The word on the street from the IES

Aug. 20, 2009
LED technology will shine at the forthcoming annual Street and Area Lighting Conference, writes Brian Owen.
What a difference a year makes when looking at the transformation of outdoor lighting and the industry's pre-eminent showcase itself, the IES Street and Area Lighting Conference (SALC), to be held next month in Philadelphia at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel from September 13-16.

After attending this conference for 3 years, I can readily see the advancements, not only to industry and the technology but also to the attendee interest, sector involvement and the mindset towards the acceptance and adoption of SSL in street and area lighting, both in the private and public sector. While in 2007, we were at the leading if not bleeding edge of the introduction of the technology in these applications, products on the exhibition floor were 'light' to excuse the pun, in fact even lightweight compared to the advancements and far more robust performance of today, as well LED was not a topic of great discussion, rather still a 'taboo' of the day.

A very noteworthy presentation was given in 2007 by Mark McClear of Cree, in which he highlighted the state of solid-state and provided a roadmap of what was ahead. Mark, a regular presenter to industry conferences, will again offer his insight this year in a presentation entitled "LED Reality Check". As always, things are changing rapidly in LED technology with new brightness and efficacy levels, cost breakthroughs, installations, and standards development. Mark's presentation will cover the changes and developments in the last 12 months and give some ideas of what to expect in the future from this increasingly important light source. McClear will also co-present a full day workshop on "LED Specification and Design Fundamentals".

Dawn Midtbo, Manager of Sales & Marketing at Intolight, a division of Puget Sound Energy and Chair of the IES Street and Area Lighting Committee invites everyone to attend this 28th annual conference reflecting that “Last year’s conference in Denver was very well attended and we expect to offer the same top quality presentations in Philadelphia. This conference is a great opportunity to network with many hundreds of your peers, attend presentations by leaders in our industry, and walk an extensive exhibition area where all of our leading manufacturers will be happy to discuss products and trends.”

She added, “This is the only conference in North America that specifically targets the needs and concerns of the street and area lighting industry. You will find that the conference is keyed around issues that concern us all no matter what your particular interests may be, and you will certainly not lack for opportunities to both listen and be heard. These are very exciting times! So many advances in the various sectors of outdoor lighting are daily demanding our attention. So many new market and environmental requirements with which we must all deal are being constantly mandated.”

With respect to the value in attending, Midtbo commented, “Our industry is changing and progressing so fast that it’s hard to keep up. It may well be that this conference is your best opportunity to both update and measure your knowledge.”

The IES also notes the opportunity to network with your colleagues and apply real solutions to your business challenges, while learning about the latest new products and services from the industry’s leading suppliers as reasons to attend and that all courses and sessions are approved for Continuing Education Credits.

New to the pre-conference workshops this year is LED Specification and Design Fundamentals, a full day workshop that will start with the basics of LED technology and explain how this new light source interacts with the driver, thermal, and optical interfaces of the LED luminaire system. Topics such as retrofitting existing designs vs. a total replacement; real, attainable, energy and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings vs. HID systems will be addressed. The evolution of new standards including IES LM-79 and IES LM-80 will be covered along with photometric implications of LED vs. HID sources. Mark McClear of Cree and Perry Romano of Beacon Lighting will lead this course.

Jim Brodrick, Manager of US Department of Energy Solid State Lighting Program will deliver the opening address, "Trends and Future Outlook." Drawing on key partnerships with IES, industry, standard setting organizations, energy efficiency groups and utilities, the DOE has developed a wide array of collaborative programs designed to provide the information and tools needed. Brodrick will discuss how these programs can help separate the wheat from the chaff, and how attendees can get involved and accelerate their learning curve.

Ron Gibbons from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will present on Mesopic Vision and White Light Design, as well as Color Conversion. Extensive work has been performed to measure the performance of alternative light sources in roadway lighting systems. Gibbons will discuss this in relation to the measurements and the results from the work performed in Anchorage, San Diego, Hawaii and at dedicated test facilities. These measurements include illuminance, luminance and human response. Gibbons will also discuss the comparisons of light sources, performance and some recommendations for design standards including the impact on mesopic lighting.

Federal Energy Bills have passed in 2005 (EPACT) and 2007 (EISA) that affect lighting systems. The streak of odd-year energy bills continues with the introduction of the 2009 Energy Bill also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). The proposed 2009 bill may prove to have biggest effect yet on outdoor lighting systems. There is ongoing debate on the outdoor lighting system provisions in the 2009 bill. Joseph Howley, Manager of Industry Relations at GE Consumer and Industrial Lighting will discuss how legislation will affect outdoor lighting decisions.

Solid-State Plasma Lighting products available today offer compelling advantages over HID and LED alternatives in energy usage and total cost-of-ownership for those high-output lighting applications that need compact, high CRI sources and low maintenance. Apurba Pradhan, Senior Product Marketing Engineer, Luxim Corporation will review application highlights of market-ready products and lay-out technology roadmap that enables low total cost-of-ownership needed for rapid payback periods in street and area lighting installations.

The conference will also showcase the artistic and creative approach to lighting in presentations entitled 'Bridges as Gateways to Cities' and 'Avenue of the Arts Façade Lighting', highlighting local Philadelphia lighting projects.

In a presentation entitled, 'What We Do Know Can Hurt Us', David Keith, Principal of Marshall Design will discuss what is currently known about the impacts from different light sources, focusing on non-economic issues and consideration of source color. Information and opportunities in outdoor lighting continue to grow, producing surprising and important developments, however, the realities of physics and markets may be in conflict with long-term objectives such as reducing the environmental impacts of exterior lighting. Keith's wisdom will take attendees through this thought process.

Carl Andersen of the US Federal Highway Administration will present 'Lighting of the St Anthony Falls Bridge – One Year Later’; provide an overview of the lighting performance over the first year of operation. The St Anthony Falls (I-35W) Bridge in Minneapolis, MN, is considered the first application of an LED-based roadway lighting system in the U.S. A team comprised of the Minnesota DOT, US DOE, US FHA, and BetaLED, with the assistance of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), is monitoring the performance of this groundbreaking lighting system.

One would have to see it to believe it, but Ron Gibbons has certainly answered the question of light measurement in difficult to access spaces such as bridges with the VTTI mobile unit the can take light measurements with a dynamic, not static, luminance camera system ‘in motion’ and not require bridge or road closures.

Nancy Clanton will present ‘A Tale of Two Cities and Their Quest for Energy Efficient Street Lighting’. As energy and maintenance costs begin to sky-rocket, outdoor lighting has recently been targeted as a huge potential in cost reductions. In addition, the impacts of outdoor lighting on circadian cycle disruptions, nocturnal animal habitat, light trespass and sky glow have also been hot topics. Clanton will present case studies how two cities performed visibility tests and community subjective evaluations in order to assess the best street lighting replacement solutions.

Of interest to municipalities, the presentation ‘Municipal and Utility Funding for Emerging Technologies’ will demonstrate the status of a newly launched budget assistance and rebate program facilitated by a utility for the benefit of the end customer, in this case being the municipality as the ratepayer and the taxpayers as a whole, resulting in realized energy savings. The control and monitoring of outdoor lighting offers cities, streetlight maintenance companies, and utilities the prospect of lower operating costs, longer asset life, and more favorable environmental impact. Peter Hochstein, President and CTO of Relume Technologies will present a novel solution and discuss the economic and technological challenges that remain. Using case studies from several cities, including Philadelphia, the presentation, ‘Pedestrian Lighting in the Urban Master Plan’ will demonstrate the impact that a more pedestrian approach to lighting can have on the economic success of a downtown area.

As mentioned in a recent interview with Peter Strasser of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) Lighting and Human Health is a hot topic as light is a stimulus for regulating hormones, circadian rhythms and behavioral responses in humans. Recent research indicates that these non-visual effects of light are mediated by a newly discovered photoreceptor in the eye that is distinct from the classical rods and cones for vision. Dr. George Brainard, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Light Research Program at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University will provide up-to-date findings on this physiology, and its potential relevance to putative health risks of street and area lighting.

An overview of US DOE efforts to advance energy effectiveness in lighting parking lots and parking structures through a mass procurement project will be presented by Michael Myer, Research Analyst at PNNL. Myer will highlight lessons learned from both developing the procurement specification and from recent demonstrations of the technologies in the specification.

A Panel including Jim Brodrick, Nancy Clanton, Rick Kauffman and Rita Harrold, IES Director of Technology will present an overview of the latest pertinent lighting documents to the IES Lighting Library, included updates on RP-8, LM-79 and LM-80, as well as a report on the newly formed IES Mesopic Lighting Committee.

Valerie Landers of the IES reports that as always, the exhibit floor is at a premium and once again a total sell out. Attendees can review over 40 application specific exhibitors, with most now having LED based products in their lines. Valerie Landers has been instrumental in the development and progress of this conference and the many other duties in her portfolio at IES. Some of the most ‘brilliant’ minds in the lighting industry, such as Nancy Clanton, Ron Gibbons, David Keith, Ian Lewin, Mariana Figueiro and Bill Smelser continue to shine their light on presentations over the history of the SALC, many on this year’s program.

An attendee and exhibitor for years, Dr. Robert Adams of Chips and Wafers has his own perspective on the LED acronym being Lies, Exaggerations and Denials. The industry and the technology are getting better but some of the practices still are not. As the DOE’s Jim Brodrick stresses, do the due diligence. I can take the point one ‘step’ further as it is better to ‘do due’ than to step in the ‘do do’! In 2008, Nancy Clanton exclaimed, “You have endured how many days about LEDs?” Nancy is the penultimate professional in her work and regarded as tough in her overview of the technology, but fair and an excellent steward to have in the process of bringing the technology to market. 2008 saw an attendee reaction of bewilderment, confusion with the onset of LED, even somewhat uncomfortable but in most cases because of the concern as to meeting performance and standards requirements, which is now coming to fruition. Rumour has it that even Mark McClear may have a different perspective on LED retrofits for outdoor luminaires in his presentation this year.

With the new DOE Energy Star criteria for outdoor lighting applications currently in the comment stage, including the new metric ‘Fitted Target Efficacy’ or FTE, there will be much discussion surrounding standards. Municipalities are encouraged to join in on this process and to attend the SALC. With the onset of ARRA (stimulus) projects that involve Led in street lighting throughout the US, it behooves municipalities to use the SALC and other IES resources as a part of their due diligence process.

Following the SALC, the IES Roadway Lighting Committee (RLC) will meet for 3 days to review activities, technological progress and standards development. Brian Owen and Shirley Coyle of BetaLED / RUUD will be introducing an LED education curriculum outline. Those in the industry are encouraged to inquire about and join the RLC.

Join the IES for the latest from the ‘street’ at this year’s SALC. LEDs magazine will be there to bring you the latest news on SSL in outdoor applications and standards development.

For more information about IES SALC, contact Valerie Landers at 212.248.5000 x117 or visit