Engineering and Technology Report


A summary of the ALA’s current engineering/technology activities.

1. Lighting for Tomorrow Lighting and Homes for Tomorrow
The CEE Board has approved the business plan and budget for the proposed LHFT program which takes the LFT approach and expands it to encompass integrated homes. Next comes sponsor recruitment, funding commitments and program development so the first LHFT competition can be launched late this year and awards can be scheduled as part of ALA programming in 2020.







The LHFT Program:

  • Product and System Competition focused on the Integrated Home.
  • Judging based upon home energy savings potential, but includes other important factors such as appearance, functionality, cybersecurity, ease of installation and service.
  • Lighting and other connected products including voice assistants, thermostats and security systems will be judged.
  • Energy Star criteria used for energy efficiency and savings.
  • Program budget (2019-20) is $140K (minimum) to $190K. Expect to have funding commitments by the end of May, 2019.
  • Sponsors are expected to be utilities, energy organizations and industry associations.
  • Awards will be in categories so that multiple award events can be held which report awards for certain categories of products and systems – such as lighting.
  • Promotion of products at meetings and trade shows will be expanded.

Suggestions have included CES, Energy Star Partners, and shows involving NAHB, CABA and AHAM. New shows are appearing such as the Connected Tech Expo. These will be in addition to lighting shows such as Lightfair. Videos and feature articles in trade publications and other award opportunities will also be scaled up.

LHFTA: A New Opportunity for ALA Manufacturers and Showrooms
As more products for integrated homes become available and smart metering expands, utilities will be looking for new energy-saving program ideas and ways to become more involved with their residential customers. Improved electrical grid reliability, reduced energy use and demand management are the goals, but users will benefit from rate reductions, fewer service interruptions and lower energy costs by signing on for connected home utility programs. Consumers, particularly those building new connected homes that comply with the DOE’s Zero Energy Homes Program, can be integrated into the electrical grid since such homes are both an energy user and an energy supplier with on-site generation. Utilities already recommend connected home devices and systems (See an example at: ). These offer new opportunities for ALA manufacturers and retailers to develop joint programs on a local basis as the market for connected, integrated LED fixtures expands to include all fixture types. A new approach is to have the utility be the educational and support resource for the integrated home. A pilot program is underway and can be accessed at:

Services that a utility might provide include:

  • Home evaluations
  • System recommendations
  • Trouble-shooting support
  • Sales & service referrals

Utilities, of course, are recognized as competent and reliable sources of technical information and support and they have the capability to reach a high percentage of the residential consumers in their service territories.

2. ENERGY STAR – Smart Homes Energy Management Systems: New
Connected Home Product Performance Requirements Are Being Developed Functional Requirements for Fixtures, Bulbs and Ceiling Fans:

  • Energy consumption reporting
  • Standby power limits (0.5 watts/bulb, 1.0 watts/fixture or 1.56 watts/fixture for power supplies serving multiple fixtures)
  • Operational status reporting
  • Wireless remote management (e.x. on/off, dimming)
  • Open access systems

New Requirements Expected for “Plug Load” Devices:

  • Smart Plugs and Power Strips
  • Other?

3. Candelabra LED Lamps – Safety Standards Review
ALA manufacturers and retailers have reported base failures of certain LED screw-in bulbs with candelabra (E12) bases. The problems are related to the longer bulb base lengths required to hold the driver circuitry for the LEDs. There are also concerns about electrical safety from the longer base lengths which may extend the base metal above the insulating material of the socket. However, Mike O’Boyle, cochair of the ALA Engineering Committee, reports that the problems are being addressed by several UL committees including UL-1993 (Self-Ballasted Lamps and Lamp Adapters), UL -1598 (Luminaires) and the joint UL/CSA Committee responsible for UL-1496/CSA C22.2 No. 43 (Lampholders). In the meantime, check luminaires and bulbs which utilize the candelabra base to make sure that the bulb base metal doesn’t extend above the socket where it could come in contact with someone replacing the bulb, install bulbs with care – don’t overtighten - and look for alternative bulbs with newer bulb/base designs if problems are found. Some bulbs have insulated sleeves over the extended base metal; others have moved the LED driver electronics from the base into the bulb enclosure, so the base is shorter. As a general precaution, never touch an exposed metal base of a bulb when replacing it.

4. Light and Human Health – Recommended Practice
Several efforts are underway to move light and human health research findings into the mainstream of lighting design. The LRC is developing a standard practice (with UL); see: Others have incorporated “healthy lighting” into building design requirements (the WELL Building Standard, or developed lighting design software that takes into account a key factor -- light actually reaching the eye (ALPHA Adaptive Lighting for Alertness, An important change is that recommendations involving light and health are moving from negative: “light at night disturbs sleep” to positive: “proper lighting early in the day can improve alertness”. Recommendations, products and design work must take into account all four variables that affect the non-visual human response to light: (1) intensity at the eye, (2) exposure duration, (3) time of day and (4) the spectrum of the light. From a product standpoint, the light distribution of the fixture and lighting design can improve light intensity but controls, smart systems and/or user input must work together to ensure and optimize all four factors.

5. ALA Technology Tracking List
The ALA Engineering Committee tracks and exchanges information about important technical developments to help keep ALA members up-to-date and to help in the development of lighting codes and standards. The current Tracking List includes:

  • Residential Horticultural Lighting
  • LED Light Disinfection
  • Flicker Metrics and Flicker from LED Lighting
  • Lighting System Cybersecurity

Presentations, reports and minutes from the 2018 ALA Engineering Committee Annual Meeting are available for downloading or viewing on the members pages of the ALA web site at: Take advantage of this unique technical resource of up-to-date residential lighting information from the top technical experts in the industry.

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