Should YOU Join United Scenic Artists Local 829?

I just read an absolutely outstanding article on joining United Scenic Artists Local 829, written by Andrew Griffin, @afgld on Twitter.  I myself am a United Scenic Artists Local 829 member, in the category of Lighting Designer, of course!  I mean, I know I’m well-known for my illustrious costume designs for RuPaul and all, but my heart goes out to light.

If you’re deciding on whether or not to join up or try to take the test and join up, you need to read Andrew’s article.  Hands down.

Part L of the Building Regulations Code in the United Kingdom – A Mini EISA Scenario?

Here at JimOnLight.com, sense is trying to be made of the current labyrinth (movie starring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie) that is the Energy Independence and Safety Act (EISA).  As we dig deeper and deeper into a piece of legislation that could actually do some good if it wasn’t so heavily balanced on income, news of some changes in a similar-but-not-same legislation in another country has some interesting components that need discussing.  it’s called PART L of the Building Regulations in the United Kingdom.  Ever heard of it?

PART L is a bit of legislation in England and Wales that generally tries to legislate the consumption of fuel and power in buildings.  Obviously there is a lot to this document; and in a document that has a lot, it’s bound to have flaws.  How many of these flaws will be allowed to get through?  A lot of people think time will tell, but the time to act to change some of the absurdity is running out to affect a change to get implemented any time soon.  The next opportunity to make a change?  2016.

If you’re interested in checking out the actual verbage of PART L, here’s a link directly to it.  Here’s the latest changes to the PART L document, too.

Basically, PART L is broken up into four parts.  L1 pertains to dwellings, L2 pertains to non-dwellings:

  • L1A:  New dwellings
  • L1B:  Existing Dwellings
  • L2A:  New Buildings other than Dwellings
  • L2B:  Existing Buildings other than dwellings

From what I understand, one large portion of the hullaballoo with PART L right now is in the way it deals with “energy efficiency.”  Generally, the issue is in the way that said energy efficiency is actually legislated.  Right now, PART L deals with a luminaire’s efficacy, and people involved in wanting to improve the legislation want to move to a lighting systems-based efficacy.  Doesn’t that kinda make more sense?  It does seem like we should be done with relying on the good ol’ toggle light switch, it is 2011 after all.

I had a quick conversation with lighting designer and Twitter persona Liz Peck about this PART L business – to get more information on it from someone who’s right in the middle of it.  Liz gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation on the PART L Regulations, and has been published in LUX Magazine.  Liz is also principal at LPA Lighting, her lighting design firm.

The interview:

JOL:  Liz, can you fill me in on what PART L means for people living where PART L would be implemented? What would an outside observer to PART L need to know?

Liz Peck:  Part L of the Building Regulations governs the “conservation of fuel and power” and it applies to all new and refurbished buildings in England & Wales. Scotland & Northern Ireland have different building regulations but in essence they all follow the same pattern. It’s divided into domestic and non-domestic buildings, but for both, compliance with Part L is based almost entirely on luminaire or lamp efficacy. This means that the application of lighting is often lost, especially in projects where specialist lighting designers are not involved – the principle is that as long as the luminaire complies, then it’s an energy efficient scheme.

As a lighting engineer, what does PART L mean?
It means very little as it’s so easy to comply with. I don’t think it really influences how we approach the lighting of buildings; most lighting designers would comply with Part L without even trying.

PART L seems a little like the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) here in the United States.  EISA has a lot of very confusing aspects to it, and people in the US generally have no idea what it means.  Is PART L a lot like that with respect to its complex nature? What could be done to alleviate confusion?
From what I know of it, the ambitions of the EISA are a little greater, though they certainly have some similarities in the use of energy efficient light sources. The confusion in Part L lies predominantly with its flaws, of which there are many. For instance, in non-domestic buildings, it allows an efficient luminaire to be left on in an empty building because there is no need for controls beyond a manual on/off switch. How can that ever be thought of as efficient? Equally, for some areas in the building, the targets remain on lamp efficacy with no regard to luminaire performance, so in theory you could have a ‘black box’ luminaire with zero light output but if it contained T5 lamps, it would be compliant! In domestic buildings, it’s not much better: the requirement is for 75% of “light fixtures” to be energy efficient (40 l/w) but there is no requirement for the fixtures to be dedicated, so the reality is that the plans get approved with either CFL or LED lamps specified in traditional lampholders and then as soon as the occupants move in, they switch the lamps to less efficient sources that they prefer!

Are there cons to PART L with respect to the way it legislates luminaires instead of systems?
I think it’s the lack of need for controls which is its biggest flaw; we’re a decade into the 21st Century and the ‘recommended’ controls strategy is a manual switch. We really need to move on; the controls aspect is so out of date, it’s almost unbelievable. To have a situation in 2010 when absence and daylight sensors are considered advanced lighting controls for new buildings is a joke. These are basic controls which no new building should be without unless they have very good reason. The old adage of the most efficient luminaire is the one which is switched off when it’s not needed doesn’t apply to Part L. Things have to change.

What else should people know?
Trying to get most people to understand lumens per watt is fruitless; most people running a building, whether it’s their own home or a commercial office understand only two metrics: energy and money. Metering is becoming more prevalent in commercial buildings and is being introduced into the domestic market – maybe when people can see just how much energy they are using through lighting, they will start to think about improving it, but all the time the Building Regulations only require the use of efficient sources and not their application, we will (sadly) continue to see inefficient lighting schemes being installed. We must move to a systems-based approach, with targets on energy consumption, if we are to really make a difference in the future.

I also did some digging and found an interesting article at LUX Magazine on this subject, written by Iain Carlile of DPA Lighting Design.  Iain’s article, entitled “Why We Must Fight for PART L,” had some very direct commentary on PART L legislation.  In reference to why PART L needs changing:

Part L is correct in its requirement to reduce energy consumption, but the metrics used for lighting are quite crude and predominantly only cover the efficacy of the luminaire — not the total energy consumption of the lighting system.

This leaves us in a ludicrous situation. The lighting scheme can comply with the requirements of Part L but still waste energy through the unnecessary lighting of unoccupied or daylit areas.

For example, look at many commercial properties where all of the lighting is on throughout the night when the space is unoccupied. These installations can have efficient luminaires and lamps, achieving low installed electrical load per unit area and high luminaire efficacies. But the absence of simple occupancy controls means the lighting can remain on for more than twice the required operational hours, wasting a huge amount of energy.

The installation may meet the requirements of Part L, yet in fact the installation can be quite wasteful of energy because the lighting is not switched off when it is not required.
Recent advances in technology make it possible to specify LEDs for ambient lighting that emit an excellent quality of light across the visual spectrum, with a colour temperature and colour rendering properties that compare favourably with tungsten lamps.

Iain’s resolution to PART L?

For this situation to be resolved, future revisions of Part L must change the metric used for measuring the energy efficiency of a lighting installation.

We must as an industry challenge the existing legislation and push for a suitable metric that considers not just the efficacies of lamps and luminaires but also includes factors such as lighting controls, dimming levels, hours of operation, daylight linking and presence detection.

Only then will we have legislation that allows the intelligent application of the ‘right light, right place, right time’ philosophy.

Personally, I am glad to see that the Society of Light and Lighting is pushing for a move to systems-based targets in the next revision of Part L.

If you’re looking for a quick five-minute overview on PART L, check out this video below:

Do you think that the public would feel good about PART L if they had someone explain it to them so that it made sense?  As far as EISA goes, that seems to be a lot of the problem.  Perhaps if more people knew about the legislation that the government was trying to put in place they could make a more informed decision.  It’s nice to know that at least America isn’t the only country in the world in which its people have to actually TRY to find out the real truth about things in which its government is involved.

Something I found pertinent and relevant from the LUX Mag article was a quote from Martin Valentine, a lighting expert in Abu Dhabi City.  He talks about the way we need to go forward:

‘We need to be looking at controls and overall limits as well as luminaire efficiency. But we also need to not lose sight of light quality. The four things work hand in hand.’

Valentine warned that the danger with complicated legislation is that nobody really knows what is going on. He believes Part L is a good thing but needs to move with the times, rather be caught behind.

He said: ‘It needs to evolve and it needs to be clear cut. People need to know what’s going on and benchmarks need to be in place.’

Thanks to LUX Mag, Liz Peck, iRed, and Wikipedia!

LightFair Day One – What A Great Conference!

LightFair 2010 – have you SEEN so many LEDs in your life?!

I have to say I am having a TON of fun on the floor of LightFair 2010 – this is a conference I will be attending each year!  I walked around yesterday on the floor, meeting people, getting hugs from people, and generally having an excellent time.  One thing that I am super excited about is that I HAVE A REAL PHOTOGRAPHER shooting work for JimOnLight.com!  Everybody’s favorite Amanda Lynne Ballard is here, shooting pics and making me look GREAT!  You have to see some of the work she got for you all, and make sure to thank her.

Check out some photos of the showfloor – if you’ve not been to LightFair, you need to make plans!  This is a huge year for LightFair, most people ever!

“The Map”

WANT.  NOW.

Part of Cree LED’s booth – AWESOME!

Peter Kirkup showing how he nerds his iPad into controlling the Orb.  Awesome.

I love me some Peter Kirkup!  This kid is a GENIUS!

I also loves me some Ginny Skalski from Cree – she’s the Social Media voice of Cree LEDs!  What a rock star!

Green Man Walking

The biggest CFL I have ever seen.  Ever.

That’s right – OptiLEDs immersed in water.  How’s that for IP 68?

SeaChanger – in all if its greatness!

More OptiLED submersion

Finally – someone acknowledged Street Lighting!

Stay tuned – I’m here all week!  Lots more stuff to come.  I am very excited!

In Case You Hadn’t Heard, ESTA and PLASA are Proposing A Merger

This is pretty huge news, everybody – if you’ve not heard about this yet, it’s time to hear about it now.

Two major organizations in the entertainment industry, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) are voting on a merger.  “Wait a second,” you might ask yourself – “what good would that do?”  Well, that’s what being a professional in the industry is all about – working on making our industry better one step at a time.  That also means making decisions about what happens in our industry, and now is the time for action.  If you’re a member of ESTA or PLASA, you’ll be getting a ballot soon – send it in!  On May 31, voting closes on the merger, and we’ll hear about the results in early June.

What are your thoughts on the merger of PLASA and ESTA?  Please comment below and share your views!

If you want to see the packet that was mailed around to members, the link is here (PDF link), and the ESTA website has additional information on the merger.  Below is a letter than was sent out a month or so ago regarding the merger:


Dear Members,

It has sometimes been said that many people spend more time ‘planning the wedding’ than they do ‘planning the marriage.’  We will tell you (with great conviction) that this is certainly not the case when it comes to the proposed merger between ESTA and PLASA. Ever since last fall when we announced that the ESTA Board of Directors and the PLASA Executive Committee had agreed in principle to merge our two associations, countless hours have been spent by the ESTA and PLASA teams, your elected representatives and numerous volunteers to provide you with specific information on several topics to prepare you to cast your vote in May, 2010.

The best business plans are straightforward documents that spell out the “who, what, where, why and how much” and that is precisely what we have tried to do for you. This package includes the following:
  • An Executive Summary that clearly identifies the key issues and provides a high level view of the rationale for this merger and how the merged association will operate. Most importantly, it provides you with information about how this merger will impact you as a member of ESTA;
  • Documents have been provided that offer specific details regarding the following:
    – Membership Structure
    – Governance Structure
    – Dues Structure
    – Code of Conduct
    – Technical Standards Program
It is very important to point out the following:
  • The current ESTA staff fully supports this merger and all of them will continue to provide you with member benefits and services;
  • The member benefits and services are in no way reduced by this merger. In point of fact, new benefits and services are planned and others will be enhanced;
  • ETCP will continue as a major program dedicated to fostering safety in the industry and will operate along a separate but parallel path to PLASA’s program to accommodate both legal and regional differences in certification standards;
  • The existing committee structure will continue and will enable PLASA in North America to continue to make good use of the valuable volunteer efforts that have long been the core of our association;
  • Protocol will continue to be offered as a quarterly journal and will become a part of the PLASA Publishing team;
  • The ESTA Foundation will continue to operate as a separate 501(c)3 educational and charitable foundation under its existing name. The merged association will continue to provide support for the Foundation and its programs including Behind the Scenes.
As we said, a tremendous amount of work has been done already (and will continue through the voting process). This merger has our complete support and also enjoys the unconditional support of the ESTA Board of Directors, the Technical Standards Committee, the ETCP Council, the ‘Has Been Society’ (ESTA’s Past Presidents), the ESTA Staff and program participants too numerous to mention.

Even with all of this support, the vote to approve this merger does face the challenge that a majority of all voting classifications (Dealer and Rental Company/Manufacturer and Distributor/PSO) must vote AND a majority of those voting must vote in favor of the plan. Andrew Carnegie once said that “you can’t push anyone up the ladder unless he is ready to climb himself.”

What can you expect in the next several weeks?
  • This package of information is being sent to you both electronically and by snail mail;
  • Your comments and questions are welcome between now and April 6th;
  • For those of you attending USITT there will be a special meeting on Wednesday, March 31st from 9-10:30am at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown in room Moten AB dedicated to a discussion of these materials;
  • In mid-April, you will receive a copy of the revised by-laws that would specifically govern PLASA in North America;
• By May 1st, you will receive your ballot regarding the proposed merger and by-law changes;
• Voting will end May 31st;
• The results of the vote will be announced in early June.

William Shakespeare said that “we know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

We have made substantial efforts to provide you with the information and tools that you need. We urge you to make comments and to ask questions if there is anything that you do not understand. Your active and enthusiastic participation in this process is urgently needed to shape the future of our association.

Sincerely,
Bill Groener
Lori Rubinstein

POLL: Do You Belong to Any Lighting Organizations?

You know, I am sitting here going through my organizational memberships for 2010, and I wondered just now – to what professional lighting organizations do JimOnLight.com readers belong?  Please let me know below – if you’re an RSS feed reader, could you visit the site and contribute in this poll?  It will literally only take you a few seconds!

I have not added all of them to the list in the poll – however, if there is one you belong to that’s not on the list, leave a comment to support your org!

Select as many that apply below:

Do you belong to any professional lighting organizations?

  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) (69%, 9 Votes)
  • United Scenic Artists Local 829 (USA 829) (23%, 3 Votes)
  • Professional Lighting Designers Association (PLDA) (15%, 2 Votes)
  • International Dark Sky Association (IDA) (15%, 2 Votes)
  • International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Illuminating Engineering Society (non-North America) (IES) (8%, 1 Votes)
  • National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP) (8%, 1 Votes)
  • International Commission on Illumination (CIE) (0%, 0 Votes)
  • National Lighting Bureau (NLB) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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