willard warren responds to amie ziner:

In the July/August 2004 issue of A|L (page 16), Amie Ziner of Buchanan Architects responded to my letter, 'Lighting Energy Codes Squelch Creativity,' published in the April/May 2004 issue (page 18).

She wrote, 'I like my lighting to be aesthetically pleasing, environmentally sound and economical,' and so do we all. Ms. Ziner cites the Barrier Motors project, illustrated in the April/May issue of A|L, done under the strict Washington State energy code, as an example. The article explains that with regard to the Washington State energy code, 'There were, however, a few exceptions: the designers used an integrated track with an indirect system within four feet of the display windows, and the low fluorescent lamps were categorized as aesthetic and, therefore, not considered part of the indirect system.'

The July/August issue is the first A|L Light + Architecture Design Awards. Nine projects are honored, and eight of them list the connected load in watts per square foot. Not one of them meets the limits of the new 2003 IECC 'energy code.' Power density in watts per square foot is not energy consumption. Energy codes do not encourage energy conservation measures nor reward them like the LEED qualifications. If a space were almost totally daylighted with lights used only rarely at night, the power density limits still apply.

Energy codes should be written to encourage energy conserving measures and reward the design with power adjustment factors, like California's Title 24, and all the DSM rebate programs popular 10 years ago. The creative judgment and the verification should be left to the designer, not to the code writer.

'Energy codes' do squelch creativity, especially in hospitality, retail, and dining occupancies, which must be attractive destinations to succeed financially. Even today's popular strict diets allow for dessert, so should treats for the eye.

Willard L. Warren

Willard L. Warren Associates, New York City