“A lot of the lighting energy savings data we have about today’s buildings ends up being merged with HVAC and plug load improvements. It’s hard to know what can be attributed to the lighting strategy. We need that granularity to allow us to move to a consumption-per-square-foot guideline. If we allow watts per square foot to be maintained, it’s singular and limiting.”
After studying mechanical engineering at Bucknell University, Eric Lind was recruited by Lutron Electronics, and has worked for the company his entire professional career. No surprise since it’s one of Lutron’s tenets to nurture, train, and promote from within. Over time, Lind has become one of the lighting industry’s leading voices on the subject of controls and has been a key member in developing Lutron’s architectural controls portfolio, a role he continues to play as vice president of global specifications.
What still fascinates you about light?
The varied global perspectives on lighting and the different mix of people getting involved.
Do you have a business philosophy?
Pay attention to the details.
What do you consider innovation in lighting?
Something that hasn’t been done before, that is truly a breakthrough, not incremental.
What’s the next frontier for lighting controls?
To get people to understand how much energy they are using. That’s most likely done through intelligent controls, sub-metering, and the smart grid. And, if it’s deployed well, you are able to set guidelines for what, for instance, a typical commercial office building should use on a per-square-foot basis. That information starts to give you some real usable data.
What’s the most misunderstood aspect of lighting controls?
Open protocols versus proprietary protocols. People believe that “open” is a way to guarantee the most cost-competitive solution, which simply isn’t true, nor does it ensure that the system will work properly. Even supposedly open systems very often still have proprietary elements.
What’s the concern you hear most from designers when it comes to LEDs?
Of all the things I deal with in terms of adoption of LEDs, the biggest resistance is because people are unsure of the replaceability factor.
What are you excited about as the areas of controls and LEDs begin to work together?
LED is a new source in a string of many. The opportunity is its potential to be dimmed, because with that comes space flexibility and enhanced energy savings.