Survey Finds Continuing Investment in Energy Efficiency

Survey Finds Continuing Investment in Energy Efficiency

The survey found that over two-thirds of U.S. organizations plan to implement building controls improvements over the next year.

Nov 26, 2018

Source: EC&M Magazine

U.S. organizations are planning to increase investments in smart building controls and systems integration at a greater rate than more traditional energy efficiency measures, according to the results of a study released by Johnson Controls, Milwaukee. The company’s 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey polled nearly 2,000 facility and energy management executives from 20 countries and found that 57% of organizations in the United States and 59% of global organizations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency in the next year.

Over the past decade, traditional energy efficiency measures – such as HVAC equipment improvements and lighting upgrades – have become table stakes for many organizations, the company said in a release. Today, organizations identify greenhouse gas footprint reduction, energy cost savings, energy security and an enhanced reputation as key drivers of investment fueling growth in green, net-zero energy and resilient buildings.

Over two-thirds (68%) of U.S. respondents plan building controls improvements over the next 12 months and building system integration saw a 23% increase in respondents planning to invest in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. “Organizations are more interested than ever in leveraging energy efficiency, energy storage and distributed generation technologies to deliver smarter, safer and more sustainable buildings,” said Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Sustainability, Johnson Controls. “U.S. organizations are especially bullish about the future impact of systems interoperability, systems integration, and cybersecurity technologies, leading all other countries.”

The 2018 EEI results also highlight a growing global focus on resilience and energy security due to increasingly severe weather incidents around the world, with one-third of U.S. and global organizations citing the importance of being able to maintain critical operations during severe weather events or extended power outages. Roughly half of the U.S. and global organizations said they are extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next ten years, a 10% increase in the U.S. from last year. Globally, plans to invest in distributed energy generation, electric energy storage and on-site renewables also increased year-over-year.

Comments: if interested in learning how to use controls to make a major difference in your building or portfolio of buildings, reach out to me for information, design, pricing, and installation.

Lighting Retrofits for Demanding Environments

Lighting Retrofits for Demanding Environments

Article from EC&M  July 2, 2018 & Emerson

Do you have lighting problems in a harsh environment or hazardous location? You may be able to solve each one with a quick and easy retrofit.

How would you like to seriously reduce maintenance costs, production interruptions, and inventory costs without a capital project? You may be wondering how that could be done. The answer is you can accomplish those goals, and more, with a series of easy retrofit upgrades from legacy lighting to LED. And you don’t need to run new branch circuits; in many cases, such an upgrade can be done even while using parts of existing light fixtures.

Before we talk about how, let’s look closer at the why. People often look to LED for the energy savings, but other reasons for switching from a legacy technology to LED may be more important to you.

Relamping relief

Your legacy lamps may last for only 6,000 hours of operation, while LED will take you ten times further. With legacy lighting, you need a relamping program so aging lamps are replaced before their light output drops off to an unacceptable and dangerous level.

The timing of this is well-known for each kind of lamp; many spec sheets include a graph of light output over hours of service. You don’t want to reach the light output drop-off point where the line suddenly curves downward. So you replace functioning lamps before they get to that point.

In a typical relamping scenario, maintenance coordinates downtime with production to allow a relamping contractor access to the lights that are over production equipment or in an area where access means shutdown.

Typically, lifting platforms (often scissor lifts) are required to reach overhead lights. Temporary equipment moves may be required to get scissor lifts close enough horizontally to reach the fixture, unless a boom crane can do the job.

The contractor must get security clearance, and in many facilities an inhouse person must keep tabs on the contractor’s crew. And unless this contractor follows all the rules for disposal and can haul away your old lamps, you’ll probably need a recycling contractor too.

Let’s say you have metal halide lighting. You play this game every other year and you never win. It’s just another chore for you and another cost for your company.

What if you could forget about relamping for the next 60,000 hours of operation? And eliminate future recycling costs? Since LED uses solid state lamp drivers instead of lighting ballasts, the ballast replacement ritual also becomes a thing of the past. How much did ballast replacement cost you last year, in labor hours, replacement parts, and lost production?

You also reduce the production interruptions that relamping brings, especially if yours is a multi-shift facility. You literally reduce red tape by 90%, because those work areas can be roped off every 60,000 hours of operation instead of every 6,000.

With those savings, your total cost of ownership (TCO) drops dramatically. You don’t need the motivation of energy savings to find the retrofit financially compelling. Strong as it is, the financial motivation may take a back seat to something even more  motivating. We’ll discuss that next.

Better lighting

Continuing with our metal halide example, those “fast strike” lamps you paid extra for make a difference when recovering from a power loss. But the light isn’t truly instant on, it’s more like “instant dim” and then you wait for the lamp to reach full brightness. That usually means an annoying wait until work can resume. By contrast, LED really is “instant on”. You don’t need to wait for dim lights to regain their rated output.

True instant on is one of several advantages LED has over legacy lighting. With LED, you also get:

–  Better color rendering.

–  Brighter light without the temperature (Tcode) problems.

–  Better light distribution

–  Reduced glare.

–  Correct beam width to fit your application.

–  Light intensity that is consistent throughout the beam.

The light characteristics differ, depending upon the design of one particular LED luminaire versus another. So if you don’t have the right light with one LED design, try another. A responsive manufacturer can help you try different optic designs or even different fixtures to change the way the light throws or to change any other attribute.

With some experimentation, you’ll probably reduce or eliminate both shadows and task lighting. In many applications, LED technology makes it possible to eliminate shadows without moving or adding lights. You can improve visual acuity and worker safety, thereby enhancing productivity without trying to fit new raceway around process piping or other obstacles.

You may have some free infrastructure benefits, too. Even if you increase the light levels dramatically, the ultra-high efficiency of LED means less load on your branch circuits. And a reduction in load current provides the ability to expand the number of fixtures on an existing circuit.

Project size

The benefits of an LED retrofit are compelling. But how big of a project must this be?

The traditional comprehensive lighting project has many benefits. For example, you can change the lighting layout to improve how well things are lit up. A new arrangement may eliminate the shadows that currently exist, and that’s a key reason for proceeding with a layout change. Yet, there are always unknowns and the new layout may present new shadows.

And, this approach means running new branch circuits. That is often a deal killer for many kinds of applications; hazardous locations and harsh environments are two examples. Any building that has a densely-packed infrastructure of process piping is another.

A big lighting project also requires a capital request and perhaps significant downtime for the work to be done.

The good news is you can get those LED benefits without committing to a big lighting project. And in many cases, you can eliminate shadows without increasing the number of fixtures over what you already have.

The solution involves an easy retrofit against your legacy lighting. For some types of legacy lighting, you can quickly and easily change the fixture with no new wiring involved. For others, you leave the mounting hood in place and just replace the ballast body and lamp with a new driver housing. Direct replacements exist for most legacy ballast/lamp systems, and adapters are available for when there’s not a direct replacement. No new wiring, no new raceway, no moving fixtures around.

Getting started

You can do a few retrofits at a time, using your maintenance budget or perhaps the plant’s project budget instead of a capital request. If you want to go small scale (instead of a full-bore lighting project), where do you start?

Your lighting pain points are probably obvious. So start with those; spend a few minutes making a list of the worst offenders. Then visit some of those trouble spots. Note the location, lighting problem, and type and size of existing light source, and supply panel location.

Next, pick one trouble spot to work on. Do you need more lumens? Better color rendering? A wider beam? More consistent light? All of the above? Contact a lighting products manufacturer to see what the product solution(s) may be for the needs you identified.

You may need to try a few different luminaires to find the solution you were looking for. Because the installation is easy, so is the experimentation to see what works best in that location. If you have lighting problems similar to those at this first trouble spot, you’ll be doing a small “try before buy” experiment on what works for all of them.

When choosing the product you’re going to try, look for globes that are interchangeable, field replaceable, and relatively low weight. Your options should include versatile mounting hoods, retrofit adapters, and color temperature options. You should be able to find a true one-to-one retrofit solution, even with mounting height and application challenges.

Also evaluate the LED luminaires under consideration to ensure they have adequate surge protection. Today’s standard is 6kV for industrial applications.

As you repeat the process for each of the problems on your list, you’ll be gaining experience in how to fix your lighting problems. As those retrofits accumulate and lighting continues to improve, you’ll see brighter days ahead at your facility.

Comments by Ralph Girondo:  Good article covering the many pros and some drawbacks when considering an upgrade. Bottom line is it makes great sense to upgrade and you have options including new fixtures, and or component upgrades to the existing fixtures.  Chances are you can save roughly 60% on energy and get improved lighting with a long list of other benefits.  One point to mention: most legacy lamps will last longer than 6000 hours, although the light output will degrade and they will guzzle up much more of your energy than they need to. Note re paying for the upgrade, You can get financing options to pay for the upgrade out of your savings.  I can help you select the best fixtures and we have many choices for all sorts of applications.  In addition, FSG handles removal, installation, recycling, and several financing options.  Contact me for a no obligation assessment for any of your buildings in all 50 states plus CA. You can reach me at (267)370-1442, on this site, or at

PS: Although this article is pointed to harsh environment areas, the same conditions and savings applies to warehouses, plants, and factories of any type,







Enlighted Launches 5th-Generation IoT Sensor for Brilliant Buildings

Enlighted Launches 5th-Generation IoT Sensor for Brilliant Buildings

Enlighted, the leader in Smart Lighting Solutions for Commercial Buildings now has their 5th Generation Sensor. Find out why Enlighted is installed in over 200 million square feet and not only drives down energy costs, but also provides valuable building data to better utilize your space and get full control over your entire spaces.

Sunnyvale, Calif. – May 8, 2018 – Enlighted, the leading provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for commercial buildings, continues to drive innovation with its 5th-generation smart sensor. Engineered with insight from installations in more than 200 million square feet of buildings that have collected 10’s of terabytes of data, it is the most powerful and smallest sensor Enlighted has developed. Featuring a 32-bit ARM® processor with enhanced processing and memory capacity, it offers out of the box future-proofing with unparalleled levels of upgradability. It is the first IoT-Ready™ Profile 1 compliant IoT sensor on the market.

The 5th-generation sensor is the only IoT sensor for commercial real estate that provides an upgrade path matching the cadence of building infrastructure upgrades. Through the powerful 32-bit ARM® processor and its expanded memory, the sensor has the compute power required to handle years of feature and security advancements through automatic remote software upgrades. This allows building owners to unlock new capabilities as IoT technology and use cases advance.

The sensor is also the first smart building sensor to feature easy hardware upgradeability in the field, so customers can remove and replace the sensor with a new one during the lighting fixture’s 15 to 20-year lifecycle. Its small size enables it to be housed in a separate carrier sleeve, which allows toolless replacement without disturbing the light fixture or ceiling tiles.

“The worlds of technology and building infrastructures move at vastly different speeds and with differing requirements,” said Joe Costello, CEO at Enlighted. “In order to bridge these differences, it is essential that smart building technology is not only easy to adopt by the building community but offers flexible upgrade paths that ensure longevity for the building occupants. We’ve created our 5th-generation sensor platform with unprecedented levels of power and upgradability to keep buildings brilliant even as the pace of IoT technology accelerates.”

Enlighted’s powerful sensor is also available in multiple upgradable configurations. This makes it easy for customers to select the capabilities and cost that make sense for their current project – whether it is advanced lighting control, additional energy management features or a full suite of IoT applications—and add features through future software updates.

  • Enlighted IoT offers the full IoT data platform with apps for real time location services, building occupancy and usage analysis, along with support for third party apps and data.
  • Enlighted Connected features a connected lighting solution with lighting profiles, energy measurement and occupancy information for HVAC control.

The sensor platform features a number of enhancements from the previous generation, including advanced lighting features like daylight groups, which support efficient daylight harvesting, and an astronomical clock, which creates advanced lighting schedules based on local sunrise and sunset.

Working closely with the IoT-Ready™ Alliance and co-founding member Tridonic, the new sensor meets the IoT-Ready™ draft specification, which defines a standard communications interface between the sensor and driver for lighting control, driver status and energy consumption information, as well as mechanical sensor mounting specifications in luminaires.

Enlighted’s 5th-generation sensor featuring multiple configurations will be on display at Enlighted Lightfair booth #412 and is commercially available now. To learn more about Enlighted, visit Additional information on the IoT-Ready™ Alliance can be found at

About Enlighted
Designed to change everything, Enlighted provides the world’s most advanced digital sensor and analytics platform for smarter buildings to Fortune 500 companies around the globe. Enlighted was founded in 2009. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA.

FSG is a VAR (Value Added Reseller)  with Enlighted and offers audit, design, installation startup, project ROI and optional financing. For more information or assistance with product, specs, pricing contact me at or 267-370-1442.


Welcome to their World

Welcome to their World

Eight simple rules for lighting specifiers when they sit down with the folks in IT  by Scott Ziegenfus   LD & A Magazine June 2018

Comments by Ralph:   We hear smart lighting and IOT connected lighting very often these days. Here are some good tips for working with company IT departments to make for a smoother process.  Consider reaching out to me for help as we have a dedicated Control Group and can help with fixtures and controls.

Insert the term “intelligent building” into a Google search and you’ll receive more than 746,000 results. There’s no shortage of opinions, reports and forecasts on the promise of using a single infrastructure between building systems to save on resources and promote data exchange. Lighting’s contribution to this promise is the “networked lighting control system.”

Loosely defined, the networked lighting control system will have some level of distributed intelligence to control lights and provide feedback of various pieces of information for a multitude of business applications. This includes building applications such as energy management, asset management, space management, health and wellness, and more.

To this end, the prevailing and logical thought is to place all the building’s environmental and business systems on the same network infrastructure. Logic says that same network infrastructure already exists within the architecture of the corporate Intranet, which is under the administration and management of the corporate IT department.

I’ve worked with hundreds of corporate and institutional IT departments in my career, and I’ve identified a common thread among them all: their primary responsibility is to keep the network up and running, and anything that can possibly jeopardize the network cannot be allowed.

What does this mean for the lighting professional? To ignore the IT department could leave you not only off the network, but also off the project.

It is critical to understand the mentality of the IT department. It’s a thankless job. The department doesn’t receive any praise for keeping the network running, but all hell breaks loose if it’s not. Anything that can possibly jeopardize a functional network is highly scrutinized. Hardware, bandwidth, protocols, security, ports, services and applications are just some of the categories that an IT department worries can affect the corporate network.

For the lighting professional this is uncharted territory. Since we can’t ignore the IT department, I figured it would be helpful to share what I’ve learned through the years about establishing a positive working relationship with them to help specifiers successfully install connected lighting solutions:

1. The earlier you talk to the IT department the better.
I’d suggest you contact the IT department before the equipment arrives on-site to be installed. You need to establish a baseline understanding of what IT requires to live on their network. Be ready to discuss items like penetration testing, protocol reviews and security reviews. Establishing a baseline understanding of these items takes time.

2. Don’t assume that since you talked to one IT admin, you’re covered.
Someone once told me, “IT departments are like snowflakes; no two are the same.” Some have one or two people while others may have a specialist for every aspect. Just because you are in agreement with the VP of IT doesn’t mean you’re covered. Hypothetically, you could end up working with applications for your server topology, security for any vulnerability, technical services for your VLAN or IP addressing, or information management for your application access. Understand the IT department’s organizational structure and ask who should be included in these discussions to avoid any corporate policy issues down the road.

3. Don’t dictate, collaborate.
Don’t assume you are going to tell an IT department how your system goes on their network. Rather, you need to simply explain what your system IT properties are and let the corporate IT department figure it out. The best way to get off to a bad start is to tell them how you want their network to adhere to your system needs. It is important here to have good documentation that explains the IT properties for all aspects of your system: security, ports, physical requirements, addressing, etc. Additionally, a good network diagram is always appreciated.

4. The IT department does not care about items not on their network.
Don’t waste their time talking about daylight sensors that are open loop and use a 0-10-V signal. This not only clouds the issue, but it also tells IT you don’t understand what is important to them. If they ask for a network diagram, don’t send a one-line, reflective ceiling plan or architectural diagram you would share with an electrical contractor. If they ask for your system properties, don’t send them your project submittal. They have zero interest in the common documents important in our industry.

5. Don’t assume your system is not under the direction of IT.
The IT administration will tell you if you are under their policy and procedures. Don’t think you are immune because you are only using the fiber between buildings, or only need remote access, or only need Wi-Fi for applications. Even if your networked lighting control system is isolated from the building’s Intranet, you still want to engage and explain your network architecture.

6. If they understand your architecture they can fill the security gaps.
IT departments understand nothing is perfectly secure, and the more they know about how your system works (ports and protocols) and any security measures you employ, the better they can plan to fill any gaps with digital separations and isolations like VLANs or firewalls.

7. Keep the IT department informed along the way.
Starting with preconstruction and all through the installation phase, keep the updates constant and make sure they understand when you expect you will need access, hardware, cabling, etc.

8. Talk to IT in their language.
I cannot overstate how often a basic networking knowledge comes in handy. I am not talking about getting an IT degree, but just some basic knowledge of the OSI model will go a long way. The IT department will talk to you very differently when you say you have a “layer 2 managed network switch” then if you simply say “network switch.” That is a good rule for anyone working on the customer side of networked lighting controls. Find out who can support you when the conversation becomes very in-depth, like a manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative, or someone in the engineering or design firm.

Every major corporation and institution relies on its network, and this allots the IT department a tremendous amount of authority as to what system does and doesn’t get installed. All IT has to say to upper management is, “If xyz system goes on the network I can’t guarantee reliability.” One day of the network being “down” can easily cost a company way more than the total cost of any networked lighting control system. Once an IT department gets comfortable with a system and manufacturer, however, they don’t want to change, and they can hold your spec better than any design team. It does not matter who is cheaper if the IT department says, “Well, we know xyz system has no issues on our network, but if you substitute abc system we just can’t guarantee the network.” That is better than any feature used for a spec lock.

Here’s the bottom line: When IT is brought into the discussion early, they feel you understand their concerns, you have some idea of their industry through proper documentation and knowledgeable communications, and they become easy to work with and will help you in connecting your networked lighting control system. It might be intimidating at first, but if you follow the steps above you will be successful


Four things to know about smart lighting systems

Four things to know about smart lighting systems

Article by Carrie Meadows, LED Magazine June, 2018 (includes edits)

This week, our team hosted Philips Lighting OEM product manager Al Marble, who presented a webcast on smart lighting. Marble confirmed our near-constant refrain that based on recent industry events and activity, 2018 appears to be “the year of connectivity.” But he added that connected smart lighting systems don’t have to overwhelm the parties involved. As he stated during the webcast introduction, understanding the components and functions of connected lighting can “help bring order to the chaos.” Following are four key points for starting off on a steady course with smart lighting.

1. Controls alone do not make a lighting system “smart.”

Marble stated right from the outset that controls have always been available for lighting, whether simple switches, dimmers, or sensors. What makes a system smart is combining devices with lighting hardware in a network that allows them to “talk” to each other — ultimately, to provide more granular management of the lighting and other building or municipal systems, in the case of an outdoor networked system. Manual control can still be enabled, but the objective is programmability as well as the ability for the system to learn how to manage all the components for smooth operation. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, smart city and asset management — call it whatever you like, and make the assigned tasks as simple or as complex as you need.

2. Standardization will stimulate adoption.

To get beyond illumination and enable the system management concepts explained above, components, interfaces, and the associated communications technology should become harmonized, Marble said. Interoperability, as the industry has observed before, will go a long way toward simplifying the development, installation, and management of smart lighting systems. Proprietary systems might seem like the easiest solution at first, but try putting multiple proprietary sub-systems together and see how well they communicate with each other. Another issue is how well those proprietary solutions will survive the inevitable advance of technology. And the necessary support from each vendor involved could come at a high cost. Allaying these concerns will stimulate the uptake of smart lighting technology.

3. Customers need quantifiable benefits to approve smart lighting.

During the webcast, Marble sourced a 2017 report from the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which documented quantifiable energy savings of networked lighting controls for all types of lighting systems. This information has clearly informed the organization’s work on its Networked Lighting Controls (NLC) System Specification over the years, which was launched in 2015 and is on version 3.0 this year. Showing validated energy savings estimates may get decision makers over the speed bumps of “this is too much work/too complicated/too expensive.” And the NLC specification has formed the basis of the qualified products list that gates access to some rebates and incentives. And on that note…

4. Return on investment depends on multiple factors.

Although energy cost reduction itself has been the mainstay of discussions about lighting controls and balancing the cost of more intelligent systems, the associated rebates and incentives from utilities will help reduce payback time. However, Marble cautioned that you need to be aware of region-specific rebates. It’s also important to determine how much functionality you need to use, and what a future-proof system will look like in your application or project. A strong sense of current requirements versus future expectations will allow you to direct the project for maximum ROI. Beyond that, I’d also note that a lighting-as-a-service (LaaS) agreement could boost ROI for the customer while ensuring a sustainable business in the longer term.