enLIGHTenment – The Lighting Industry Trade Publication

ALA: Raise Your Lighting IQ

The ALA has unveiled brand new tools — the highly anticipated update of the Residential Training Manual plus the Lighting for Interior and Exterior Residential Environments guide in collaboration with the IES
and ANSI.

Iturns out great minds do think alike, as evidenced by the new ANSI, IES, and ALA jointly produced RP-11 publication for designing and teaching lighting. By joining forces and sharing expertise, these specialized groups have been able to assemble a comprehensive guide that covers design objectives, examines the criteria for the quantity and quality of illuminance, details lighting methods, and explores various types and uses of equipment, energy use, and electrical code considerations.

This is the first version of RP-11 to be American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved, as well as having collaboration with the American Lighting Association (ALA). Within its pages, a compilation of visual tasks undertaken by various lifestyles and age groups is presented — along with potential solutions to common residential lighting problems.

The new RP-11 can also be used as a resource for hard-to-find residential lighting information and serves as the authoritative standard for technical and design data that can be relayed to other building professionals such as contractors, electricians, and builders.

“This new recommended practice provides design criteria for the many different types of interior and exterior spaces associated with residences and residential environments,” says Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Residential Lighting Committee Co-chair Doreen Le May Madden.

“Lighting design for residences requires an added expertise of understanding the psychological and physiological aspects of lighting, and how it pertains to personal preferences,” she adds. “Lighting quality is immeasurable in the sense of one’s feeling of well-being in a space. The relationship and balance between technical knowledge and the skill to create pleasant, functional lighting environments is evident within this document.”

To help members of the residential lighting community better understand the complex material, Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, and ALA’s Director of Engineering and Eric Borden, LS, CPC, founder of Pathfinder Consultants, Inc., co-presented an educational overview during the summer edition of Lightovation in Dallas.

“This is written from the designer standpoint,” McGowan notes. “It also covers residential-like environments such as senior living and hospitality applications.” What is particularly useful for designers is information on LED technology that they can relay to their clients; for instance, that LED illumination won’t fade artwork or paint colors like halogen/incandescent light sources can. There is also documentation/specification information on what can and can’t be done with LED lighting that designers can package and leave with their clients.

“Not all subjects in RP-11 are covered because there are other IES supplements that cover those areas,” McGowan explains. “The goal is defining quality lighting, assessing human needs, addressing architecture and building-related issues, plus economics and energy efficiency.”

The new RP-11 can also be used as a resource for hard-to-find residential lighting information and serves as the authoritative standard for technical and design data that can be relayed to other building professionals such as contractors, electricians, and builders.

“There is also a section on reflectance, which is so important in design,” Borden comments. “You’ll find a lot of information not only in the verbiage, but with illustrations and photography of various applications and lighting techniques.” (ALA member Susan Irie, owner of Kilohana Lighting in Hawaii, was instrumental in supplying relevant installation photography for the guide.)

Some of the completely new topics for lighting professionals – compared to past publications – is the inclusion of emerging categories including: Resilient Lighting (i.e. long-term lighting solutions for areas hit by disaster where the electrical grid may have been damaged); Daylighting and daylight integration into residential design plans; Zero Net Energy homes (i.e. the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan for all new residential construction to be zero net energy by 2020); Smart Lighting & Smart Homes; Tunable White Lighting; Warm Dimming; Lighting and Seeing for the Aging Eye, among others.

“These topics – particularly Resilient Lighting – fit in with what builders and developers are thinking about as we face more storms and rising sea levels,” McGowan notes. Attention is given to factors that affect interior designers’ lay-outs, such as avoiding glare and selecting portable lamps that provide the best light for the designated visual task.

Borden adds, “Good lighting practice has been around forever, so why not include what works from a legacy standpoint?” There are photographic examples of properly integrated lighting, ideal kitchen and bath lighting, electric lighting combined with daylighting, and specialty applications such as art and accent lighting.

With the IES’ involvement, RP-11 is not short on numeric calculations such as determining illuminance, converting footcandles into lux, and breaking down recommendations based on the visual age of the users (under 25, 25 to 65, and over 65) and the application.

“What I find important is the Illuminance Ratios, which details the illuminance of the brightest surface and the darkest surface,” McGowan states. “After all, one person’s glitter is another person’s glare.”

RP-11 can be purchased online for $63 in ALA’s member store at ALAMembers.com
($90 for non-members) and is ideal for architects, lighting designers, interior designers, lighting retailers, contractors, and those involved in lighting equipment. 

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