While I will continue to do lighting retrofits, there seems to be little incentive out there for participation in the EVT Lighting Designer program. My lighting design practice, while using the most energy efficient lighting systems, now focuses on saving customers money on lighting product costs over more typical spec methods. Did you know that currently almost all commercial lighting specs in VT are done by the manufacturers reps? "or equal" is used by electrical engineers and architects- with the unintended effect of allowing lower cost, typically lower quality products to be substituted by competing rep agencies. This leads to "a race to the bottom" in lighting quality. Unfortunately, few engineers and architects understand enough about lighting to prevent this. Project owners are the losers, as the contractors and suppliers enjoy sizable markups on inferior products.
I save customers money by eliminating the high markups, and specifying and supplying the right products to meet the client's needs at a fair price. Because the contractor does not see the cost of the lighting fixtures, this also saves on installation cost. Its typical for electricians to use 2x the fixture cost for their installed cost, which for higher quality products can be too much.
The focus of more of my projects now is on ensuring that my clients benefit not only with energy savings, but also with quality lighting designed to ensure health and wellness. Circadian stimulus is a key health component as determined by the Lighting Research Center at RPI and international lighting agencies. Some energy retrofits have reduced light levels to the point that the spaces can have a negative impact on daylong occupants. Others were overlighted, and then rely on dimming to reach proper light levels- sometimes resulting in noticeable flicker from low cost drivers. I have seen a number of retrofits using magnetic LED strip that are severely underlit, as well as schools which have been delamped to the point that learning is affected. I'd like to help address these issues, but where does one begin?
If you don't have resources available to assist in these types of projects, I quite understand, as Health and wellness are not part of EVT's goals.
Donna Leban, AIA LC