California is leading the way, not only as an economic powerhouse, but for energy regulations as well. In our Discussion with MJ Paul at Omega Pacific we got into the end of rebates, how to get out of electrical supply by focusing on lighting distribution, and keeping the start-up mentality 30 years into a company’s life cycle.
As we continued our chat we got into the particulars of working the bay area, the regional nature of the business, and building strong customer relationships in the digital era.
The fact of the matter is that controls aren’t guaranteed to generate savings. There’s a number of reasons for this; the space is always occupied, the control mechanisms themselves draw too much energy, or people who might flip a switch end up letting the sensor do the work and lamps run for 5 minutes longer than they have to. But that’s okay (mostly), because Lighting Wizard, Stan Walerczyk is back to talk about the non-energy benefits to a set of controls. He along with Greg and Michael go through alternate benefits like color-tuning for alertness, zone controls for safety, and biophilia by mimicking nature.
We’re still not clear what side Stan is on in this discussion, or how to measure human productivity, or why lighting seems to be the default application of smart controls. But at least we had an interesting chat.
Brian Stern and Webb Lawrence of the LED Supply Co in Denver came to lighting after working in IT and radio respectively. They jumped in by dealing in to the local cannabis market, before abandoning that space outright for the opportunities of ‘regular’ retrofit business, and also not having to compete with HPS’s stranglehold on indoor horticulture.
In this episode, they chat about creating value adds as a distributor, partnering with interior designers and the surprisingly varied applications that emerging from UV-based disinfection lamps.
Eric Myklebust believes each building can be its own power grid. When asked why that might be necessary he will not cop to believing in the end of days that is the climate crisis. Talking about the facts of the matter, as opposed to projections; we can say for sure that less pollution is a good thing, solar panels can be very useful to that end. But the hurdle to green energy isn’t storage, it’s inverting the power to make it work with an AC grid. Which brings us back to the first thing Eric wants us all to do - the developed world is on the cusp of a major paradigm shift as we electrify our transport and pivot to renewables, so why not overturn the results of the current war and convert our homes to DC power supplies without relying central generation?
Neil Mattson, PhD, is a professor at Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science, a greenhouse extension specialist, and this episode’s guest. Joining Michael and Greg from the floor of HortiCann in Denver, we start our chat with the cyclical attempts LEDs have made at breaking into this field, and how maybe this is the time they dethrone high-pressure sodium lamps, even it means rebuilding a bunch of heating systems to do it.
As a researcher we ask him what the real metrics are for horticultural light - lumens per watt is great for warehouse, but when that warehouse needs to produce rather than store food, it becomes a question of biomass efficacy and micromoles per joule. The conversation drifts away from the particulars of the GLASE project and more into how our understanding of light is creating new specialties in engineering, design and agricultural sciences; these may not turn into full fields of study, but will turn into professions fairly soon. The LEDifiction of the built world is coming for indoor farming, but given how much energy some of these facilities use we’re going to need better sources of power if we’re really going to improve climate conditions. Also in this episode, a discussion of the future of cultivation, the co-evolution of human beings alongside plant-life, and other ideas from the show floor.
This week’s guest thinks what we do is too simple, nevermind the two years and a hundred podcast episodes, Mark Marmer does his work in design and build contracts for electric vehicle charging stations for condominiums.
Our chat with him talks about the paradigm shift that electric cars represent, especially as driving becomes automated, but also working a contract start to finish over bidding to a specification, Toronto real-estate and the value add a charging station represents, as well as how fast the switch to electric is really coming. Mark breaks out his crystal ball to share his vision of transportation for the next twenty years.
The show does close on a lighting topic as he asks about how Greg and Michael work with sensors and controls and how there’s a difference between simplifying this and merchandising complexity.
Jessica Collier of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is fresh off her award-winning thesis and right onto the Get a Grip on Lighting Podcast to share her work in color preference under electric light. She’s building up a library of descriptive tags based on the IES’ TM30 specification, so that vendors and consumers won’t be left in the dark when it comes to all the metrics on the side of a box. We’ve done enough to encourage LED adoption with savings, now it’s time to make lamps that feel good to sit in.
On the floor of Nalmco’s Convention in Minneapolis we met up with two of its directors, Bill Sgro and Scott Mendelsohn, to talk about the generational aspect of our industry and the value of networking at conventions like these. We also get into the incentive bubble, the future of what we’ll be making and selling as IoT adoption reaches a tipping point, current challenges and foreseeable problems. The episode closes out with some commiserations on the lack of leadership and standardization in lighting and where that leaves us all vulnerable to exploitation.
Stan Walerczyk has done everything in the lighting business, but today he’s here to talk about the color blue. Specifically, he wants to talk about the 480 nanometer wavelength and how it figures into spectrally-enhanced, blue-enriched lighting for human performance. As a member of the Human-Centric Lighting Society he spends most of him trying to research how high kelvin temperatures can be used to help people that operate at night. Mike and Greg prod him about how inconclusive the research seems to be, it’s more about feedback on correlations than strict double-blind data comparisons. Stan shares that frustration, so much of the work in this field gets done by people pushing products, rather than pure researchers; he’d like to be able to offer a daily schedule of ideal color and brightness shifts for your bulbs, but we’re all just stuck adjusting to what feels best.
They do touch on a few other issues, like the work going on in non-circadian applications that are more directly related to health, other light hazards, and how humans aren’t the only ones that need lighting accommodations; we need turtle- and seabird-centric lighting as well.
The Nefouses of A-M Electric represent 45 years and 3 generations in the business. Michael and Greg met up with The Louisville Light Man and the Godfather of NAILD in their shop to talk about the pace of the LED Invasion, the value of distribution, peaceful transitions of power, and the need to reinvent your business regularly.
As they get into the story of A-M Electric, they bring up project pitches as a storytelling, tricky dealings with vendors, the nature of the Kentucky marketplace.
The pair also share their perspective on working with what you do have before leaving on their love for the business.