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Acuity Brands Shines Light on Hospital Patient Rooms with New Entera™ LED Lighting Platform

acuityAcuity Brands, Inc. has introduced the Entera™ system from Healthcare Lighting®, a hospital lighting platform that marries LED illumination with integral controls to help enable the best in patient care. The multi-functional system can provide the appropriate level of energy-efficient lighting, at any time of the day.

Designed specifically for ambient and task lighting requirements in patient rooms, the Entera platform offers recessed (2×2, 2×4) and wall sconce options, each providing features and amenities that may enhance both hospital staff functionality and patient care/comfort.

In Caregiver Exam mode, Entera luminaires provide precision optics that direct up to 75 footcandles on the bed surface, along with the color accuracy to allow for effective observation. Patient/Guest Ambient mode uses four preset light levels (20, 50, 80 and 100 percent) that can be controlled from the patients’ beds in order for them to configure their own environments. Flicker-free, continuous dimming down to 1 percent is also available– which can bolster energy efficiency. Lastly, Nighttime mode provides low ambient light levels comfortable for sleeping, while enabling nurses and staff to move about or safely perform examinations.

The ambient section of Entera luminaires is driven by nLight®, a lighting control technology enabling plug-n-play networking with other nLight control devices, such as occupancy sensors, photocells and wall stations. nLight technology cost-effectively integrates time-based, daylight-based, sensor-based, and manual lighting controls. Designed to function standalone in an individual zone or networked together across an entire hospital, nLIGHT is an easy-to-use, easy-to-install system that can cut energy consumption and enhance occupant convenience.

Click here for more information on Entera and other Acuity Brands healthcare solutions.

For more information about Sensor Switch Inc., visit www.sensorswitch.com.

Daintree Networks Accepting Nominations for 2015 Energy Champion Awards

Daintree Networks®, a manufacturer and developer of open networked wireless control and operation solutions for smart buildings, recently announced that nominations are open for its annual Energy Champion Awards.

The awards were created to recognize the efforts of those in the industry that are openly driving awareness to save energy by using technologies and processes to reduce energy consumption in offices, warehouses, retail stores, and other commercial buildings. The winners will be selected by a panel of judges from the industry.

Nominations will close at 12 noon Pacific time on September 1, 2015.

Click here to recommend a candidate for an Energy Champion Award.

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

NEMA Publishes NEMA LSD 73-2015 Energy Savings with Fluorescent and LED Dimming

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) published NEMA LSD 73-2015, Energy Savings with Fluorescent and LED Dimming.

This new white paper describes the signal path from the user control input through the control wiring, ballast or driver, and lamp or LED module. It also explains factors that affect energy consumption and savings, efficacy and user experience at each stage.

NEMA LSD 73-2015 was developed by the Ballast and Drivers Section and the Lighting Controls Section. It discusses the relationship between the control input voltage and overall energy consumed by these ballasts and drivers.

NEMA LSD 73-2015 may be downloaded free here.

Demystify Energy Codes with Lutron’s Commercial Application Guides

Lutron Electronics has announced the availability of its free, online Commercial Application Guides that will dramatically simplify the process for electrical contractors and engineers to stay up to date with rapidly-changing U.S. energy codes.

Designed to provide customers with examples of how Lutron controls can be used to meet or exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2010, IECC 2012 and Title 24-2013 code requirements, the Lutron Commercial Application Guides lay out different spaces and explain the setup of each space and corresponding products in a simple and user-friendly way.

Click here to download it.

WattStopper’s Charles Knuffke on Lighting Control Retrofits

LCA: How would you characterize current and future demand for lighting controls in existing commercial buildings?

Knuffke: It is fragmented. While I travel around the country for work, I live in the Bay Area, so I’ve got a very California-based viewpoint of the situation. The new provisions in California’s Title 24 requires more controls in most every building space, but building owners and occupants often aren’t aware of the new mandates. Trying to navigate the path between what the code requires and what occupants and owners desire is not always easy.

LCA: What opportunities for lighting controls do retrofits involving LED luminaires make readily available compared to conventional lamp-ballast retrofits?

Knuffke: There are huge new opportunities tied to the LED luminaries. Most all manufactures of commercial LED products have an option to include a 0-10V dimming interface (if it’s not the standard in the device) which makes them readily able to be connected to energy saving devices. This opens up options for Partial On, Partial Off, Daylighting and Demand Response in addition to significantly higher personal control of the lighting.

LCA: A majority of LED luminaires are dimmable standard or as a standard option. What control opportunities does this create, and how does it affect the economics of these control options?

Knuffke: Same as I said before regarding opportunities. The economics are very positive, and because of that we’re seeing an almost wholesale movement away from fluorescent fixtures for general lighting in offices in California.

LCA: What controls are essential in a retrofit, and what become problematic to justify in terms of value, when LED lighting presents such a smaller load and therefore lower dollar energy cost savings?

Knuffke: Personal control of lighting levels is essential to avoid occupant issues in the space. Occupancy sensors of all different kinds – Vacancy, Partial On, and Partial Off – will continue to make sense for the long term. I do believe that Daylighting will be called into question more in small spaces since an individual will often set an appropriate level for their comfort when the fixtures are dimmable which challenges the savings potential for a daylighting system.

LCA: What new control opportunities do LED luminaire retrofits make available, such as color tuning?

Knuffke: Color tuning, or Human Centric Lighting, will provide significant new control opportunities as long as it meets the key requirements of being simple to set up and allow for an easy way for individuals to adjust when desired. The major obstacle right now is the lack of a standard controls protocol for color tuning fixtures. Think a lot of folks are hoping a standard becomes the clear choice quickly so as to eliminate the risk of installing these fixtures.

LCA: What are the major differences in how controls are applied to an LED luminaire retrofit, and what do distributors need to know to ensure a successful sale and installation?

Knuffke: The most important thing is understanding what the control method is for the dimmable fixtures, and also taking into account any unintended consequences of a retrofit. If an LED has a low running wattage but a significant inrush, that needs to be taken into account when determining the control devices wattage rating.

LCA: What is typically the role of onboard sensors and controllers versus external sensors and controllers in LED luminaire retrofits? What are the pros and cons of each?

Knuffke: Industry is still seesawing back and forth on this – some applications onboard sensors make a lot of sense, but in others they are overkill and a zone approach has a much better return on investment. I hear companies tout the reconfiguration capabilities with individually controlled fixtures, but if they’re going into spaces without dedicated and well trained facility engineers, who will have the technical acumen to use the software needed to reconfigure the space, it’s not a very compelling argument.

I think the winners will be companies that can offer both, because there’s no one size fits all solution.

LCA: LED luminaires have been touted as a platform for the Internet of Things because they can incorporate onboard sensors that measure temperature, occupancy, etc. What is the potential for lighting control software to be a platform for measuring and reporting these inputs?

Knuffke: I don’t think it’s a question of technology, but of user ability – who will be trained well enough to use these systems. Whenever I hear about the capability of embedded sensors I believe the speaker is thinking of Class A buildings and owner occupied sites, but what about all the small single story locations where there’s no facility engineer? What about your favorite local restaurant – do we think the data they can generate is actually so valuable to them that they’ll learn to use the system?

It’s a really interesting question, because on the mechanical side there’s a host of companies that take care of building HVAC systems. And they make a significant amount of their income based on service contracts. So the question is, will Lighting Companies try to do the same thing? Or will there be another group like local integrators who are much better at data analysis and providing custom solutions for building owners take over this responsibility?

On the other hand I’ve wondered why local utilities aren’t attempting to change their models and become more service oriented. They have relationships with everyone using power in their territories, and you’ve got to ask yourself what will the role of the utility be when zero net energy is no longer a dream but a reality for all new buildings.

LCA: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices and the world of controls in general?

Knuffke: It’s an amazing dichotomy – there are things that the ED channel sells that haven’t really changed in a generation or two, yet on the other shelves you’ve got solid state lighting products which are undergoing an unbelievable amount of change. Trying to stay up on the technology and the companies is a full time job. As a result you can’t be a little involved in lighting and do a good job – you’ve got to be fully immersed and willing to be open to new companies and products than ever before.

LCA: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about the role of lighting controls in LED luminaire-based retrofits, what would it be?

Knuffke: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. Energy codes have always been concerned with new construction, but the newer versions include very strict requirements for alterations and modifications-in-place. Concerning construction in California, I’ve said there’s no such thing as a small Tenant Improvement – the codes are looking at every chance to reduce lighting power usage in existing building stock.

LCA: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Knuffke: I would only add one thing, which is the concern I’ve heard from building owners about the sizable changes going on in lighting and controls. While we’ve become conditioned to buying a new phone or computer every couple of years, buildings are huge investments for a lot of folks, and they don’t want to worry about having to replace systems they’ve installed just a few years ago because a newer and better system is now available.

To assuage the worry they have about the amount of change going on, we should be looking on how we can standardize the lighting elements, protocols and devices we provide, which hopefully they would see as reduced risk for future investments.

For more information about WattStopper, visit www.wattstopper.com.

Higher Occupancy Sensor Resolution Promises Greater Savings

Occupancy sensors are a proven strategy to reduce lighting energy consumption. As such, they are mandated by commercial building energy codes.

Current codes require a maximum 30-minute time delay. Time delay is a field-adjustable setting that determines the amount of time between last detected occupancy and the lights switching or dimming. Newer codes may reduce that to 20 minutes.

Shorter time delays translate to higher energy savings. However, very short time delays can produce more frequent switching, which can shorten fluorescent lamp life. Meanwhile, longer time delays serve as insurance against nuisance switching by ensuring the space is truly unoccupied.

The advent of LED lighting creates an opportunity to increase energy savings by reducing time delays. LED sources are instant-ON and do not experience an appreciable reduction in lamp life due to frequent switching. Theoretically, time delay could be reduced to 5 minutes or less, though a majority of current sensors do not offer settings that low.

To address false triggering that leave occupants in the dark, multiple cheap sensors could be deployed to ensure reliable detection. This is a strong potential for that with networks of luminaire-integrated sensors installed in open office plans.

National Research Council Canada (NRC) put these ideas to the test in a simulation study of an ideal office lighting control system. Occupancy data was recorded in a space consisting of six 6×8 workstations in a windowless room over 10 days between 7 AM and 7 PM (12 hours). The lighting consisted of luminaires mounted over each workstation. NRC applied three control scenarios to this application:

Scenario #1: Timer Control. This benchmark scenario represents the traditional approach of centrally controlling all luminaires via scheduled ON/OFF, with the lights operating the full 12 hours. Energy consumption over the 10 days was calculated at 7.2 kWh.

Scenario #2: Adaptive Central Control. This scenario features central control but with a single local occupancy sensor set with a 10-minute time delay. The lights are ON from the time the first occupant arrives until the last occupant leaves. Energy use: 6.1 kWh, 15% energy savings compared to Scenario #1.

Scenario #3: Multiple Sensors and Time Delays: Each workstation has dedicated occupancy sensing. Time delays are set at 30 (Scenario #3a), 20 (3b), 10 (3c), 1 (3d) and zero (3e) minute(s). Multiple sensors for reliable detection are required at the lower time delay settings of 1 and zero minute(s).

NRC evaluated energy savings, comparing these options against Scenario #1, and found:

• Scenario 3a (30 minutes), 22% energy savings
• Scenario 3b (20 minutes), 26.4% energy savings
• Scenario 3c (10 minutes), 31.9% energy savings
• Scenario 3d (1 minute), 45.8% energy savings
• Scenario 3e (0 minutes), 48.6% energy savings

In “A Quick Timeout” (LD+A, December 2014), NRC researchers Dr. Erhan E. Dikel and Dr. Guy R. Newsham wrote, “Overall, Scenario 3-d seems like the best balance between maximizing savings, with some protection against false negatives.”

They added that a detailed cost analysis and human factors study of the acceptance of this frequency of switching are needed before application in a commercial building.

Regarding lamp life, shorter time delays are ideally suited to LED, though there may be potential for fluorescent. While shorter time delays results in more frequent switching, with associated reduction in lamp life, actual operating time is greatly reduced.

Deployment of LED lighting also provides another opportunity for greater resolution. The researchers offered a scenario where lighting is modularized within the workstation by task, with advanced sensing detecting not just occupancy, but also task being performed. The lighting would instantaneously raise and lower light levels based on location of the occupant and task.

The proliferation of LED lighting is opening the door to new energy-saving opportunities with occupancy sensors by reducing time delays.

Universal Announces New Everline Surge Protectors

Universal Lighting Technologies has added to its family of EVERLINE products with the new EVERLINE Surge Protectors, capable of managing a surge of up to 20kV.

Inserted between line voltage and the driver/module or ballast/lamp system, EVERLINE Surge Protectors provide system-wide protection, eliminating the need for internal fixture components that are rated to handle large spikes in input voltage.

While fixture components are designed to handle variations in input power, being connected directly to the main power lines introduces complications when it comes to power surges. Because lightning strikes, switching and other events can be far more severe directly on the power lines, these components need additional protection. The new EVERLINE Surge Protectors protect more sensitive components against line surges and transients.

EVERLINE Surge Protectors are C3 surge location rated, providing surge protection up to 20kV and are available for 277V and 480V applications.

Click here to learn more.

For more information about Universal Lighting Technologies, visit www.unvlt.com.

WattStopper Extends Occupancy Sensor Control to Plug Loads for Energy Savings and Code Compliance

WattStopper recently introduced its Wireless Receptacle Controls (WRC) series.

Extending occupancy-based lighting control to plug loads, the WRC line of products helps lighting control professionals meet new ASHRAE 90.1 and California Title 24 requirements to switch off selected receptacles. The solution also minimizes costs for retrofits and new construction as it utilizes RF technology and works with existing line voltage wiring.

The WRC solution facilitates Auto-On/Auto-Off occupancy-based control of plug loads and includes an RF Transmitter and intelligent RF Receptacles. The WRC line of products come in two versions: for use with stand-alone occupancy sensors, or with WattStopper’s Digital Lighting Management (DLM) platform.

Click here to learn more.

For more information about WattStopper, visit www.wattstopper.com.

Current Business Conditions Index Slips Again in June, While Future Conditions Index Gains Ground

NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) for current conditions in North America declined for a third straight month in June.

The index fell to 47.2 from 50 a month ago and from 54.8 in April as a higher proportion of panelists reported business conditions deteriorated in June than reported they improved.

In contrast, the EBCI for future North American conditions posted a modest advance on the heels of three consecutive monthly declines, rising to 52.8 in June from 52.2 in May. Thirty-nine percent of June’s panelists expect the business environment to improve over the next six months, while 33% expect it to decline.

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Lutron Electronics Introduces the Residential Advantage Contractor Program

Lutron Electronics recently unveiled its new Residential Advantage Contractor (RAC) Program for electrical contractors looking to take full advantage of the hottest trends in smart lighting and LED dimming.

Whether it’s learning about how to stay on top of the connected home opportunity, minimizing the risk of callbacks with reliable LED controls, or providing convenience and energy savings with occupancy sensors – contractors will gain valuable information that will help them grow their businesses.

By attending the free, two-hour RAC Training, contractors will receive all of the information and tools they need to meet the growing demand for energy-saving products and smart home solutions.

Click here to learn more.

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