Bruce Hostetter, Lighting Designer
For those practicing in states without energy codes, 90.1-99 will turn heads. In California, it will just be a bump in the road. However, the following three issues will apply regardless of which state you work in.
1. Good energy codes do not assure good design: I worked on passive solar homes in California when Title 24 was launched in the 1970s. We witnessed the 'dumbing effect' of T-24 as it allowed buildings whose envelopes were not responsive to climate to comply. The same type of thing will happen with lighting under 90.1.
2. The content of the code is only as good as the system for compliance: Each state will develop its own system of compliance. California's system works well because it offers choices (prescriptive vs. performance). Systems that are too prescriptive will drive designers to riot.
3. ASHRAE 90.1 and LEED must protect the need for high-quality visual impact: Successive codes bring more restrictions supported by expected advances in technology. Designers must get involved in local and regional energy committees as advocates of good design to insure adequate power densities for visual impact in future codes.
In the past, lighting designers could stand on the sidelines, ignore daylighting, meet codes like T-24, and still achieve good designs. In the future, practitioners will need to integrate daylighting and be more involved to insure that 90.1-2010 will balance sustainability issues with the fundamental purpose of architecture--to shelter and delight, to support our activities and inspire our lives. Enjoy the challenge.
Craig DiLouie, Principal
Like many issues, a tougher energy code presents a double-edged sword for lighting specialists. On one hand, it provides another area where education enhances specialization and another problem that lighting specialists can solve, thereby increasing their value on the design team. On the other hand, energy codes pose a challenge to creative expression and story-telling, and may become so restrictive that design options flatten out toward a common vanilla flavor. However, simply put, as long as there are clients who want creative expression, there will be a market for lighting specialists who provide it. And as long as there are active lighting specialists, there will be a market for manufacturers who can make products that are both efficient and allow creative. The wave of LED products we saw at Lightfair is evidence of this. Overall, to generalize further, the impact on the industry could probably be summed up as: When the going gets harder, the tough get smarter. Lighting community aside, the impact to our country and economy will be significantly beneficial, resulting in great profitability among corporations and more efficient use of tax funds in government facilities, while improving reliability of national power supplies on an aging grid and reducing air pollution emissions at power plants. In other words, it will benefit us significantly and in many ways, from our health and economic security to our children more likely having a better future. But I have two questions: First, some states haven't gotten a code put together yet-are they going to make the deadline? And second, are the states that reluctantly adopt a tough energy code going to properly enforce it? I believe this remains to be seen.
Paul Gregory, Principal Designer
Stricter energy codes would definitely be harmful to the type of lighting design we do. The current energy codes do not differentiate between the quality and quantity of establishments. I believe that it is right to have strict codes when you're lighting 10,000 McDonald's or 50 floors of a building. However, the smaller specialty projects that we work on, such as lobbies or fine restaurants, require a different set of codes. Now and then, architecture is an artistic endeavor, and it should not be restricted.
Gersil N. Kay, President
Conservation Lighting International
Having spent four years as an appointed member of the national ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 (Energy Conservation), I must agree with Willard Warren's thoughtful remarks on lighting energy codes (April/May 2004).
Although over 25 years, many have volunteered their time and money to travel throughout the country (and Hawaii) for project committee meetings, the differing goals of the various factions appear to retard necessary progress. Unless productivity is equated to energy conservation, this exercise will never gain wide acceptance. Some people will stay up nights figuring how to circumvent wattage restrictions and controls, while others will simply ignore them. Then there are actually many unaffiliated practitioners who are completely unaware of this now law of the land, and they may do design/build for mechanical/electrical systems.
The Standard's accepted list of the same traditional light sources does not reflected more recent innovations such as light pipe, fiber optics and LEDs, all more energy efficient than incandescent, fluorescent or halogen. These offer more lighting tools for the designer's palette, where suitable.
Reducing light levels to the point where miner's caps are needed to see for task, display, architectural contours and even ambient illumination adversely affects safety, sales, attendance and personal comfort. Just when architectural lighting has started incorporating theatrical techniques for better effects, these arbitrary prohibitions are a step backward.
James L. Sultan, Senior Lighting Designer
Over the past two decades, several states have legislated energy codes with or without the benefit of utilizing the information or services of qualified lighting professionals. The net result has been that lighting designers are challenged in the development of code-compliant designs when working on out-of-state projects.
The federal mandate of establishing ASHRAE 90.1-1999 as a minimum standard is a great stride toward uniformity throughout the country. ASHRAE 90.1-1999 is a considered and calculated document that incorporates existing technology into realistic energy-saving targets. Not only did industry professionals provide their time, expertise and resources for the creation of this standard, there were several public reviews that resulted in considerable input from the various disciplines included in the standard.
As lighting professionals, it is incumbent upon us to create designs that are energy responsible, at the same time achieving the expressed (and unexpressed) needs of the client and design demands of the project. Of course there will be challenges related to energy consumption targets, but these constraints will actually work in our favor by weeding out less qualified lighting practitioners. We have a strategic opportunity to educate our clients about the relationship between good lighting practices and environmental awareness.
Finally, I would like to issue a challenge to the lighting community to become involved with your state and local energy agencies. Our input into such legislation is critical, yet, unfortunately, overlooked by some of these jurisdictions. By making our voices heard, we can guide legislation to a synergistic combination of energy efficiency and good lighting design.