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Communication is a click away.

Just having returned from the excellent IES Annual Conference in Toronto, I am filled with ideas for this column. Many of you took the time to speak with me and attend my presentation on public policy activities; I thank you all for the good discussion and feedback.

An important part of my job is to provide information to the membership concerning the "goings-on" in the legislative arena and to note any trends that may affect the lighting business. To that end, communication is critical, but even more so, the method of communication is key.

As I discussed in Toronto, there are dozens of communication media and apps that may be employed by us for this purpose. Due to the variety of issues with which we deal and the particular urgency (or not) of those issues, the proper medium is important. Sometimes, legislative events can occur with little notice (more so at the state level) and we must move quickly to deal with them. And, of course, everyone has his or her own personal preference, be it e-mail, Facebook, the IES website, Twitter, texting, LinkedIn, etc. Each one of these is useful in its own way, but the trick is using the one that will be the most efficient based on type of content and the urgency with which that content should be disseminated to the membership. Also, certain situations may warrant using a combination of two or more methods. Based on feedback I received at the conference, we will look to develop some of these additional media in the near future.

One of the ways we have begun communicating with the membership is the IES website. In early November, a new Public Policy web page went live on the IES website. Regular updates and content changes have been taking place. If you are interested in governmental issues, check this page regularly. Here's the direct link: www.ies.org/public-policy. I also welcome your feedback on the topics and encourage you to send suggestions for topics you would like to hear more about.

QUALITY VS. CODES

Existing energy codes and standards such as ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 and the IECC are based on a prescriptive approach, i.e., limiting the connected load (and therefore the power density) of lighting equipment (lamps, ballasts, luminaires) based on the particular application. While this has been effective in reducing energy consumption from times prior to the adoption of energy codes and standards, there is a feeling in the industry that the prescriptive approach using lighting power density (LPD or watts per sq ft) is reaching a point of diminishing returns and has run its course. Many feel that continued reductions in LPD could affect lighting quality which, in turn, may have a pejorative effect on human factors, safety and security of the building and its occupants.

Three lighting organizations, the American Lighting Association (ALA), the IALD and the IES, have recognized this issue and have jointly developed a brochure, "What's Your Quality of Light?--The lighting industry's call for a practical lighting energy policy." This brochure provides arguments for and examples of quality lighting installations and references IES DG-18-08, Light+Design, A Guide to Designing Quality Lighting for People and Buildings. The brochure, however, is only the first step in a larger effort to change the existing paradigm and allow more flexibility and effectiveness in the design of lighting systems. This effort would be multi-pronged and may include, for example:

1. Education of decision-makers

2. Re-directing the thinking to that of a "whole building" concept rather than separate, independently designed building subsystems

3. Changing the emphasis from power (watts per sq ft) to energy (BTU per sq ft per year)

4. Developing appropriate metrics

5. Requiring more stringent commissioning and ongoing verification procedures

This possible new approach, however, may be difficult to execute since it places a greater burden on the design teams and will require additional skill sets not required under the current design process.

A team consisting of representatives from the IES, IALD and ALA is developing a project plan. We are also working with several other societies, trade associations and a national laboratory to demonstrate that we have widespread support for this initiative.

As we progress and our plans firm up, we will keep you informed. Lighting quality and energy efficiency should not be mutually exclusive. The design community knows how to accomplish both in concert--we just want to ensure they are allowed the opportunity to do so.

As always, your feedback is welcome.

Bob Horner is director of public policy for the IES. Prior to joining IES, he spent 17 years at OSRAM Sylvania in a variety of engineering and marketing positions.

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Title Annotation:POLICY POINTS
Author:Horner, Bob
Publication:LD+A Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:783
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