Good Morning Inspiration: The Byegone Music Video from Volcano Choir, A Fluorescent Tube’s Wet Dream

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This video has been making its way all over the internet and Twitter for the last few days — well worth it, I must say!

Published on Jul 25, 2013

Volcano Choir ‘Repave’ out September 3, 2013 on Jagjaguwar
iTunes http://smarturl.it/volcanochoir_itunes
Amazon http://smarturl.it/volcanochoir
SCD http://smarturl.it/volcanochoir_scd
Indies: http://smarturl.it/volcanochoir_indies

Director: Michinori Saigo
Director of Photography: Toshihiko Kizu

Volcano Choir
Artist Page http://jagjaguwar.com/artist.php?name…
Website http://volcanochoir.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/volcanochoir
Twitter https://twitter.com/volcanochoir
Instagram http://instagram.com/volcanochoir

Volcano Choir – “Byegone” from ‘Repave’ out September 3, 2013 on Jagjaguwar

I have to say — for a fluorescent tube, this is like a strawberry watching a strawberry pie be made!  Something to aspire to, even though I get the feeling those are LED tubes…

Good Morning, everyone!

Not Your Grandma’s CFL – The Brain Compact Fluorescent Lamp

From Belarusian design team Solovyov Design comes an awesome bit of compact fluorescent goodness that breaks the mold of the typical corkscrew-shaped glass envelope.  Meet the Insight CFL from Solovyov Design:

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I love seeing photos of the design team after meeting their lighting product for the first time.  It’s almost like seeing into someone’s soul before you see their face.  LOVE IT!  Meet Solovyov Design chief designers Maria and Igor Solovyov.  Maria, Igor — JimOnLight loves your work!

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The Daily Lamp – Hulger’s Pharaoh Pendant Series for Lightyears

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Today’s Daily Lamp is a very elegant design by Hulger for the Danish lighting company Lightyears — from the Lightyears website:

Pharaoh is a unique pendant light created for the beautifully designed and eye-catching Plumen 001 light source. Pharaoh’s aim has been to gently frame and enhance the expression of the Plumen light source, preventing glare, and ensure optimum luminous efficiency.

In addition to a precise, harmonious shape, Pharaoh is impressive in its unusual and spectacular form. When the lamp is switched off, the shade appears to be mirror-like, reflective and robust. And yet, the moment the lamp is switched on, the shade takes on a metallic transparency, thereby making the light source visible. The transformation between illuminated and non-illuminated is truly remarkable with Pharaoh really optimising this unique light source.

In stores from May 2013

The really twisty light source you see in there is called Plumen – the designer CFL. This thing is also pretty cool, check it out:

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This is a really sleek, elegant pendant!  I likie!  This is Hulger’s first commission for Lightyears, and I hope the next ones are as awesome as Pharaoh!

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Beautiful!

hulger03Thanks to DesignBoom for the initial post!

Stock Market – Lighting Edition

Something hilarious happened to me last week – well, hilarious to me.  I was watching the news early in the morning, and as I flipped through the various new sources it was literally “the stock market” this, and “the blue chips” that, and “Main street took another hit today.”  Oh – and JP Morgan irked the United States a few weeks ago when it unveiled its plans for high pay and big bonuses.  Again.

I could not help but thinking that no one talks about lighting industries’ stocks.  We provide the world with the ability to light up the darkness – we bring innovation to innovation.  While people in our industry lose their jobs one after the other and stimulus money gets tossed into projects across the nation, don’t you wonder how the companies IN our industry are doing?

I captured some 90-day stock market charts last week for a handful of companies in the lighting markets.  Obviously this is not an exhaustive list – if there are stocks you follow that you think I should be following, will you either post a comment below or send me a comment through the contact form?  Pretty please?

Okay, let’s start out with Barco (Barco NV – BAR):

On January 26, 2010, Barco’s stock closed out at $28.94 per share, down 47 cents (or -1.6%).  Barco’s market cap is $369.35 million – “market cap” or market capitalization is a number that represents a corporation’s outstanding number of shares multiplied by their price.  What this means is that Barco has 12,760,000 shares of stock, each valued at around $28.94 each.  Multiply $28.94 X 12,760,000 and you get around $369,350,000, their current market cap.

Something that strikes me as a bit sad, whether it is related or not, is when you put news against the market reports.  For example, look at their stock price around the beginning of December, right when they laid off a bunch of High End Systems workers.


Look at Lighting Science Group – a company that engineers and makes LED products (Lighting Science Group Corporation – LSGC):

LSGC’s stock as of 1/26 was at 88 cents per share, with 30,460,000 shares outstanding – giving LSGC a market cap of $25,890,000 (remember, shares X cost = market cap).  That share cost was up 3 cents (or 3.53%).  For those of you following the news, LSGC announced at the beginning of the month that they were taking on Zachary Gibler, Carlos Gutierrez, Michael Kempner, Joe Montana and Michael Moseley to their board of directors.  You might recognize Carlos Guitierrez as a CNBC news contributor and Commerce Secretary under George W. Bush.  And yes, Joe Montana is THE Joe Montana, the football guy.

LSGC just this last week announced that they were commencing a rights offering for up to about 25 million Series D shares of non-convertible preferred stock (and warrants), which represents the right to purchase up to about 25 million shares of common stock.  All of these terms are extremely confusing to people (like myself) who don’t follow the market nose first.  LSGC’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings on this news are here.

You might be asking yourself, “What on earth are “Series D Non-Convertible Stocks?”  Preferred stocks are debt instruments (like all stocks) that have a higher payout priority than common stocks.  This means that dividends must be paid to preferred stock holders first before common stock dividend payouts.  In the case of these stocks, the holders don’t have the option to convert them to common stocks, and preferred stocks normally don’t have voting rights.  It’s all very complicated in my humble opinion.


Now look at General Electric (General Electric Company, GE):

GE has not had that great of a time lately as far as the stock market is concerned.  As of January 26, their stock was down 6 cents at $16.29, and they were having one of the worst periods in their almost 120 year history.  GE lost its AAA credit rating last year, and its GE Capital division ain’t doing so well – their commercial real estate division is getting hammered with vacancies and all that kind of real estate crap.  GE is a HUGE company though – their market share is 173.48 billion – that’s $173,480,000,000 – with 10,650,000,000 shares outstanding at about $16.29 a share.  That’s a lot of zeros.


Let’s move on to a company that people are hoping will do some amazing things with their Electron-Stimulated Luminescence technology, or ESL – the VU1 Corporation (VUOC):

VU1 is actually up 5 cents from the time I polled these numbers – but as of January 26 it was at $0.49 a share, with almost 86 million shares outstanding.  Their market cap was $42,050,000 approximately, and they were down about a dime a share last quarter.  The ESL technology is interesting, and on the VU1 blog there is talk of progress on an ESL replacement for the typical fluorescent tube.


Ok, now look at semiconductor manufacturer Cree, Inc (CREE):

Cree is having a great time right now – their stock price is up over 10 bucks since October 2009, and set a new record for the company’s stock prices on January 19, 2010.  They’re actually down 2 bucks since January 26 when I pulled this report, but they’re still kicking some tail.  With 106 million shares at around 60 bucks is giving Cree a market cap of 6.31 billion dollars – $6,310,000,000.  I love to actually type out the digits, it really gives you perspective.

I wish I had a few extra buckaroos to invest, because I’d probably toss some of it into Cree stock.  Analysts are flipping out over Cree’s prices and growth.  I hope their growth spawns new and excellent technologies that are positive advancements towards our growth as an industry and not just the same old stuff for more money.

Some news I did not expect to hear lately was the agreement that one of their competitors Arrow Electronics signed with Cree to provide Arrow’s customers with Cree power products (Silicon Carbide JBS).  Go, Cree!


The last company I want to actually talk about is Philips (Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV – PHG):

From when I pulled this report, Philips’ stock is down a buck or so per share.  Philips is another enormous company with so many divisions – they have almost a billion shares of stock outstanding – 927,460,000 shares.  Their market cap (927.46 million shares at around 30 bucks a share) is $29.17 billion dollars.  Huge.

Philips is a monster in the LED business, and if you’re in the lighting industry you’ve heard of their LumiLED products.  TIME Magazine gave Philips the honor of calling their LED replacement lamp as one of the best inventions of 2009, and people rave about their other product lines – LED wash fixtures, high output LEDs, and their various lines of consumer non-LED products, including incandescent and fluorescent products.  They’re an industry leader.


None of this stuff is easy to understand, and believe me – I’m a lighting designer, not a market analyst.  But it doesn’t take a Merrill Lynch quant to break down the major components into understandable pieces.  I kinda look at it like this – when more people understand what is going on with a subject, it becomes that much more difficult for insiders in that industry to screw the public over.  If I can help make that happen even a little bit, then we have collectively made an investment in our future and success.

I’m not gonna talk about the reports below, but they’re just graphs of some other companies’ stocks that I follow.  If you have suggestions of companies I should watch, drop me a line or comment below, will ya?

Tatsuta Electric Wire and Cable – HOLY CRAP – $14.15 billion dollar market cap (for only 65 million shares), and their stock is at $217 a SHARE!

Chung Wa Picture Tubes:

Molex Inc – everybody knows Molex, right?

What? Japanese Fluorescent Lamp Battle

WARNING:
This is really violent and pretty bloody.  I listed it here because of its complete lack of sanity.

Seriously, consider this a warning.

To be completely honest, I am really unsure as to what to say in this situation.  Apparently there are ring fights in Japan that are fought with fluorescent tubes.  What’s the point here – first man to get hydrargyria first wins?

I am at a loss for words.

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Holy cow!

Click the link for more nasty photos and even a gross video.
Read more

LER: Luminaire Efficacy Rating

Have you ever heard of a factor called the Luminaire Efficacy Rating, or LER?

Luminaire Efficacy Rating is exactly what it sounds like – it is a measure of how efficient a luminaire is, which basically means “how much light does it put out based on how much energy it consumes?”  Imagine it as “miles per gallon” for lighting fixtures; that example is pretty oversimplified, but it’s a good comparison of how the LER relates to the overall efficiency of a luminaire.  LER is expressed in “lumens per watt,” which makes sense if you think about it very briefly – how many lumens does a fixture produce per each watt of power that it uses, or how much light does this thing produce when it eat this much power?

The Luminaire Efficacy Rating generally deals with three important criteria:

  • the efficacy of the luminaire, or how much light it delivers per watt
  • the ability for the luminaire to direct light outside of itself
  • the ability of the luminaire’s ballasts to deliver power to the lamps efficiently

The LER is a factor that the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has put into play – fluorescent luminaires are one of the categories being compared in the case of LER, and the figure compares many factors.  There are three major categories of luminaire types that are broken down with the Luminaire Efficacy Rating – fluorescent luminaires, high-intensity discharge industrial luminaires (arc lamps), and commercial, non-residential downlight luminaires.

I put together an image with the breakdown of the terms and basic definitions – I hope it is helpful!

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NEMA breaks down the standards for Luminaire Efficacy Rating in the following documents:

  • Fluorescent Luminaires:
    NEMA LE5
  • High-Intensity Discharge Luminaires:
    NEMA LE5B
  • Commercial (non-residential) Downlights:
    NEMA LE5A

The LER factor mostly deals with luminaires using a ballast.  You can certainly calculate the LER for a luminaire using an incandescent lamp – the difference is that you wouldn’t multiply the Ballast Factor into the equation.  Your new equation would be:

LER = (EFF x TLL)/input watts
Luminaire Efficacy Rating for an incandescent luminaire = the product of the luminaire’s efficiency multiplied by the total lamp lumens of the luminaire, divided by the input watts of the luminaire.  Makes sense, right?  No ballast in an incandescent luminaire!

Let’s look a bit at the definitions in this LER equation.  Not everyone might have heard of all of these figures, and some people might be saying “SAY WHAAAT?”

EFF, or Luminaire Efficiency:
This term refers to the output of the luminaire proportionally to the lamp or lamps’ output.  Technically, it is a measure of the amount of luminous flux of the luminaire divided by the amount of luminous flux of just the lamp itself.

(HEY JIM!  What the heck is luminous flux?)

Luminous flux is the measure of the perceived brightness or “light power” – it’s different than radiant flux, which measures all of the light emitted.  Luminous flux is geared towards what the eye can see and the brain can interpret.

TLL, or Total Lamp Lumens:
This term refers to the total measured (rated) quantity of lumens coming from the lamps.  This amount is also multiplied by how many lamps are in the luminaire.  Pretty understandable, right?  So, for example, if I have a luminaire with 3 lamps with a 2000 lumen output each, the total lamp lumens is 6000 lumens – 2000 lumen lamps multiplied by 3 lamps = 6000 lumens.  Cake.

BF, or Ballast Factor:
Ballast Factor isn’t a difficult thing to understand, but there are a few components to understanding it.  Ballast Factor deals with both parts of the creation of light – the ballast and the lamp.  Ballast factor is the ability of a ballast to produce light from the lamp or lamps that it energizes.  A ballast not only fires up the lamp, but after it’s started, it maintains the processes of the lamp.  The Ballast Factor is measured by taking the lumen output of  lamp and ballast combination and dividing it by a reference lamp/ballast combination.

Reference Ballasts are ballasts that are designed to be nearly “perfect” in order to perform under a particular set of conditions.  NEMA has guidelines set forth for Reference Ballasts, which is how we are able to use them to compare other ballast/lamp combinations.

Luminaire Watts Input:
Another very easy thing to understand – Luminaire Watts Input (also called Watts Input, Input Watts, or a number of terms generally related to the idea) is how many watts of power that the luminaire consumes.

I hope this makes a bit more sense if you didn’t know about it before.  Please send me an email through the contact form if you have any questions!

What? Ohio Public Utilities Commission and FirstEnergy’s $10.80 Stupidity

What?

Have you ever had a volunteer come to your door with a free compact fluorescent lamp?  When my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City,  a community program volunteer brought a free compact fluorescent lamp to our house for us to have and use in order to save energy.  How nice, right?  We thought so.  A public utility, FirstEnergy in Ohio, set up a program (that was approved by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, by the way) that distributes compact fluorescent lamps to customers in Ohio.

Cool program, right?  Free fluorescent lamps for all.  Except they’re not free – FirstEnergy will be charging their customers $10.80 each for the lamps, automatically, with no opt-out program.  Hold on a minute – for $10 I can go down to Target, Home Depot, or Lowes’ and buy a half-dozen compact fluorescent lamps.  What’s with this $10.80 per lamp crap?

Last year, the Ohio state government passed a bill saying that utilities had to cut their customers’ usage 22% by the year 2025.  Apparently this is how FirstEnergy is going about reducing energy usage – by charging customers way, way too much for something that people can buy on their own for 1/6 the price.

An article from John Funk at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland states:

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn’t find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company’s lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

Hmm.  You know what really sucks about this?  If you have seen the letter from FirstEnergy VP of Customer Service John Paganie, it seems like they’re giving these lamps away for free:

We are pleased to provide you with two energy-efficient CFLs. When you install these bulbs in place of two 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your home, you could save about $30 over the life of each bulb.  Here’s how:

Traditional incandescent bulbs cost less to buy than CFLs, but they might only last 750 hours. Your new CFLs should last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times as long. This means you would need to buy more than 13 traditional bulbs to equal the lifespan of one CFL.

Also, your new CFLs will use 75 percent less electricity than a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, and will produce the same amount of light. When you combine the longer life and decreased energy usage of the CFL, you can see significant, long-term savings for each bulb you replace.

FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility companies – The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison – are providing these light bulbs to residential customers in Ohio.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers reduce the amount of electricity they use while increasing their energy efficiency. These CFLs are just one simple way you can improve energy efficiency in your home. We’ve also enclosed a booklet with more than 100 energy-saving tips.
For additional information, please visit firstenergycorp.com/energyefficiency.

Thanks, and enjoy your two compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Sincerely,
John Paganie
FirstEnergy Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Customer Service

What the hell.  Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a misleading statement?  I think it does, and apparently thousands of Ohioans also thought it did, because the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, who approved the program in the first place, has turned around and said that they have now asked FirstEnergy to postpone the start of the program until someone knows what on Earth it is going to cost, and what exactly is going on.  From the Consumerist website, a pro-consumer news site (I’m sure you know who they are), who posted the response from the PUCO on the FirstEnergy backlash:

“The PUCO has received a large volume of calls and emails in response to the compact fluorescent light bulb program approved last month for FirstEnergy. Today, I received a letter from Gov. Strickland asking that the PUCO postpone the program until such time as we can address several questions raised by the governor, members of the Ohio General Assembly and FirstEnergy customers related to program details and costs.

As a result, I have asked FirstEnergy to postpone deployment of its compact fluorescent light bulb program until the Commission can thoroughly assess the costs associated with this program. The PUCO approved the program following consensus reached during discussions among the company and other organizations including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Although the PUCO allowed FirstEnergy to implement its program, we did not approve the charge that will appear on monthly bills as a result. Reports in the media place the cost to customers at sixty cents per month for three years, which equates to $21.60 over the life of the program. The PUCO has not approved these additional dollars nor have we received a request by the company to do so.

The PUCO will gather additional information regarding the program and its related costs. Until the PUCO has specific details regarding the program costs, FirstEnergy should not deploy its compact fluorescent light bulb program.”

I’ll be watching for more information on this ridiculance. If you have any more news about the program, please contact me via the contact form and I will get that info published right now.

A record of the legal case for this ridiculance is here – it’s a dry read, but interesting nonetheless.

Vu1 Documentary – Electron Stimulated Luminescence

I wrote about a company called Vu1 a while ago – Vu1 has the ESL technology lamp, which stands for Electron-Stimulated Luminescence.  It’s an interesting concept that tries to replace the idea of the light bulb into something completely different yet stunningly similar.

Reader Chinco Erai posted about a documentary video in the comments recently – it was an excellent look at the ESL technology – check it out!