Category: Blog

Commercial Lighting Reference

Commercial Lighting projects can be chaotic at times. When you partner with ATG LED Lighting we make this process easy for you.

ATG LED Lighting provides top of the line LED lighting for lighting specifiers across the globe. ATG lighting fixtures cover all commercial and industrial applications -including but not limited to warehouses, schools, parks, urban areas, parking garages, workshops, and offices. Our LED luminaires are assembled, warehoused and sold out of our US headquarters in Montclair, CA with
additional distribution facilities in North Carolina and Kansas.

ATG has put together a “Time-saving Reference Guide” to help you. This guide includes helpful information such as:

  • HID to LED Conversion Table
  • IP Ratings List
  • IK Ratings List
  • IES Footcandle Recommendations
  • Wind Speed Map

So, if you’re looking to upgrade your out-of-date fixtures to LED Fixtures, but not sure what wattage you’ll require or are wondering what the current illuminance recommendations are according to the Illuminating Engineer Society (IES) this guide is for you. The guide also includes a helpful Wind Speed Map and all ATG poles are guaranteed to meet the EPA requirements listed in it.

Commercial Lighting Reference Guides

    What is Commercial LED Lighting?

    Commercial LED lighting, defined as lighting used for commercial spaces such as offices, stores, schools And universities, government buildings and manufacturing facilities, has made a huge transition in the last 10 years. Formally, these facilities used high-wattage traditional lighting technology like HID lamps (primarily metal halide and high pressure sodium) land fluorescent lighting in particular. But in today’s marketplace it’s all about LEDs (light emitting diodes). This goes for both new construction and renovation and retrofit.

    Renovation and Retrofit

    In the renovation market there is a tremendous interest in saving energy and reducing maintenance costs in existing buildings. Many building owners may not be savvy on LEDs but they understand their electricity bill and the fact that they may have outdated and high-wattage lamps in their facilities basically because they have to keep buying them and replacing them. For example, in an industrial facility or warehouse environment, an end-user may have 100 metal halide high-bays in service. These energy sucking fixtures can lose 40% of their initial light output after only 20% of their service life. In addition they require a ballast that consumes additional energy so that a 400 watt fixture can actually be consuming significantly more than 400 watts.

    ATG products for your Renovation and Retrofit projects:

    Similarly, other lighting categories can be addressed like stairwell lighting. Stairwell lighting is a major lighting category worth targeting because stairwell lights have to be on 24/7 for safety concerns. Therefore it’s important to use fixtures that are not only energy-efficient but also have motion sensors, or ultrasonic sensors, that pick up sound or motion when people enter the stairwell but then dim down to much lower levels when no one is present. It’s no wonder people are looking for solutions for metal halide retrofit to LED.

    ATG products for metal halide retrofit to LED:

    Fortunately, there are many ways that people can find help in their search to lower energy costs. For example, a Google search could easily point in the direction of lighting companies offering free value added services like site surveys, application engineering, rebate assistance, ROI analysis and no-cost mock ups. Renovation and retrofit of commercial LED lighting in 2021 is a huge business because of many combined factors including up to 2/3 energy saving, better lighting control and dramatically reduced maintenance costs.

    New Construction

    In new construction, LEDs are the standard go-to for architects, specifying engineers and lighting designers. End-users need to be energy conscious from the get-go and in many cases local code compliance mandates energy efficiency. This is where lighting controls come in. Generally, there is a number of ways to comply with local codes like California’s Title 24. When it comes to Title 24, if you don’t pass the plan check, you don’t get a building permit. Game over. Whatever method is used, you’ll find lighting controls of some type in the bill of materials.

    There are a number of different ways for the LED fixtures to be controlled either by way of a standalone control systems, where fixtures are operating independently, or by sophisticated systems like Bluetooth Mesh networks that have all fixtures communicating in an ecosystem. With systems like Bluetooth mesh, you can create areas and zones. Each zone can be programmed separately from another one allowing total flexibility in a given area – for both indoor and outdoor applications. Additionally because each fixture in the system is communicating with each other, the system continues working even if one fixture goes down.

    ATG products for your New Construction projects:

    Parking Lot Lighting

    Commercial LED lighting retrofits for parking lots is an excellent idea! Primarily because parking lot lighting utilizes pole-mounted fixtures at high mounting heights. Those high mounting heights require high wattage fixtures. In the recent past, 400W metal halide was the most popular wattage for fixtures of this type of application. Now you can save 2/3 the energy by sleek architectural LED fixtures. The new generation of LED area lights generate similar light output for 150 watts and require much less maintenance. So when considering energy saving LED lighting, end-users and building owners should take advantage of all the available tools and remember they can save energy not only on indoor but also on outdoor lighting applications. Never forget integrated lighting controls to achieve maximum energy savings with available rebates.

    ATG products for Parking Lot Lighting:

    Smart Lighting through Bluetooth Mesh Network

    Smart lighting continues to grow as a lighting technology focused on convenience, energy efficiency and security through high efficiency fixtures, automated controls and cost effective lighting systems. The case for wireless commercial lighting systems is well understood given that wired systems are costly, “not very flexible” and have very little extensibility. Bluetooth and specifically Bluetooth Mesh Network is a key player in taking this to the next level.

    Bluetooth & the Bluetooth Mesh Network

    Bluetooth has been in existence since 2000 and based on a “Bluetooth Brand Equity Study” done by Lux Insights in 2016 “92% of global consumers recognize the powerful Bluetooth brand.” Fast-forward to 2021 and with the previous in mind, the question is, “What can Bluetooth offer the world of Commercial LED Lighting?”

    The case for wireless commercial lighting systems is well understood given that wired systems are costly, “not very flexible” and have very little extensibility. Bluetooth Mesh Networking was introduced back in July of 2017 as “…the most robust and powerful low-power radio technology for connected lighting in commercial spaces, and it is the change the lighting industry has been waiting for,” – said Rafal Han, CEO, Silvair. (Source: Introducing Bluetooth Mesh Networking)

    Current solutions such as sensors and controls can extend Bluetooth range but mesh networking brings the ultimate solution to complex range and limit problems. We also know that many commercial buildings today have light levels that are set higher than appropriate for their space or spaces and remain lit even when unoccupied; this causes them to be over-lit. Thus, energy is wasted and a sort of “discomfort” is felt. This can be fixed by adding smart lighting and energy-efficient light control solutions and doing so through the Bluetooth Mesh Network.

    The support for common lighting requirements and interoperability across a variety of products from different vendors make Bluetooth mesh more than just another “wireless data communication system”. For example, commercial lighting products can include “non-lighting” features such as sensor support and this can work seamlessly and directly with the light’s primary features in a manner that is fully integrated; all this without the need for external controllers.

    Beyond that, according to “Motivation for Mesh Networking” as written on www.bluetooth.com, Bluetooth mesh networking offers:

    • It is scalable from small to very large areas
    • “Just works interoperability”
    • The ability to monitor and control large numbers of devices
    • Optimized, low energy consumption
    • Efficient use of radio resources, leading to scalability
    • Compatibility with currently available smartphone, tablet and personal computer products
    • Industry-standard, government-grade security

    We invite you to browse through our Bluetooth Mesh ready devices.

    ATG & Smart Lighting

    As a leader in the industry, ATG is not only aware of this great news but has joined together with McWong International to introduce Bluetooth Mesh Solutions. We are introducing a new wireless control platform based on McWong’s TruBlu™ DLC-certified, SIG-qualified Bluetooth mesh. TruBlu™ system components include a Bluetooth mesh enabled, bi-level dimming, indoor/outdoor PIR/microwave/ultrasonic sensor w/ load switch, a Bluetooth mesh enabled, bi-level dimming, single or dual channel fixture controller, a Bluetooth mesh enabled, wireless wall switch, a low voltage power supply, and a low voltage power pack w/ relay. TruBlu commissioning tools, utilizing McWong’s technology partner Silvair’s software interface provides for a PC & iOS phone app for setup & commissioning, drag & drop from site plans or floorplans, grouping/dimming/white tuning/daylighting/remote accessing/energy monitoring, three levels of security access, and automatic fixture location.

    Wireless Lighting Controls

    Continued Expansion of our Rep Network

    Montclair, CA, December 16, 2020 -Today, ATG LED Lighting announced a further expansion of their professional sales representative network. As ATG LED Lighting evolves, there is a continued requirement to add new representation to support their rapid growth plans. Today’s announcement included the addition of seven (7) new agencies with three in the Western Region and four in the Eastern Region:

    • Colorado – Integrity Sales Group
    • Southern Nevada (Las Vegas) – Deco Lights
    • Arizona – Absolute Sales Group
    • South Florida – Focus Point Lighting
    • Southern NY/ Northern NJ – New Gen Lighting
    • Central & N. Virginia – Old Dominion Lighting
    • Eastern Virginia – Old Dominion Lighting

    Specific details regarding each agency can be found with a click on the Company’s rep locator. ATG is continuing to consider new agencies as there are still some open territories – particularly in the Eastern Region. Interested parties can visit the Company’s website or send an email to [email protected]

    About ATG LED Lighting (www.atgledlighting.com) – Always Think Green

    Founded in 2001, a group of visionary engineers started ATG Electronics in California. Today we are one of the most recognizable brands in the world for retrofitting conventional lights with LEDs, delivering great value to our customers, helping save energy and protecting the environment. ATG is a holder of multiple patents in the United States and China. Our products are certified appropriately Energy Star, UL, cUL, ETL, KEMA, CE, RoHS, GS and PSE. The Company also operates two ISO9001 certified factories and has extensive expertise in international logistics.

    Indoor and Outdoor Product Portfolio

    Montclair, CA, December 16,2020 – ATG LED Lighting, A division of ATG Electronics, has announced they are finishing the year strong with significant extensions to their product line in both the Indoor and Outdoor product categories. With respect to the Indoor product category, the company introduced a full line of Exit an Emergency fixtures along with two state-of- the-art stairwell fixtures. These product introductions allow ATG to now compete across-the-board on most indoor projects. Introduced as part of the “DUO” product family, The stairwell fixtures are completely color and wattage selectable allowing clients and specifiers to choose the color temperature and power consumption they desire. The stairwell fixture adds to the DUO lineup that already consists of LED panels, Architectural Troffers and Downlights. All sensors and battery packs are internally mounted for a clean look. The stairwell fixtures come in both surface and corner mount configurations.

    The exit in emergency product introduction included a total of five (5) new products including Exit, combination units that includes both Exit and Emergency lights, and dedicated emergency lights for both indoor and wet locations.

    In the Outdoor category, the company introduced two very important product extensions. The first was the next generation sports lighting fixture, the “Ultra”. The Ultra is a professional grade sports lighting fixture for use in applications that range from park and rec all the way to semi-professional. The product is available from 300W to 1200W with many beam spreads to choose from. The Ultra is also available in 4000K and 5000K color temperatures.

    The other outdoor announcement included a new line of floodlights branded of the “ECO” series. The ECO series has a very sleek design and is available from 30W all the way up to 300W for a wide range of applications. The products can be mounted in a variety of different ways including a trunnion mount, wall mount, knuckle mount and slip-fitter. The ECO series comes ready to except controls such as button and pin photocells.

    Learn more about these exciting new products, and the entire ATG product line, by visiting the company website: https://atgledlighting.com/

    About ATG LED Lighting (www.atgledlighting.com) – Always Think Green

    Founded in 2001, a group of visionary engineers started ATG Electronics in California. Today we are one of the most recognizable brands in the world for retrofitting conventional lights with LEDs, delivering great value to our customers, helping save energy and protecting the environment. ATG is a holder of multiple patents in the United States and China. Our products are certified appropriately Energy Star, UL, cUL, ETL, KEMA, CE, RoHS, GS and PSE. The Company also operates two ISO9001 certified factories and has extensive expertise in international logistics.

    Stairwell Lighting Fixtures

    In every industrial or commercial building over one story the stairwells will need lighting.  LED stairwell lighting fixtures are underappreciated, but they are one of the most important lighting fixtures in the building.

    Underappreciated But Well Featured

    Let’s face it, these fixtures are primarily used in empty stairwells, they are rarely on at full power, they typically are just a simple linear strip, and they are most often utilitarian in design.  Not too sexy, but they do the job.  Like ATG’s fixtures, contemporary LED stairwell lighting fixtures have the following features:

    • 2’, 4’ & 8’ lengths
    • Selectable wattage & CCT settings
    • Behind the lens motion sensors
    • Emergency battery backup packs
    • 0 – 10V dimming
    • 100,000+ hours L70
    • 10-year warranty
    • DLC Premium

    Important For Life/Safety Concerns

    Stairwell Lighting FixturesStairwell lighting fixtures are one of the most important fixtures in a building because they address life/safety concerns.  Under normal, everyday use these fixtures simply light a stairwell, but there is more to it than just “on” during the day and “off” at night.  Integrated motion sensors allow the facility manager to program various lighting levels based on need and use.  For example, the sensor can be programmed to turn off the fixture when there is no motion detected and turn the fixture on at 100% when motion is detected (people in the stairwell).  After say 30 minutes, the fixture can be turned back off. 

    Another example addresses the use of cameras installed in the stairwells.  In this case, the fixture can always be set to say a 30% light level to ensure the camera has enough ambient light to function properly.  Note:  the added benefit of using motion sensors as addressed above is that they save on energy costs.  We already know in a retrofit application LED fixtures can typically save up to 66% in energy costs.  With the use of motion sensors, the savings can be much more.

    These fixtures really shine (pun intended) in an emergency.  In the event of a fire as an example, people using the stairwells to exit the building will activate the fixture’s motion sensors and be able to see where they are going.  Furthermore, if the electrical power is interrupted to the building the integrated emergency battery backup will engage keeping the fixture on typically for 90 minutes.  With all of this said, please review your local building codes because they may require specific settings and uses.  Also, the National Fire Protection Association addresses the use of these fixtures in sections 7.8.1.2.2 & 7.8.1.3.

    A Final Note:

    The topic of LED stairwell fixtures would be incomplete if we did not discuss Utility Rebates.  Most utility companies in North America offer substantial rebates for LED fixtures.  In some cases, the rebate dollars can pay for greater than half of the installed cost of the entire project.  Please educate yourself on the utility rebates in your area and take advantage of them.  If you do not, you are literally leaving money on the table!


    LED Light Fixtures Replacement made easy!

    LED light fixtures replacement made easy

    Have you ever been faced with a LED light fixtures retrofit or renovation project? Do you have rusty old strips, industrial light fixtures or linear light fixtures with 8ft, energy-sucking T12 or T8 tube lights still burning?

    The production of T12 tube lights has been illegal since 2012. Yet, there are still many old T12 and T8 tube lights in service consuming enormous amounts of energy. Owners, facilities managers and utilities all want them gone. Until recently, the $64 Million dollar question what was the best solution for the given application?

    Today, there are many more solutions than just 8’ replacement lamps. These can be hard to come by, and are subject to breakage due to shipment. Companies like ATG LED Lighting make LED light fixtures renovation easy! Those wishing to make an environmental impact in these types of projects have to commit to stocking 8’ fixtures. Most companies are unwilling to face the hurdles of investment in inventory, freight expense and scope of line.

    Determining proper LED light fixtures replacement

    When determining the right renovation solution, first concentrate on the application and the budget.

    • Are rebates available? (Sources like ATG make that easy too with rebate finder software).
    • If the budget will allow, new fixtures are a great way to go for aesthetics – particularly in office or classroom spaces.
    • In the event that new fixtures are possible, there a range of next generation 8-foot linear fixtures on the market and, in some cases, actually IN STOCK! (This addresses the lead-time issues faced on built-to-order fixtures that come from off- shore factories).

    For offices, schools and institutional applications, ATG’s readily available 8-foot fixtures include the Toros and Huron luminaires. These high-quality, rectilinear luminaires offer sleek looks and great lumen packages. The Toros is also an “up/down” fixture that provides 90% down-light and 10% up-light. It is also join-able for continuous row mounting.

    In more industrial or commercial applications, the LNS linear strip could be the solution. In tough applications, like retrofitting dairy farms, the Vapor Proof fixture is the right call.

    ATG offers more solutions

    There are many factories and production facilities that long ago selected a T12 strips or “industrial (Basically a strip with a reflector attached to focus the light down)” fixtures. For renovation purposes, ATG introduced the EZ Liner Kit: the perfect solution for both types of fixtures. The EZ Linear Kit quickly attaches directly to the fixture channel of either a strip or industrial providing a 2-for-1 solution. Best of all it is comprised of two 4-foot sections that easily snap together so it ships in a single 4-foot box overcoming freight expense!

    So, moving forward, don’t be put off when your site inspection reveals old 8-foot T12 or T8 lamps and fixtures. Companies like ATG LED Lighting have you covered with smart, freight- friendly solutions that are in stock!

    Value-added Services (VAS)

    Value added services is a popular term used in many different industries. The term generally refers to certain services, available at little or no cost, in order to promote the primary or core business. In the LED lighting industry, companies like ATG LED Lighting offer value-added services to support their core business of selling or marketing their LED lighting fixtures to target customer groups including electrical distribution (electrical distributors) and lighting specifiers including electrical engineers, architects, and lighting designers. These value-added services are very important because not only do they offer real value at no cost but they also significantly reduce the workload of their target clients allowing people to utilize their time in other ways.

    Examples of value-added services in the LED lighting industry include:

    • Site Surveys
    • Application Engineering
    • Rebate Assistance
    • Return On Investment Analysis (or payback analysis)
    • No-cost Beta Tests or Product Mock-ups.

    How do value added services work?

    Value-added services work together as an overall mechanism to generate a sale. For example, let’s say that a large school district is considering upgrading their outdated fluorescent and HID luminaires to LED. There could be a number of reasons for this including somebody simply introducing the idea of available rebates, bond measures that make available public money for energy-efficient upgrades, knowledge that LED lighting systems save a lot of energy and money, or maybe they’re just tired of paying that skyrocketing energy bill.

    Many times, an energy service contractor/installer (known in the industry as an ESCO) will make an introduction and offer some or all these value-added services. ESCO’s offer a turnkey service and in many cases and can even arrange for low cost financing. In other cases, it can be a financial services company that offers to oversee projects and finance the entire project, so the owner doesn’t have to come out of pocket at all. this particular form of financing is generally known as “lighting as a service” (LAS) whereby by the school district won’t even own the new lighting system and they pay the financing company through a percentage reduction in their CapEx energy budget. In this LAS scenario the financing company is also responsible for maintaining the lighting systems. But in all these examples, the value-added services that lighting companies provide are key to the underlying success.

    Once the end-user client, in this case the school district, has agreed to formally consider the project, the first step is a no-charge site survey. This is where the LED lighting company, the ESCO or the financial company’s representative actually goes to each and every school in the district and performs a painstaking survey that includes photographing, identifying and cataloging every single light fixture that is suitable for retrofit or replacement. This is an arduous process and time consuming, but it is very critical in the process so that there’s a basis to start with. When the site survey is finalized the data collected is temporary held until it can be used after vetting and verification of the anticipated new LED lighting system. LED lighting fixtures can often save as much as 2/3 in energy when compared to the outdated lighting system so as part of the process, the new LED lighting system must be evaluated and new fixtures selected on a fixture-by-fixture basis based on all the on-campus applications.

    Value added services through Application Engineering

    Value Added Servcies by ATG LEDElements of the new LED lighting system must be vetted and validated to make sure that they provide adequate light for safety, security and visual comfort. This is where application engineering comes in. Let’s take the parking lot for example, a specialist known as an application engineer, users a computer program that will simulate the actual lighting system once it’s installed. The software involved is very sophisticated and end result is virtually guaranteed of being accurate based on the output of the software. If it can be verified that new 150W parking lot fixtures will replace outdated 400W HID fixtures, and still produce adequate lighting for safety and security, that fixture may be chosen. This process is normally completed for each and every application on the campus. Now that there’s a comfort level that the new lighting system will in fact replace the old one in a much more efficient level, available rebates are considered.

    Add value with Utility Rebates

    Most utilities offer rebates as an incentive for owners to upgrade to energy-efficient fixtures. However, in complex projects like a school system they will need the help of people who have expertise in this area. Utilities make the available known through publication on their website or other advertising methods. At this point the LED lighting company can provide specific information on the available rebates for their own products as part of the sales process. There are numerous third-party companies, that study the rebates landscape nationwide to help the LED company understand available rebates for their own products. Now that the new LED lighting system has been verified, the site survey can be married with available rebates to determine the actual savings based on a reduction of kilowatt hours (kWh) and a return on investment (ROI) analysis is performed.

    ROI Analysis as a value added service

    The ROI analysis is the final part of the process and is often offered by the LED lighting company as well as one of their value-added services. This return on investment analysis is generally very straightforward and allows financial decision makers to decide whether or not to move forward with the LED lighting upgrade. If the return on investment, or simple payback, meets with the school district’s requirements the decision to proceed can be made, contract can be entered in to and financial transactions can we established. So it’s easy to see why LED lighting companies offer value added services in order to make the sale a reality. Without offering these services, the hypothetical school district is left like a babe in the woods to evaluate their own system, conduct their own  ROI to verify that the new lights will actually replace the old ones.

    The bundling of these various value added services makes the whole thing proceed and everybody wins because the school reduces their carbon footprint thereby helping the environment, they also lower their electrical bill dramatically, the lighting company generates revenue allowing for the enterprise to employ more people and the utility doesn’t have to build any more power plants. In the end, value added service are the key to the entire process.

    LED lighting control systems

    Led lighting controls for your fixturesATG is often asked: Do you have LED lighting controls for your fixtures? The answer, of course, is yes, however, there is a lot more to understand with such a simple reply. I will start with the easiest and lowest cost approach, move on to the most expensive and complex approach, and end with what ATG believes is the sweet spot for LED lighting controls.

    Stand-alone LED lighting control options:

    In many installations all the customer wants to do is control the functionality of one fixture. Our industry has been addressing this with the following devices. This is by far the lowest cost approach to controlling an LED fixture. If you have been in the lighting industry for any length of time, you will already be familiar with these.

    Indoor LED lighting controls

    Motion Sensors and Daylight Harvesting:

    For indoor fixtures, many years ago, these sensors were based on Passive Infrared (PIR) technology, visible on the fixture itself, and simply turned the fixture on and off based on someone entering or leaving a room. They could be set to “Occupancy” which means the fixture turns on automatically when someone enters a room, but then they must manually turn of the fixture at the wall switch. Or they could be set to “Vacancy” which means a person turns on the fixture manually at a wall switch, but then the fixture turns off after the person leaves the room.  

    Later, through dip switch settings, the fixture could also be set to discrete dimming settings. For example, when someone entered a room, the light could be set to come on at 100%, then, when a person left the room, the fixture could be dimmed down to say 10%.

    Today, most of these sensors use microwave technology. This is much more sensitive and powerful. It allows the sensor to be installed behind the lens of the fixture because it can “see” through the lens. It also allows for higher mounting heights.

    Additionally, these sensors have daylight harvesting capability. This helps answer the question: if there is enough ambient light coming into a room through the windows or a skylight, why do I need to turn the lights on? Take a school classroom for example. Typically, one wall is full of windows. We can now program the sensor to turn off the fixtures nearest to the windows, dim the fixtures the next row over, and keep the other fixtures in the remaining rows on at 100%. These new, motion/daylight harvesting sensors are now programmed with a handheld remote control significantly minimizing the time it takes to program the sensor and thus reduce labor cost.

    Outdoor LED lighting controls:

    Photocell and Motion Sensors:

    Automatic lighting, such as streetlights, often uses photocell sensors (also known as photoeyes) to sense how much ambient light there is. Once the photocell detects low enough light levels, the light turns on or conversely, rising external light levels will turn the light off. With no user input required, there is no concern about setting timers or forgetting to turn the lights on. The photocell acts like how a light switch would—as such, photocell sensors are also sometimes called photoelectric switches. Photocells work all year round, activating at dusk and turning off at dawn, even when the days are longer in summer or shorter in winter. As they sense the amount of light rather than operating at a set time, they do not need to be adjusted when sunrise or sunset shifts with the seasons. Motion sensors, as described earlier, serve a different purpose because they are designed to sense occupancy or vacancy in a space. A good example would be area light fixtures lighting a parking lot. When the lights are on, the owner may only want to illuminate the parking lot at 30% for public safety. However, when a car enters the parking lot, the sensors can be programmed to set the light level to 100% and, after a time of inactivity, the light levels can go back down to 30%.

    Common problems with whole-building lighting and why integrated controls are the right solution

    How many times have you driven by a 20-story building at 11:00 PM and notice that all the lights were on? This is an excessively big and complex topic. Many commercial buildings waste energy for two main reasons. First, because they are simply over lighted. Second, because the light levels are set to inappropriate levels for a space when in use or even when not in use.

    In addition to wasting energy, many buildings consume more energy than they should by allowing heat gain or loss from its windows which creates higher demand for their HVAC system. These buildings also consume more energy than they should because they are not “smart enough” to take advantage of demand response and load shedding. This is simply the ability to instantly reduce energy consumption when desired, typically initiated by a signal or phone call from the utility company.

    “Smart” whole-building controls shed a percentage of the building’s lighting during peak demand. This creates instant energy savings leading to reduced electricity rates and increased rebates from the utility company.

    These systems typically have the following characteristics.

    • Wired and wireless components

    This differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it is too much to cover in this post, but we’ll post a follow up blog post soon to expand on this. Typically, the wired components are strait forward. When it comes to wireless components, some manufacturers have a proprietary solution while others rely on open solutions like Zigbee.

    • Centralized control:

    Facility managers can interface with the system from their laptop or even a smart phone. They can control, modify, monitor, and report on the building’s lighting maximizing energy efficiency, overall comfort, and productivity for the people in the building.

    • Scheduling:

    This is the same concept as we discussed earlier about motion sensors and photocells. Facility managers can schedule events to happen automatically throughout a building without the actions of a person in the building. This is often done using “time clocks” to trigger what happens at a certain time of day.

    • Monitoring and IoT:

    Facility managers can capture information reported back from different elements of the control system. This allows them to run reports to analyze overall activity, energy usage, etc. to help maximize energy savings. All of this leads us to a discussion of IoT (Internet of Things). According to Wikipedia, IoT is defined as “a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” Whole building controls are taking advantage of this and are becoming ‘smarter’ every day.

    Additional considerations for whole-building LED lighting controls

    While whole-building controls are useful in many applications, we need to understand a few things. First, installers or integrators must go through extensive training to learn how to install and commission these systems. This generally requires expertise in electrical design and installation, IT, and much more. Second, these systems can be extremely expensive. The costs scale down as the size of the building scales up, but, for smaller buildings, the cost may simply be too high, and the system functionality may be more than what is really needed.

    The LED lighting controls “sweet spot” for ATG

    No doubt you have heard of the “KISS” method: keep it simple stupid! This is our approach to automated controls at ATG. Do we offer stand-alone motion sensors, daylight harvesting sensors and photocells? Of course. Do we want to offer whole-building integrated controls? Yes, however, it is not what you are thinking. We will leave it to others to control lighting throughout the Empire State Building, the Willis Tower, and the like. We are targeting schools, hospitals, industrial park buildings, warehouses, etc. These buildings are within the reach of our customers who currently buy our LED fixtures.

    We will soon be launching a controls platform with the following characteristics.

    • Wireless Protocol:

    Professional Grade, Bluetooth Mesh. According to Wikipedia, this is defined as “a computer mesh networking standard based on Bluetooth Low Energy that allows for many-to-many communication over Bluetooth radio. The Bluetooth Mesh specifications were defined in the Mesh Profile and Mesh Model specifications by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. The physical range is from 100 – 1,000 meters depending on mesh relaying configuration.” In layman’s terms devices connect to each other, and pass signals to peers that are within range, forming a web, or mesh, of interconnected devices capable of relaying data.

    This means that information is passed from one device to another, and another, and so on eliminating dead zones. The diagram below illustrates this where Bluetooth nodes are installed into fixtures located in two rooms all of which are being controlled by a wall control.

    Wall Lighting Control

     Cost:

    Orders of magnitude less expensive than whole building control systems. These systems require a centralize controller or “brain,” and these can cost thousands and thousands of dollars before the first fixture is even fired up. Additionally, the component cost can be extremely high given their “smart” capabilities. And the installation and programming costs can be extremely high given the sophistication of the system. Finally, it can take weeks to fully complete a system like this. Time is money.

    So, for smaller installations like those described in the opening paragraph of this section, the barrier to entry (cost) is often too high for the customer to swallow.

    • Components:
      • Various motion sensors (microwave & PIR)
      • Daylight Harvesting sensors
      • Photocells
      • Power Packs
      • Dimmers (including built in motion sensor)
      • And more on the way!
    • Programming:

    You are going to love this. Programming is done on a PC, tablet, or smart phone. Training can be accomplished in under an hour. The whole idea behind this is to make programming so easy that installers can be comfortable with the system after only one or two jobs.

    • Scalability & IoT:

    The basic system detailed above is suitable for controlling lights in one room, multiple rooms, and multiple floors of a building. The system capability can be expanded by adding a low-cost gateway. This will enable energy monitoring (calculated and measured), occupancy monitoring and remote system monitoring. Let us call it a whole building control system – lite. Stay tuned for more updates from ATG!

    LED lighting controls and utility rebates: the dynamic duo

    The topic of controls would be incomplete if we did not discuss Utility Rebates! We already know that most utility companies in North America offer substantial rebates for LED fixtures. In fact, over the past few years, many utility companies provide higher rebates when a fixture includes a control component of some kind. In some cases, the rebate dollars can pay for greater than half of the installed cost of the entire project. Please educate yourself on the utility rebates in your area and take advantage of them. If you do not, you are literally leaving money on the table!

    Choosing the right T8 LED fluorescent tube replacement

    What is a linear T8 LED replacement tube?

    The “T” stands for the long (linear) tubular shape of the tube. The number “8” represents the diameter of the tube in eights of an inch.

    Traditionally, linear tubes have been fluorescent technology. However, in more recent years, LED technology has been used to create more energy efficient replacement options (like tubes) for the more traditional tube technologies of the past. There are great financial and environmental benefits in using LED lighting technology.

    Why should I choose T8 LED tubes?

    If you currently have linear T8s installed in your space, chances are they are outdated technology costing you time and money in energy consumption and maintenance costs. There are better, more efficient, and more cost-effective solutions in modern day linear T8 LED technology. In today’s surging LED tube revolution, installers and end-users have a myriad of choices of which way to go when they want to replace outdated T8 fluorescent tubes. New linear T8 LEDs offer the same form factor as their fluorescent predecessors, but with additional benefits like longer life and significantly reducing energy consumption with little to no maintenance after installation.

    The goal is to reduce costs. Newer T8 LEDs can reduce energy consumption as much as two-thirds by replacing 32W linear fluorescent T8 tubes, or even first-generation LED tubes which were far less efficient than the current variety of LED tube technology.

    Which T8 LED replacement tube should I choose?

    Choosing the right T8 tube could be a complex process if you don’t know the basic tube types and what the project job requires. People can end up paying too much for a T8 tube solution that is overkill for what they need – or they can end up going the least expensive route which could backfire due to potentially expensive callbacks and frustrated end-users and cost you more money in the long run.

    T8 LED tubes come in a variety of color temperatures (CCT’s) and wattages so clients can get both the right color and light output for the task at hand. Many utilities also offer rebates on T8 LED tubes making it much more affordable. If the application in question is such where the fluorescent fixtures or ballasts are not too old.
    What are the best applications for T8 LED tubes?

    When making T8 LED purchases, it’s best to consider some questions like:

    • What is my application?
    • What areas within my building would benefit most from T8s?
    • What is my budget?
    • Do I require dimming?
    • How much light do I need?
    • Are there Rebates available?
    • Should I replace the tube and ballast?
    • What is the most cost-effective approach for my project?

    The majority of the applications for these types of tubes are indoor. They include:

    • Schools/Universities
    • Offices
    • Municipalities
    • Small Businesses

    What T8 LED replacement tube options are available?

    The T8 LED tube has been around for years but has evolved into four basic classifications:

    1. T8 LED Type A (commonly referred to as direct-fit)
    2. T8 LED Type B (commonly referred to ballast bypass)
    3. T8 LED Type A/B which is relatively new variety which uses integrated circuitry in the base of the tube to sense heat
    4. T8 LED Type C which introduces a remote power supply

    What is a T8 LED Type A linear tube classification?

    Type A may be your best choice for both price and ease of installation. However, by allowing the existing ballast to remain in the circuit, the likelihood of callbacks is greatly increased because the ballast only has so much life. As a result, clients can pay for next generation technology only to find out the tubes are not burning in a short period of time. This leads to a poor customer experience with the contractors having to come back and assess the situation under warranty. Another way to use the Type A with confidence is to replace the fluorescent ballast with a new one. This is surely a safer bet, but it definitely adds cost which is not necessary and there can be compatibility issues.

    What is a T8 LED Type B linear tube classification?

    The Type B tube is generally preferred over LED Type A. The Type B takes the fluorescent ballast out of the equation completely by bypassing it and bringing power directly to the socket. This type of tube has its own internal power supply which will energize the tube. The preferred “double-ended” Type B is by far the most popular in that all you to do is bypass the ballast at not do any rewiring of the existing sockets.

    What is a T8 LED Type A/B linear tube classification?

    The Type A/B hybrid tube is a relatively new product on the market which introduces special integrated circuitry in the base of the tube to sense unusual heat which will lead to automatic shut-off. So, the tube starts out as a Type A and then, when the ballast fails, it can be bypassed and become a Type B. However, many people expressed safety concerns and it was only recently that certification bodies even allowed it. This configuration would still require a callback to convert the tubes to Type B.

    What is a T8 LED Type C linear tube classification?

    The Type C tube requires a remote power supply to power the tubes. Once again, you bypass the ballast and bring high-voltage to the remote power supply but everything on the secondary side is Class 2 low-voltage. This eliminates all potential of shocks electrical shocks and allows for dimming. So if you have a an application where dimming is critical, then clearly a type C is your solution. However, there is more cost involved because of the added remote power supply.

    In summary, end-users and installers need to do their homework to determine what they really need and what is in-line with budgets, if rebates are available, and if they willing to keep an outdated fluorescent ballast in the equation. There are four types of LED replacement tubes to choose from so make sure you pick the one that’s right for your project.

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    Installing a Photocell Sensor

    What is a Photocell Sensor?

    Automatic lighting, such as streetlights, often uses photocell sensors—also known as photoeyes—to sense how much ambient light there is. Once the photocell detects low enough light levels, the light turns on or conversely, rising external light levels will turn the light off.

    The photocell is made up of a resistor attached to photosensitive plates. As more light hits the plates, the resistance (the amount of current that travels through the resistor) changes, turning the light on and off. This technology is convenient for all types of outdoor locations.

    With no user input required, there’s no concern about setting timers or forgetting to turn the lights on. The photocell acts similar to how a light switch would—as such, photocell sensors are also sometimes called photoelectric switches.

    Photocells work all year round, activating at dusk and turning off at dawn, even when the days are longer in summer or shorter in winter. As they sense the amount of light rather than operating at a set time, they don’t need to be adjusted when sunrise or sunset shifts with the seasons.

    Many outdoor lighting setups use motion sensors. However, photocell sensors and motion sensors typically serve different purposes. While a motion sensor might be useful to keep stray animals away from dumpsters and garbage cans, for example, a photocell can keep a parking lot safely and consistently lit for long periods of time.

    How to Install a Photocell Sensor for Outdoor Use

    The following steps will guide you through the installation of a photocell sensor. This project requires some electrical work, so if you do not feel confident or safe performing these tasks, you should contact an electrician to install the photocell for you.

    1. Turn off the circuit breaker to your outside light. If you do not know which breaker powers your light, turn off all breakers in the building to ensure that power is cut off. Double check that the power is off by flipping the switch to the outdoor light to make sure it doesn’t turn on.
    2. Disassemble the housing that contains your exterior light. You may want to document how it comes apart with photographs so that you can easily put it back together.
    3. You should see two black wires on the photocell. Those black wires need to be tapped in to the black wire that runs between the light fixture and your structure’s main power. Disconnect the black wire going from the house to the light fixture.
    4. Connect one black wire on the photocell to the black wire that comes from the building. Be sure to twist the exposed copper wire so that it forms a tight connection.
    5. Connect the second black wire on the photocell to the black wire on your light fixture, making sure that the copper wire is twisted together completely.
    6. Cover the new connections you made with electrical caps. Ensure that the cap is tight around the wires.
    7. Tape your connections completely with electrical tape. Make sure that there are no exposed copper wires.
    8. To test the photocell, turn the power back on at the breaker. Make sure that the light switch is in the on position. Cover the photocell with your hand—if the light turns on when the photocell is covered, your photocell is working properly.
    9. Finish installing the photocell by putting your light fixture back together.

    If you are installing a new light fixture then the procedure is similar to the one above. To install a new light fixture, you may need the following:

    • The new photoelectric switch
    • Wire strippers
    • Needle nose pliers
    • A screwdriver
    • A voltage tester
    • Electrical tape
    • Wire nuts
    • Silicone sealant

    Steps for installing a new fixture:

    • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
    • Remove the existing light fixture.
    • Install the new light fixture with the pre-installed photoelectric switch using the mounting instructions that come with it.
    • To wire your new light fixture, use your pliers to cut about 3/8″ of insulation away from the wires. Twist together the black wire of the light fixture and the black wire of your house. Cover the new connection with a wire nut and make sure it is tight. Do the same thing with the white wires. Always connect black wires to black wires and white wires to white wires.
    • Cover all connections with electrical tape and tuck all the wires away.
    • Finish installing your light fixture per the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Once everything is assembled, test your light as shown above.

    ATG Electronics provides photocells that will fit in a variety of places, including outlet boxes, post lamps, or outdoor lights. Our products are well constructed and feature long service lives. If you are interested in photocells for LED lighting, please contact us.

    The Best CRI for Your Office Lighting

    Proper lighting plays an important role in the aesthetic and ambiance of an indoor space. For businesses and commercial facilities it is crucial to give attention to the layouts for lighting. Plentiful, uniform lighting improves visibility and reduces eye strain for office workers, in particular. As such, a well-lit office may improve overall productivity.

    Businesses are increasingly adopting Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights to provide affordable, high-quality lighting in their office space. LED lights consume less electricity than traditional light sources such as incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

    ATG Electronics offers a diverse line of LED lighting and fixtures for indoor office use. We’re one of the top commercial lighting manufacturers and suppliers in the U.S. and it’s because of our commitment to excellence that we provide products that are efficient, durable, and register well on what’s known as the Color Rendering Index (CRI).

    What is the Color Rendering Index?

    Consider the direct impact lighting can have on employees. While subjective assessments of light quality are important, an objective measure helps decision makers select an optimal lighting solution for their application and environment.

    The Color Rendering Index (CRI) offers a way to quantify the quality of light. The CRI uses eight pastel colors to determine how a solid-state light source renders color. The CRI operates on the following principle: If a light source renders the eight standard pastel colors well, it will also render all colors well.

    A light source’s CRI ranges from 0-100. This number indicates how well a specific light source shows colors in comparison to a standard light. For example, most natural daylight has a CRI of about 75. The scale works as follows:

    • The closer the CRI is to 100, the better the light source is at accurately rendering colors.
    • A CRI value from 90-100 is considered excellent.
    • CRI values between 60-85 are considered good.
    • CRI values less than 55 are poor at color rendering.

    LED lights generally have a CRI of 80-90, which means their light output is very similar to or more optimal than natural daylight. Colors lit by LED lights are almost identical to their color in natural sunlight. At the same time, LED lights can be brighter than natural light and are more cost-effective than conventional light bulbs. Conventional light sources such as fluorescent tubes can render colors very differently than natural light, making them appear artificial and causing undue strain on the human eye.

    In addition to color quality, LED lights have a much longer service life than incandescent bulbs or fluorescents. LED lights are an optimal light source for achieving good-to-excellent CRI for your business while keeping expenses low.

    Where on the CRI Scale is Office Lighting?

    Businesses should strive to make their office lighting as close to natural light as possible. Doing so will improve employee wellness, morale, and productivity. Dim or poor quality lighting not only contributes to physical strain, but can have a greater impact on accomplishing tasks that are tied into your business goals. Simply put: the environment you create is the setting for success.

    Research supports these claims. For example, hospital lighting has a direct impact on the performance of nurses.  Another study showed that improving the lighting in post offices tremendously improved the productivity of postal workers.

    Daylight has a CRI of around 75, which means businesses should aim to achieve a CRI of 75 or better in their offices. Since LED lights have a CRI of about 85, they provide an optimal choice for commercial office lighting. As they cost less per year of service due to their long life and low power consumption, LED lights also offer additional long-term cost savings.

    ATG Electronics is a leader in retrofitting conventional lighting systems with LEDs, helping businesses to improve employee productivity while reducing lighting expenses. Contact us today to discuss your commercial or industrial lighting needs.