While activity for institutional projects should hover near 2010 levels, there is likely to be a modest decline in commercial construction in 2011, according to the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel. Overall nonresidential construction spending is expected to decrease by 2% for the year. The Panel believes 2012 will produce stronger gains, however, with overall building construction rising about 5%, with growth twice the rate of the more cyclical commercial sector. This construction outlook reviews the year’s top line construction numbers, shows where leading construction and electrical industry indicators are trending, and provides a summary of the latest AIA Consensus Construction Forecast for 2011.
Electrical Contractor Magazine recently published a major story on lighting controls featuring LCA members Leviton, Lutron, OSRAM SYLVANIA and WattStopper, in addition to comments from Craig DiLouie representing the Lighting Controls Association. The article, titled “Take Control,” outlines control strategies that building owners and managers can deploy now to reduce energy costs and increase flexibility in existing building lighting systems.
Emergency lighting can constitute as much as 20 percent of a commercial building’s lighting load, according to research conducted by WattStopper, which points out, in a whitepaper titled, “Emergency Lighting and Control,” that special control approaches can be used to reduce this load and generate significant energy savings while satisfying life/safety demands and code requirements.
To help achieve the PlaNYC goal of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2030, on December 9, 2009, the New York City Council enacted ambitious legislation targeting energy consumption in buildings. Recognizing that 85% of the buildings that exist today will still be in use in 2030, the Council is focusing on existing buildings. New York’s 22,000 largest buildings, concentrated largely in Manhattan, account for roughly 45% of total floorspace and energy consumption, and were specifically targeted by the legislation to make the biggest impact for the smallest amount of government intervention.
The big news is that ASHRAE 90.1-2010 has been published. It represents a major leap in evolution of the energy standard; it’s basically almost an entirely new standard. Lighting controls play a starring role. Here is a summary of lighting control-related changes that caught my eye at first glance.
Code authorities are considering approaches to energy codes that are performance based instead of mainly prescriptive. In a performance-based code, the building would be designed so that it would operate within a target limit for energy consumption—using annual kWh/sq.ft. instead of W/sq.ft. as the primary metric.
Control wiring provides a path for command and status communication between control devices in a lighting and control system and, in many cases, power to the devices as well. Wiring is interrelated with overall lighting control system considerations—such as selection of control system and components, layout and installation practices—and is therefore an important consideration when choosing a lighting control solution.
Fluorescent ballast regulations have essentially eliminated the magnetic T12 ballast with few exceptions, including F40T12, F96T12 and F96T12HO ballasts for both full-wattage and energy-saving versions of these lamps. Two years later, in 2012, additional regulations will take effect, creating new energy standards for selected linear T5, T8 and T12 lamps. The net result is a majority of 4-ft. linear and 2-ft. U-shaped T12, many 8-ft. T12 and T12HO, and some low-color-rendering 4-ft. T8 lamps will be eliminated. Based on these facts, one could make a simple argument that it is now time to upgrade existing lighting and control systems to improve energy efficiency and lighting quality.
This month, Federal efficiency standards regulating fluorescent magnetic T12 ballasts entered their final phase, effectively eliminating these ballasts from the market, with few exceptions.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled the Commercial Lighting Solutions for Office webtool. Available free at www.lightingsolutions.energy.gov, CLS for Office provides customizable lighting and control templates enabling building owners to generate more than 30% lighting energy savings compared to office buildings complying with prevailing energy codes.