughout the year, indicating an increase in billings and signaling an expansionary market for design services. The year ended on a positive score of 58.2. Regionally, the South (56.8), West (52.9) and Midwest (50.8) has a more optimistic outlook than the Northeast (45.5). The multifamily residential (55.7), institutional (52.5) and commercial/industrial (51.2) indices suggested growth, while the mixed-practice sector rating (45.8) suggests contraction. The new projects inquiry index was 58.2.

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“Business conditions continue to be the strongest at architecture firms in the South and the Western regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn.”

The electrical industry overall expressed optimism about current economic conditions throughout most of 2014.The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) for current conditions in North America stayed at or above a score of 50 for every month except January. The December score was 50, with one-quarter of the panelists reporting conditions improving during the month and the same share reporting they declined. Half the panelists reported no change in conditions between November and December.

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December’s EBCI for future North American conditions remained above the 50-point break even mark but retreated to 65. Half of December’s panelists expect the business environment to improve over the next six months compared to 20% who expect it to decline. Thirty percent of panelists expect conditions to remain largely unchanged from the end of 2014 in the first half of 2015.

Meanwhile, 80% of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2015 while only 7% expect to reduce headcounts, according to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. The survey, conducted as part of Ready to Hire Again: The 2015 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, indicates that most contractors are optimistic about the year ahead and ready to expand, but will have to cope with challenges including worker shortages and regulatory burdens.

“Contractors are extremely optimistic about the outlook for 2015,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Indeed, if their predictions prove true, industry employment could expand this year by the most in a decade.”

AIA Consensus Forecast Predicts Growth for the Nonresidential Construction Market

The AIA’s semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters, is projecting that spending will see a 7.7% increase in 2015.

“This is the first time since the Great Recession that every major building category is projected to see increases in spending,” said Baker of the AIA. “But by far, the most significant driver that will fuel greater expansion in the marketplace is the revival in the institutional sector, especially with growing demand for new healthcare and education facilities, which alone traditionally account for a third of spending on new building construction.”

The improvement trend is expected to strengthen even further in 2016, with the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast projecting an 8.2% increase in nonresidential construction spending.

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Source: AIA Consensus Construction Forecast, calculated as an average of all forecasts provided by the panelists that submit forecasts for each of the above building categories: McGraw-Hill Construction, IHS-Global Insight, Moody’s Economy.com, FMI, Reed’s Construction Data and Associated Builders and Contractors.

Oklahoma River Lighting Project Wins IES Lighting Control Innovation Award of Merit

The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective application of lighting controls in nonresidential spaces.

This month, we will explore the role that lighting controls play in controlling river lighting for nighttime watercraft, a project commissioned by the City of Oklahoma City. Lighting control design by William B. Gilbreath, Lighting Designer and Caleb Gutshall, Lighting Designer for Garver. Photography by Bart Gilbreath, PE, LEED AP and EI Garver. Lighting controls by Crestron Electronic, Inc.

The scope of the control system design was to control 12 poles with dozens of lights on each pole to create an environment usable for nighttime watercraft events on the river.

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The wireless system utilizes input from an HMI touchscreen located with the master control system in the river’s Finish Line Tower or via an application for wireless PDA’s. This allows for race administrators to control the lighting during events or coaches to control the lights during practice while on the river.

Click image to see larger in new window

Click image to see larger in new window

The system uses an industry standard DMX512 protocol that is expandable for future lighting needs on the river. The HMI screen provides a maintenance view that allows the Owner to view runtime of each circuit, lamp life used, and last maintenance performed to assist with planning events and maintenance.

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The wireless network is a self-healing mesh network communicating between the transmitting antenna and each service point using spread spectrum radios. At each service point contactors control on/off functionality of each pole’s two circuits.

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The benefit of using the mesh self-healing network is if one service point loses communication with the transmitting antenna it can then receive its signal from another service point.

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In order to maximize lamp life and minimize energy usage, the system was designed to allow various zonal controls and stepped dimming at each pole. Each pole utilizes 2 circuits integrated into the control architecture to provide the full (event) or half (practice) light level. The control system intelligently cycles between two circuits for the half level on each light pole to maximize the lamp life based on the system keeping track of burn hours of each circuit.

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The master control system in the Finish Line Tower communicates via fiber optics to the transmitting antenna. This antenna sends out the wireless signal to each service point.

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LCA TV: Cree’s SmartCast Lighting Control Technology

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2014 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces the building industry to Cree’s SmartCast lighting controls for LED lighting systems. Click here to learn more.

For more information about Cree, visit www.cree.com/smartcast.