Lighting less to achieve net zero


View the full story, including all images and figures, in our monthly digital edition

The energy was high, the crowds were large, and the product was innovative and fresh at the 2009 Lightfair International (LFI) conference held in New York. LFI is the world's largest architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference, and the 20th annual show was held in May 2009 with a record-breaking attendee registration of more than 23,000 industry professionals and conference participants.

Energy efficiency was a major theme at the event. Many manufacturers presented sustainable designs made possible with innovative luminaires. There were also lighting-related educational sessions and seminars on "zero energy buildings" (ZEB) and zero carbon footprint.

This trend in energy efficiency has been encouraged by the federal government in state stimulus plans as well as new energy codes and lighting standards. (See " New lighting standards for 2012 .") The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has established an aggressive goal to create the technology and knowledge base for cost-effective commercial ZEB by 2025.

Many groups refer to ZEB, but they can be defined in vastly different ways depending on the boundary and the metric. Different definitions may be appropriate for certain project goals and values. For example, building owners typically care about energy costs. Organizations like DOE are concerned with national energy numbers, and typically are interested in primary or source energy. A building designer may be interested in site energy use for energy code requirements. Finally, those who are concerned about pollution from power plants and the burning of fossil fuels may be interested in reducing emissions. Four commonly used definitions for ZEB are: net zero energy costs, net zero source energy, net zero site energy, and net zero energy emissions.

As building systems designers, we are concerned more with site energy use for energy code requirements. How can I reduce this site energy use through efficient lighting? The answer is: by using low-energy building technologies and energy-saving practices.

Building engineers can use energy-efficient building techniques by properly orienting the building on the site to receive daylight more efficiently, maximizing ceiling height, using light-colored surfaces as reflectors, avoiding high-contrast surfaces, using shading devices, and placing electric lighting parallel to windows. Building systems designers also should consider using high-efficacy sources and high-efficiency luminaires. Other basic practices to conserve energy include turning off the lights when they're not in use, grouping like tasks, placing light fixtures close to tasks, and not lighting noncritical areas.

Just imagine working without light! We typically have so much light at our disposal, it's hard to imagine going about our daily routines with less light. However, it is possible, and it is exactly what we should do now. Next time, really think about light before you turn the switch on.

Author Information

Haran is an electrical and lighting systems consultant in the Chicago area. He is also an advisory member of the IESNA sustainable lighting committee.

New lighting standards for 2012

In July 2009, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) announced plans to increase energy efficiency by changing the nation's lighting standards. The final rule does not take effect until 2012, but several standard levels are being adjusted currently.

These federal lighting standards are designed to ensure that new, more efficient lighting technologies are phased into the marketplace. Obama will support legislation that will phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs by 2014. The DOE states that 7% of all energy used in the United States comes from lighting, but with the new standards, the country could save $4 billion a year in energy costs.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.