technology logo 2
January 2016
Terry K. McGowan, FIES, LC
ALA Director of 
Engineering  & Technology
Sponsored by:
Upcoming Technical
For those interested in learning more about the proposed new color metrics as described in 
the IES TM-30 report, 
please join me for a free webinar on the subject.

When: Jan. 7, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m., CST

Technical Resources for the
New Year


No doubt about it, 2016 will be another year of rapid technical change in the residential lighting industry as solid-state lighting continues to transform the products, as well as the structure and practices of the industry. A key factor is the way that electronics (and the electronics industry) now influence the design of so many residential lighting products and how both industries blend their ideas and practices into new product offerings. The technical part of that process prompts many of your questions, and so that is where many of our ALA resources are focused and where I, the ALA Engineering Committee, and our other resources, such as the testing labs, standards-writing organizations, researchers, lighting and product designers are focused. 

Our ALA technical efforts, like this newsletter, are intended to report what's going on so you can make better technical decisions involving both lighting products and applications, follow and understand the technical aspect of regulations, and remain aware  of safety and performance testing requirements, which are constantly being written and updated. A big change  is  that industry regulations are now being written, not just by the traditional standards-writing organizations, such as UL or CSA, but also by a growing alphabet soup of organizations and political bodies. That makes harmonization more difficult and increases the chances that a lighting product will  unknowingly  be sold without the proper marking, test report or registration. 

In response to these challenges, technical content is being added to our ALA Annual Conference, and there are more webinars from both the ALA and many of its laboratory and manufacturing members. The association is also setting up new relationships with other organizations involved in the technical and regulatory aspects of lighting, such as the Illuminating Engineering Society and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to keep on top of developments that affect our industry. 

So, to start the year, here are just a few samples from our technical menu that I hope you will find of interest, can be read quickly, and will be useful as you think about your plans for the coming months.

Energy Star Lighting
The new Energy Star Luminaires V2.0 Specification becomes effective on June 1, 2016. The main change is that fixtures with screw-base sockets may be qualified if they include a qualified Energy Star bulb ("bulb-in-the-box"). The number of qualified fixtures has already increased more than 30 percent over the past year thanks to the growing use of LEDs, but since manufacturers can easily qualify many of their existing screw-base products starting in June, the number of Energy Star fixtures is expected to jump.  In addition, work on the Energy Star Lamps V2.0 Specification is also complete, and that standard becomes effective Jan. 2, 2017. Work on both standards has been coordinated so new products, such as warm-dim and color-changing LEDs can be qualified as Energy Star products. If you haven't already done so, give Energy Star a fresh look from both the product and promotional standpoints. ALA recently held a meeting with NRCan in Ottawa and found that Energy Star will be getting a new emphasis in Canada too. Energy Star program representatives will be on hand at the January Market in Dallas to answer questions and meet with manufacturers and retailers. 

Light and Health
Research continues to show that lighting affects human circadian rhythms, which in turn affect both physical and mental health. There can be particular benefits to people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease if their everyday lighting is properly designed as part of their care and, of course, such lighting is typically provided in residential settings. Product and application design for healthy lighting typically involves the color (spectrum) of the light sources, intensity of the light, and timing. A good way to keep up-to-date on this subject is to regularly visit the Lighting Research Center (LRC) website to read the research reports and summaries. Also, there is a good review of lighting's effects on circadian health in a new video posted by the National Lighting Bureau. It can be viewed here

For showrooms interested in this subject, take a look at the AARP Andrus Foundation's lighting guideline booklets. There is a version directed toward home designs, architects and builders, as well as a version for consumers. The lighting recommendations are simple and direct. They illustrate generic fixtures that showroom salespeople can easily relate to their specific products for customers. The booklets can be downloaded, viewed and printed here

Lighting for Tomorrow
The 2016 edition of Lighting for Tomorrow ( LFT) will launch Jan. 11 with a new state-of-the-art website at The website has been designed to show the winning product designs in residential application settings and can be used as a visual catalog and sales tool in showrooms. A new exhibit of winning LFT products will also be featured at the Jan. 20-24 Lightovation market in Dallas. Check the ALA and the LFT booths in Dallas for 2016 LFT competition entry information.

Connected Lighting and Security
This subject of lighting cyber security in homes is being addressed by manufacturers as a critical part of the design of connected lighting products and smart home systems. The ALA is active in this area and participating in the development of industry standards as a member of the ANSI/NEMA C-137 Lighting Systems Committee. To get an idea of how this issue might affect your lighting products or business, check out the article here and the corresponding 22-minute video here. For manufacturers interested in the technical, integration and testing aspects of connected lighting, there's a helpful introductory webinar from TUV Rheinland here

Light and Color
New light and color metrics have been proposed by the IES via their TM-30 report published this past August and I expect 2016 to be full of opportunities to learn and understand more about the subject, especially as it applies to LED light sources. You can get an early start by registering for my ALA webinar Jan. 7 during which I plan to discuss light and color, as well as the TM-30 metrics from the residential lighting standpoint. It is free. Click here to register

For those who want to dig deeply into the subject, there is an unusual opportunity early in 2016 to both hear about recent light and color research, as well as to experience the effects of what has been learned firsthand. The IES is planning a Light+Color Research Symposium where lighting researchers will be paired with lighting designers as they explore lighting spaces where color vision, color perception and color preference can been experienced from an application perspective. The Symposium includes a visit to the nearby National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) facilities in Gaithersburg, Md., to see the LED color demonstration and measurement laboratories. The dates are April 3, 4 and 5. Registration and other information can be found here

A report of the ALA's technical program and the work of the ALA Engineering Committee will be presented to several committees meeting during the January Dallas Market and will be posted after the market on the ALA website for general member use. You are welcome to ask for more information about any of the subjects and to suggest additional subjects or technical areas where you think the ALA should be active or following the developments. I am always pleased to receive your calls, comments and questions. 


Terry McGowan, FIES, LC
Director of Engineering & Technology