The dominance of LED technology and the rise of digital lighting controls are symbiotic: they drive each other forward. Whether they’re one sea change or two, the lighting industry must keep current or major players from other markets may leave us in the dust. Regulatory bodies and standards-building industry associations are being forced to progress beyond component compatibility and lighting power reductions, without leaving those efforts behind. Every day, designers and construction professionals seek guidance on new lighting technologies and building-integration systems, health and wellness, evolving utility rebate programs, and product testing protocols – all while navigating the approvals process.

WCLI has assembled a virtual panel, five industry professionals deeply involved in the development and everyday implementation of building codes and consensus lighting standards. They present their insight, discussing the the challenges facing the market and the direction of upcoming generations of standards.

Kelly Seeger - Technical Policy Manager, Building Codes and Standards, North America, Philips Lighting

KELLY SEEGER is technical policy manager, building codes and standards North America for Philips Lighting. She chairs the Lighting Subcommittee of ASHRAE SSPC 90.1 and remains active with many of the organizations developing energy codes and standards for the US. Seeger holds the MS in Lighting from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the LC and LEED AP credentials.

What is a major concern in the future of ASHRAE/IES 90.1?

An issue that feeds into many of our discussions is how do we keep advancing energy efficiency in the standard, given the assumption that we probably only have one or two more code cycles of securing significant energy savings by reducing lighting power allowances. (The LPA is the wattage limit imposed by the energy code on the lighting installation in a given space, expressed in W/sqft.)

LED lighting has propelled lighting power densities lower and lower and, as it comes to dominate the market, has begun to eliminate technology neutrality from the standard. The models used to develop the LPAs in 90.1–2016 are ~60% LED. In the 2019 standard, we anticipate that LED lighting will account for ~75%.

The question becomes, where will future energy savings come from? What can we leverage from innovations in product design and lighting design practice? Along with 90.1’s strong commitment to energy efficiency comes an understanding that practitioners must be able to provide well-designed lighting that meets IES recommendations. It becomes something of a balancing act: we must keep pushing the industry toward greater efficiency and better practice, while at the same time support innovation. We also need to retain focus on a minimum standard that must be applicable and relevant across North America, in the big cities and in the small towns, as well be open to the possibility of adoption by other countries outside our region.

Bernard Bauer, Principal, Integrated Lighting Concepts

With more than 40 years of design experience, BERNARD V. BAUER is principal of Integrated Lighting Concepts, which focuses on retail, hospitality and site lighting. Bauer has garnered numerous lighting design awards and lectures frequently. His firm has also assisted in the development of the 2008, 2014 and 2019 California Title 24 energy standards.

How are lighting technologies influencing energy codes?

LED lighting has become mainstream, and now forms the basis on which the next generation of energy codes and standards are being developed. For example, the lighting power densities (LPDs) for the recently approved ASHRAE/IES 189.1–2017 green building code and the upcoming Title 24 2019 are both 100% LED-based.

The current draft of Title 24 2019 (to be finalized summer 2018) includes technology requirements that must be considered next-gen, such as color tuning and dim-to-warm LED sources. Some T24 2019 LPDs accommodate less-efficient but higher-quality (90+CRI/high-R9) LED sources where they’re needed in retail, hospitality, museum and public venues.

As the push for “smart” lighting and integrated building management increases, future energy codes must accommodate those emerging technologies. Responsible future codes and standards will maintain design integrity by incorporating health and environmental lighting concerns, such as addressing circadian rhythms and diminishing light pollution.

Kelly Cunningham, Program Manager, Pacific Gas & Electric Codes and Standards

KELLY CUNNINGHAM is currently a program manager on Pacific Gas & Electric’s Codes and Standards team where she leads the development of proposals to enhance California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6). She also supports increasing compliance with the current standards as part of Energy Code Ace, a statewide investor-owned utility program.

As someone who works with Title 24 training and fielding questions every day, what are the most pressing issues with the current standard (T24 2016)?

Many of the questions I get focus on the lighting controls requirements in lighting retrofits. There’s a lot of misinformation out there surrounding when occupancy and daylighting controls are required. While it can make sense to exceed the standard for some projects, understanding “trigger” points is critical.

Go to the source: review Table 141.0-E at the start of a project. Where a retrofit changes out old technology for new LED luminaires and the new LPD is lower than 15% of the maximum allowance for that space, it’s unlikely that daylighting controls are required at all. And if there’s fewer than 120W of lighting in a daylit zone, daylighting controls are not required. They may still bring energy savings to the project, but they’re not mandatory.

Note that occupancy controls are required for some spaces, but not all. But a system that turns lights off after business hours is likely required in all projects.

Which system to choose? The Title 24 lighting controls requirements can be met with advanced controls and networked systems. This option may offer the most amenities to the occupant. But where budgets are tight, knowing what is a “must” and what is a “maybe” can mean the difference between a completed, energy-efficient project and a bid that dead ends. (Resource: Energy Code Ace)

The volume of paperwork required by the CEC continues to be a maligned subject in this code cycle, with the non-residential lighting sections seen as inordinately complex. Recently a new, dynamic version of the compliance forms was released, starting with non-residential lighting. The NRCC-LTI-E form simplifies prescriptive compliance. It incorporates all the previous forms and now provides user tips and links to the Title 24 standards. It evaluates compliance while the form is being filled out and provides guidance on where the information provided is not meeting the standard. The form itself is a tool to help practitioners make informed decisions about what is required, and what goes above and beyond. (Resource: Energy Code Ace)

Steven Mesh, Lighting Designer and Educator

STEVEN MESH has been a lighting designer and educator for 38 years. He’s designed the lighting for a wide variety of projects in the US and internationally. He was the senior lighting program coordinator at the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco and helped develop the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program. He has long served on the IES committee coordinating updates on ASHRAE 90.1.

What do you see on the horizon, specifically for lighting controls?

In a major retrofit or new construction, you almost have to use a networked lighting controls system to meet code requirements – and not just in California. ASHRAE 90.1, Title 24 and IECC [International Energy Conservation Code] are all becoming more aligned in terms of lighting controls. There are few differences in terms of daylight harvesting, occupancy sensing, dimming/switching, etc.

The DesignLights Consortium and its member utilities have focused on networked lighting control systems (in which all components either speak to a central server or to each other), many with fixture-integrated sensors. On-board controls not part of a networked system can be useful, but there can be real difficulties in code compliance where they are not networked. And in a networked system, there are benefits to using embedded control devices on each fixture; e.g., greater granularity in zoning and tracking space usage.

This is why DLC and its member utilities have chosen the dual approach for its Networked Lighting Controls (NLC) specification. DLC’s analysis of 114 commercial installations found average lighting energy savings of 47%, just from controls, with +70% not uncommon. I’ve seen, for some of my clients, persistent savings of 80% over 5 years.

Increasingly, the DLC NLC spec is being cited in utility rebate programs. Individual utilities, and utility consortia, are writing new incentives to increase market penetration and monitor persistent savings. There is an absolute need for education. I’ve been teaching nationwide over the past year, seeking to demystify “smart” lighting and encourage acceptance of networked lighting. Though the NLC rebates are new, there is a high degree of interest in today’s less-complex systems.

Carl Bloomfield, Global Business Line Director, Information Technology and Lighting Industries, Intertek

CARL BLOOMFIELD is the global business line director for the information technology and lighting industries at Intertek. During his 21 year tenure, he has been involved in testing and has represented Intertek on various industry-standards technical committees. Carl holds an EE degree from the University of Florida and is active with many lighting associations, societies and commissions.

In the LED age, what are the issues in standards and product testing?

The LED revolution has resulted in a growing demand on lighting manufacturers to quickly bring innovative products to global markets. As a result, lighting manufacturers are seeking more flexibility with their supply chain, such as the vendors they use for components as well as third-party partners for laboratory testing, product certification, quality audits, supply chain management, and more. Some lighting manufacturers intentionally seek more than one vendor for some of these services.

One issue I see is that the lighting specification and regulation communities, generally, have not kept up with the rapidly-evolving marketplace. For example, some organizations and individual practitioners attempt to limit which third-party vendors a lighting OEM may choose. Limiting vendor choices causes unnecessary delays in launching new products, creates process redundancies and inefficiencies, and most important, conflicts with guidelines by OSHA and the NEC for Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).

Far from adapting to an increasingly global marketplace, these limitations often force manufacturers to have separate compliance plans and third-party vendors for each region where their products will be sold.

Currently, most major safety and performance standards are created via a standards technical panel comprising experts from various organizations, even though the document might be published under one company’s name. I think it would be beneficial for the lighting industry if all regulators and specifiers followed the examples of ENERGY STAR, DesignLights Consortium (DLC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in deciding which OSHA NRTL marks should be allowed for products being installed in facilities under their jurisdiction.

This would allow manufacturers to choose the most efficient plans for global quality assurance and industry compliance for their products – bringing the best and brightest products to consumers in this dynamic marketplace.

Mark Lien, Industry Relations Manager, Illuminating Engineering Society

MARK LIEN is the Illuminating Engineering Society’s industry relations manager. He has designed lighting systems, managed education centers and served as the director of government and industry relations for a major manufacturer. He serves on committees for the IES, ASHRAE, DOE, IEEE and others, and has attained the LC, HBDP, CLMC, CLEP and LEED AP BD&C certifications.

What current challenges face standards development organizations, and their volunteers?

The lighting community is experiencing an accelerated pace of change as we transition into an electronics field with exponential growth curves. Standards development organizations primarily comprise volunteers. When our market was slowly shifting this not only worked fine, it allowed standards to even drive market change. The staff and volunteers at the IES understand that staying relevant today means expediting our deliverables to better serve the public. We work with other SDOs that are also streamlining processes to maintain currency. Often, research must be done to substantiate rules, and that adds time. ANSI requirements also delay the process but assure users that the standards conform to openness, balance, consensus and due-process requirements.

The lighting industry is over a century old, but as change quickens we find new needs developing for standards, design guides and measurement metrics, as well as the education needed to explain the changes. Some of the new documents address cybersecurity, metrics for the effect of light on human health, metrics for color quality and horticulture, flicker ranges for applications, and more. That’s in addition to updates on existing publications. The shift to electronic formats helps the speed to market and updates can be quickly handled as part of living documents. The subscription model offers users access to the most current versions much faster than was previously possible. Standards evolve with the industry, and the biggest challenge is meeting and, ideally, anticipating increasingly rapid shifts in our lighting community.

Author’s note: Participants in this “virtual panel” developed their questions and answers independently via email. Their contributions were edited, and I thank them for their thoughtful input. Please voice your “most pressing issues” in lighting codes and standards, present and future, by adding to the conversation in the comments below.

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Lois I. Hutchinson

About Lois I. Hutchinson

Lois I. Hutchinson is a freelance writer specializing in lighting and energy issues. She is also the content marketing mastermind behind Inverse Square LLC, a Los Angeles–based consultancy. Contact her via with your comments and any article ideas that concern the lighting community here in the Southwest.

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