NY Lighting Study Shining Bright on LEDs

Newport Ventures is well into the data collection phase in our LED Lighting Demonstration project being conducted on behalf of NYSERDA.  The project, which includes 100% LED lighting in 5 homes throughout the state, has now completed installation on 4 out of 5 of the homes, with the last one to be completed this fall.  Each of the homes will be monitored over the course of three seasons.

The table below highlights the results of the data collection to date.  The top portion shows average monthly kWh and costs, as well as the total consumption and cost of the LED lighting to date for each home.  The bottom portion provides estimated savings if the same home were to have alternate lighting packages.  The first is a typical code built home, using 50% incandescent bulbs and 50% high efficacy bulbs.*  The second shows the savings if the same home were to have 100% incandescent bulbs.

*assumes 60W Incandescent and 13W High Efficacy bulbs

LED table 1

Certainly the LEDs are saving these homeowners money today and helping to lower their utility bills each month, as seen in the charts below.  However, the real results will be seen over the lifetime of these bulbs.  A typical incandescent bulb lasts maybe 2 years, while a CFL is expected to last maybe 5.  LEDs however have a rated lifetime of 22 years!  Multiply the cost savings of each of these homes over that time period, and the savings are now in the thousands and you never had to replace a light bulb!

LED chart 1

A Bulb Comparison

Our most recent home to have completed the installation of the LED lighting system is located in Canandaigua, NY.  Data collection is set to begin this month.  To finish off the 100% LED system, we recently replaced 3 of their plug in lamp bulbs, using 3-way incandescent bulb, with a single wattage LED bulb.  Over the course of the project these bulbs will be monitored with Kill-A-Watt meters to determine electrical consumption. This “real use” data collection will be useful in determining actual savings and not just assumed savings.

We considered installing 3-way LED bulbs, however the homeowners were satisfied with the light output of the single wattage bulb.  The table below highlights the expected operational costs of their old 3-way incandescent, the replacement single wattage LED, as well as a standard 3-way LED bulb.

LED table 2

As you can see, buying longer-lasting, more efficient light bulbs can really pay off over time. Over a 22+ year period, it will cost you over $270 to keep one lamp lit with a 3-way incandescent bulb. By comparison, it would cost $30 using a single LED light bulb, a savings of more than $240.  And that’s just 1 bulb!  Now think about how many bulbs you have in your home.  The average home in New York has somewhere around 50-55 bulbs.  Do the math and that’s some serious cash kept in your pocket!

Learn more about our LED lighting project by visiting our project page.

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New York’s First Net Zero Apartment Complex

net zero apartment complexOn May 15th Newport Ventures staff visited New York States first Net Zero apartment development. Known as NetZero Village, the units located in Rotterdam, NY are expected to produce more energy than they consume on a yearly basis. These units are ENERGY STAR and EPA Indoor AirPLUS certified.

The 3-story buildings are enclosed with R-45 on the flat roof using a combination of rigid foam panels and closed cell spray foam, R-30 in the walls consisting of zip panels, 1/2” continuous rigid foam and 3.5” of closed cell foam and 2” of rigid foam under the slab with 3” of rigid foam on the edge. This high level commitment to the building shell has achieved early blower door results in the ≤ 1.0 ACH, which is very impressive for a building with net zero apartment complex 1common walls.

The HVAC system for each apartment consists of one mini-split head installed over the entrance door to each unit with the heat pump wall mounted on the backside of the building. The HRV supply side opening is located in front of the mini-split to promote air mixture while the mini split is operational. Small back up electric strip heaters are located in each bedroom if needed.

The hot water for each 6 unit building is generated from 7 solar collectors that transfer heat to one -700 gallon site built storage tank located in the first floor mechanical room. This pre-heated water passes through one of 2 electric water heaters when there is a demand.

Some of the key components to achieving Net Zero:

  • Solar Panels mounted on top of all the Carports
  • Solar thermal mounted on top of the buildings
  • 100% LED installed lighting
  • Energy Star Appliances
  • All of the buildings face South

Other technologies that Net Zero Village is incorporating include:

HRV supply side vent located in front of the mini-split to prohrvmote the mixture of conditioned air.

HRV supply side vent located in front of the mini-split to promote the mixture of conditioned air.

One mini-split installed for each apartment above the entry door in line with the hallway to the 1 and 2 bedroom units.

One mini-split installed for each apartment above the entry door in line with the hallway to the 1 and 2 bedroom units.






These heat pump units are designed to pull heat out of the air down to -15°F.

These heat pump units are designed to pull heat out of the air down to -15°F.

Coils delivered on site ready for hook up and immersion into the 700 gallon water storage container. Fluids in these coils will circulate back up to the roof to capture heat form the sun 365 days a year.

Coils delivered on site ready for hook up and immersion into the 700 gallon water storage container. Fluids in these coils will circulate back up to the roof to capture heat form the sun 365 days a year.

Carports throughout the development are covered in solar electric panels estimated to produce more energy than the entire complex will actually need on a year to year basis.

Carports throughout the development are covered in solar electric panels estimated to produce more energy than the entire complex will actually need on a year to year basis.

Seven solar thermal panels installed on the roof of each 6-unit apartment building.

Seven solar thermal panels installed on the roof of each 6-unit apartment building.

100% LED lighting throughout the inside and outside of the buildings.

100% LED lighting throughout the inside and outside of the buildings.

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Bright Lights in the Big Apple

Lighting is evolving at a rapid pace.  From an industry that was virtually stagnant for a very long time, it is now almost impossible to keep up with the latest and greatest.  When Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in the late 1800s it was certainly ground breaking, but even he probably didn’t think that same bulb would be used for the next 100 years.  Today we advance our technologies so often that it seems by the time you get to the store to purchase something, it is yesterday’s news.

The modern era, with rapid advancements in technology and a heavier emphasis on energy efficiency began to pave the way for newer light sources.  The 1990s produced the CFL bulb, you know that spiral looking thing that you probably have somewhere in your house?  More recently, LEDs have emerged, offering improved efficiency and other lightfairnon-energy benefits that had previously not been available.

Even with the high efficiency lighting available today, the industry shows no signs of slowing down.  To keep up with all the latest and greatest, Newport recently visited the bright lights, big city of NYC to attend the 2015 LIGHTFAIR International.  For over 25 years, LIGHTFAIR has been the world’s premier lighting trade show, revealing new technologies, solutions, and knowledge.

As I walked around the show, it seemed like we were seeing more of the same.   Many of the exhibitors featured very similar products.  Lots and lots of LED bulbs, a heavy focus on smart controls, and a lot of fancy commercial and hospitality applications.  It became clear that LEDs for the residential market were lagging way behind.  I asked a couple of exhibitors about that specifically and most of them, depending on the nature of their business, agreed.  They mentioned that LED bulbs were certainly becoming more popular in homes, but the more innovative stuff, such as integrated LEDs are just not in high demand.  Many indicated that their high price points combined with a lack of consumer knowledge and awareness on all the features and benefits that the new LED technology provides was the crux of the issue.

As I walked around, there were a few products that stood out to me.  One of these was a company called Light Tape.  The product (shown right) uses a form of electroluminescent technology in the form of low-profile strips or panels that “seamlessly and evenly light tapeilluminate edge to edge.”  A single connection can light up 150 feet of the product and can be connected to other strips to give you the exact length and size you need.  It can twist and turn, providing unlimited artistic design options for both interior and exterior applications.  The product also comes in larger panels that can be used under countertops, shelves, and practically anything else you can imagine.  Light Tape essentially allows you to turn anything and everything into a light source of any color.  I’m not doing this product justice so just go here and check it out for yourself.

The other thing that really caught my eye was the number of vintage filament style light bulbs that were actually LEDs.  What struck me about these is that not only did they look almost exactly like the old Edison style bulbs, but that 1 year ago these did not exist at all.  You couldn’t even find something like this in a google search, and trust me I tried.  About a year ago we were finalizing fixtures for a 100% LED house that was part of our LED Lighting Demonstration project in New York.  The homeowners had purchased an antiled filamentque fixture that came with the Edison bulbs.  Because the project required that all the lighting in the home be LED, we were forced to replace these bulbs with a more traditional looking LED that really took away from the look and feel of the fixture as a whole.  One year later and we would have had the perfect solution.  And there wasn’t just one of these….at least 4 or 5 different companies were showcasing these in a number of different styles and shapes.  Going back to my first sentence, lighting is evolving at a rapid pace.  Check out one of the manufacturers, Archipelago Lighting.

It will be interesting to see what the 2016 LIGHTFAIR International brings to the table.  Will there be more residential elements?  What is going to be the next new craze in the lighting world?  Guess we will have to make the trek out to San Diego to find out!

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Newport Completes Testing on DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Recently, Newport’s Matt Evans completed the first couple of steps in verifying the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home constructed by Under the Sun Building and Remodeling, LLC.  The home, located in Battenville, NY, is still in the construction phase bumatt blower doort Matt was able to complete the Energy Star thermal enclosure checklist as well as an initial blower doortest.  The home scored 1.16 ACH50, well below the Energy Star standard of 4 ACH50 in version 3.

To learn more about Under the Sun’s project click here to view their blog.

To learn more about the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program click here.

Newport provides administrative and outreach support for the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program. ZERH represents a whole new level of home performance, providing energy savings, comfort, health,and durability unparalleled in today’s marketplace. To learn more about our role in this program, click here.


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We Don’t Need No Ban…Consumers Driving the Efficient Lighting Market

You have probably heard about the controversial “incandescent bulb ban”.  The ban, a result of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, basically outlawed the importation and domestic manufacturing of the most popular light bulb in the world.  alternatives, mainly CFLs and LEDs, that were much more efficient than the old Edison bulb.  Slowly phasing these inefficient bulbs was going to help spur the high-irelandbanslightbulbefficacy lighting market and drive a shift in the entire lighting industry.

Well as hard as it is to believe, government has changed its stance and recently the ban was defunded.  One might think this would spell good news for the incandescent, that it Advancements in lighting created might get to live a little bit longer on shelves and in our homes.  However, that may not be the case.  According to many in the industry, we have already moved on and that WE, the average consumer, are driving the bus for the efficient lighting industry.

Mike Watson, Vice President of Product Strategy at Cree, is one of those believers. “What our industry must learn is that legislative priorities and advocacy, as seen this past December, continue to change. What doesn’t change, however, is consumer demand for better lighting alternatives that happen to be sustainable.”  Even with the defunding of the phase-out, the efficient lighting market continues to experience significant growth.  Manufacturers are producing more, retailers are pushing more, and consumers are buying more.

A lot of this growth can be attributed to a lower prices for high-efficacy bulbs and substantial advancements in the technology.  There are now a number of LED options available at your local hardware store for under $10.  LED bulbs are now come in a wide variety of brightness levels (lumens) and color temperatures (kelvin) are highly compatible with dimmers and smart controls.  They are estimated to last up to 22 years and reduce energy consumption up to 85%.  In short, they are better and cheaper than ever before.

It All Comes Down To The Light

Let’s face it, regardleNV Display Box 2ss of what is advertised, we probably won’t buy something if we don’t like it.  So let’s remove all the other factors from the equation and just look at light vs light.

As a part of a residential lighting project for the state of New York, we have asked over 1,000 consumers which light source they prefer over another.  (See our demonstration setup left) Three bulb types (CFL, LED, and Incandescent), all with similar specs (color temperatures, brightness, and wattage), illuminate the three boxes.  The bulbs are hidden from plain sight so that participants were not able to determine bulb type based on shape. No smoke and mirrors here, no fine print, just a good old-fashioned side-by-side comparison.preferred light

59% of all participants chosethe LED bulb, compared to 25% preferring the trusty old incandescent and only 16% choosing the CFL.  Outside of the energy and cost savings, compatibility, design features, etc. it is clearthat people just flat out like LED lights.  True, it is a small sampling, but this trend has been consistent across several events with a variety of audiences indicating that the buzz around LEDs is very real.

Learn more about our residential LED project here.  You can also read a full version of our Consumer Perception report here.

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LEDs Lighting The Way!

Solid state lighting – commonly known as “LED Lighting” in the building industry – is changing the way we think about light and what it can do in homes and buildings.  To stay abreast of the most recent innovations, implementation barriers, and key trends – Newport staff took part this week in the US Department of Energy’s Solid-State Market Development Workshop in Detroit.  Some of the highlights we take away from this conference are:

  • The pace of change for LED technology is unprecedented. This creates challenges…and opportunities for groups who can see the industry’s direction.

    The Evolution of the Light Bulb

    The Evolution of the Light Bulb

  • LEDs aren’t just for big commercial buildings. Key areas where LEDs are expected to play heavily in homes are wireless lighting control systems and using solid-state lighting to affect moods, ambience, and circadian cycles.  And that’s just the beginning….
  • LEDs fit great into the progression towards Zero Energy Homes. The picture below is the “Next Home” by Next Energy, which features a DC internal electrical grid to power LEDs and numerous appliances. The grid is directly fed by the home’s PV system and is also interconnected with the EV parked in front.


    Next Energy’s “Next House”

Newport is already engaged in related RD&D work on LED lighting and well positioned for additional market analysis and technology integration with our partners.  We are currently working with NYSERDA on an LED demonstration project in the state of New York.  To learn more about this project, click here.

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