Every industry has its own special terminology. In the fast evolving lighting industry, the technical jargon can sometimes be confusing even to industry insiders.
In a never ending battle to promote the advantages and technical superiority of their new LED products, some manufacturers turn their efforts to pouring on the technical jargon in their product specification sheets. The idea is to impress specifiers with advanced technology. Some of this jargon is valid and impressive, and some are just over-hyped synonyms for existing technology. There are also time-honored catch phrases that exist in every lighting catalog but are rarely understood.
Photometric Optimization – When fixture manufacturers engineer lamp positions, reflectors and/or louver profiles ensure that the maximum amount of light leaving the lamp(s) will end up in the task area, as opposed to being trapped inside the fixture or bouncing uselessly around the room.
LPW – refers to the Lumen Per Watt ratio. Just as an automobile’s fuel efficiency is measured in miles per gallon, light bulb efficiency is measured in terms of lumens per watt—the amount of light produced for each watt of electricity consumed. More lumens per watt means more light for less electricity.
Troffer – As the name implies, troffers are trough-shaped recessed ceiling fixtures (the term is derived from the terms “trough” and “coffer.” LED Troffers are fast replacing troffers with fluorescent lamps. A parabolic troffer refers to a recessed fixture that has a louver with a parabolic cross section. The parabolic shape redirects light rays from the light source into parallel rays that shine in a controlled fashion into the room.
VCP – Visual Comfort Probability. This is a obsolete fixture rating system that determines how many people would, when viewing this fixture, find it to have low glare and be comfortable to work near. The higher the number or percentage, the better.
Semi-Specular – This refers to the image one would see in a reflective surface. A true specular reflector would act similar to a mirror where one could clearly see the reflective image. A semi-specular image would produce a more diffuse, less clear and a less glaring image, which is a desirable type of reflector used in a lighting fixture.
Luminaire – A complete lighting fixture.
David Hakimi is a lighting specialist and one of the co-founders of Alcon Lighting. A graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), David works on the front lines of the energy-efficient lighting revolution, enabling architects, designers, and lighting engineers to transition from outmoded halogen and fluorescent lighting. David takes particular pride in Alcon’s design, energy, and green building knowledge, tracing his and Alcon’s commitment to quality, innovation, accountability and value back to the lessons learned from his father, a Southern California lighting salesman and consultant for more than two decades. Passionate about climate change and protecting the environment, David has been particularly valuable in ensuring that his clients and customers comply with rapidly-evolving green building codes.
Products can demand attention with the help of proper lighting. This means an open floor plan with tactical attention to lighting fixture placement, brightness, color temperature, and CRI. The ability of LED Lighting to meet these technical requirements is what makes it the #1 choice of lighting designers and architects.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
At Alcon Lighting’s LA headquarters, co-founder David Hakimi adopted a 12 year-old dog named Nano and decided to bring him into the office every day. Let’s just say it garnered some attention. It quickly became clear that Nano, who’s now 14 years old, relishes a long nap. Nano likes to hop and curl up in an easy chair, resting his head on the arm, drifting into slumber. In fact, David says this is Nano’s favorite activity.
“98% of what gets built today is sh**. There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.” – Frank Gehry. Fun fact: One of Frank Gehry’s most famous works as an architect is his own private Santa Monica residence.
The term Architectural Lighting encompasses three main factors. The first is the building’s aesthetic, which is crucial for any commercial, especially retail, environment. The second consideration is ergonomic or functional — any aspect which improves one’s ability to live, work, function, relax or play — to make the space easier to use. The third aspect involves the efficiency of energy, ensuring that light is properly, which is to say economically or optimally, used and distributed.