Q+A: Michael Myer

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher describes how the Interior Lighting Campaign is winning the hearts and minds of busy facility managers…one light at a time

Michael Myer
Michael Myer, Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory

The lighting industry sometimes “talks to itself” but falls short in terms of educating those outside the industry. How has the Interior Lighting Campaign been able to spread the word to facility owners?
Great question. The IES is one organizing member of the Campaign, but so is the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Facility Managers Association. The Campaign is actively seeking out additional partners to expand beyond these current organizers to better spread the message. GSA is one of the largest building owner and operators in the U.S. Partnering with GSA has allowed us to share messages and information with their end users.

Were some market sectors quicker to buy into the ILC than others?
I would say the healthcare sector was the quickest to buy into the program. Although lighting is a smaller portion of the overall energy usage of a building for the healthcare sector, the sector’s entire energy usage is significant. Anything that it can do to reduce their energy usage, they do.

We also have a fair amount of federal and government organizations buy into the Campaign. We then have organizations that we never expected and/or explicitly contacted participate in the program. A great example is Grace Bible Church in Montana. Compared to other organizations, the Grace Bible Church did not have a large quantity of light fixtures. However, the program is specifically geared to allow for both small and large users to participate.

Other than the obvious—lower energy bills—what’s “in it” for facility managers?
Although we lighting practitioners might be comfortable with lighting and controls, most end users still have a fair amount of questions about lighting.

For example, a group that advises healthcare facilities recently joined the Campaign as a supporter. This healthcare advisory group had received questions from their members about fires and other hazards related to tubular LEDs (TLEDs). The technical resource portion of the Campaign was able to virtually meet with the healthcare advisory group and discuss some of the issues.

Another participant was evaluating three different products with an organization that rents part of their space. The color appearance of materials under the lighting was a major concern. Although this Campaign participant spends millions in electricity annually, they wanted information from an independent source on how to evaluate the technologies being presented.

Recognition is also a key item of the Campaign. Military base commanders, as well as private organizations, are being evaluated by their green efforts.

The program goes beyond simple energy savings to quality lighting. What are some of the ILC success stories in that regard?
MGM Resorts replaced the T5HO fixtures in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center with LED fixtures. One of the frequent events at the Mandalay Bay involved color clothing. Mandalay Bay did a mock-up with the event organizer and the review of the colors provided by the LED lighting compared to the fluorescent lighting were superior.

How do you see the ILC program expanding?
The Campaign started with a focus only on troffers, but over time, it was expanded to include high-bay, low-bay and suspended luminaires. We have requests to include other types of light fixtures (e.g., downlights or decorative), but one of the challenges when expanding beyond those light fixtures is making comparisons and doing the related analysis. The Campaign is currently exploring how to expand beyond just lighting. For example, occupancy sensors incorporated into light fixtures can interface with HVAC or plug loads.