Insights from NeoCon 2012: Lighting & LEED

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Insights from NeoCon 2012: Lighting & LEED

Insights from NeoCon 2012: Lighting & LEED 800 308 Chute Gerdeman

As mentioned in a previous post, Top 5 Trends From NeoCon 2012, NeoCon serves as a great way to educate and inform attendees of new resources and product innovations. It’s also a highly informative platform to hear industry experts speak on some of the most relevant topics. Below are some highlights from a couple seminars that I attended.

In the session “Do Not Panic! Lighting Design in a Post-2012 Incandescent Phase-Out World,” Lisa Reed, PE, LEED AP BD+C, IES, owner of Envision Lighting Design, LLC, covered some basic lighting definitions, as well as clarified the EISA 2011 legislation going into affect this year. EISA stands for Energy Independence Security Act and its purpose is to phase out some incandescent lamps, or in layman’s terms, the standard light bulb. In 2012 the 100W incandescent light bulb will be phased out, in 2013 the 75W is to be phased out and in 2014 the 60W & 40W are to be phased out. There are many exceptions though; the following are considered specialty lamps and will still be produced: 3-way bulbs, silver bowl, heavy duty, colored bulbs and shatter proof.

Ms. Reed noted what makes this 100+ year old technology desirable is the warmth of the lamp which renders color well (excellent CRI Color Rendering Index). It also dims smoothly and evenly, yellowing to a candle-like glow, which is what people are used to. She also shared three separate options for replacing the phased-out incandescent:

Halogen: Essentially an incandescent with halogen gas. Very similar to incandescent.

  • The good: Same shape, color, dimming and CRI as incandescent for not much more in price but lasts twice as long; will save $7 over its lifetime over incandescent.
  • The not-so-good: Doesn’t save much energy, produces heat and is sensitive to vibration like the incandescent.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL):

  • The good: Various shapes available, can choose color temperature and CRI, not affected by vibration, there are low mercury options, last 10x longer than incandescent and can save $50-$100 over its lifetime.
  • The not-so-good: Doesn’t work well in cold environments, dimming with special lamps or equipment, contains small quantities of mercury, brief warm-up time (about a minute), life shortened when turned on/off frequently and not a directional source (flat, even lighting).

L.E.D (Light Emitting Diode):

  • The good: Can mimic standard incandescent shapes, dimmable to 10%, instant-on, likes cold temperatures, can select CRI, lasts 25 to 50x longer than incandescent saving $240 over its lifetime.
  • The not-so-good: Sensitive to heat so a heat sink required, higher initial cost, may flicker, may not be compatible with existing dimming system and the technology is changing daily.

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Another session I found of particular interest was “LEED Platinum for Restaurants: Reaching the Next Level,” presented by LEED accredited professionals, David Loehr, principal at HGA Architects & Engineers and Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, senior associate at Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle. Restaurants are notoriously difficult to achieve LEED certification due to the extremely heavy energy use per square foot. Out of 12,000 current LEED certified projects only thirty-eight are restaurants. Mr. Loehr and Ms. Lynn went into detail about the design of a few of the LEED certified restaurants they designed in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and how they achieved the certification. They recommend using LEED CI (Commercial Interiors) for Retail, since this version addresses the nuances of a retail space including restaurants. Below is a synopsis of what the two restaurants did to achieve their LEED Platinum certification:


Red Stag Supper Club

  • Achieved 70% reduction in water use
  • 100% furniture reuse
  • All L.E.D. lighting
  • Composts 100% of food waste
  • Nearly 90% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood
  • Specified Energy Star kitchen equipment

Pat’s Tap


  • Achieved 54% water savings due to Energy Star dishwasher, ice maker and spray valves
  • Specified Energy Star kitchen appliances including the fryer which typically uses large amounts of energy
  • Incorporated a waterless urinal (Factoid: One waterless urinal can save 40,000 gallons of water/year)
  • Low VOC paints and finishes
  • Material and furniture re-use


  • Installed a 10KW solar array on the roof which only accounts for 1% of the energy usage
  • Implemented the “Stockholm Method” which entails creating underground water storage trenches accessed by on-site trees and plants
  • 100% on-site stormwater management (no run-off)

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These two sessions are only a small part of the extensive seminar offering that design professionals can experience at NeoCon. There is something for every discipline and specialty, and there were many options that relate to retail design. Plus, attending a seminar can be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of walking the showroom floors.

Featured Image property of Chute Gerdeman

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