Outdoor Lighting: Understanding BUG Ratings

Outdoor Lighting: Understanding BUG Ratings

BUG (Backlight, Uplight, Glare) ratings make it easier to find the right outdoor lighting for your facility, but only if you understand what they mean.

For reference, any light that comes off the fixture below 60 degrees is considered the ideal usable light. In theory, you’d prefer that all your light goes there.

BUG ratings measure the backlight, uplight and glare of a fixture. If properly used, they can help you put the most light in the places you need it and avoid any light creep that could violate local ordinances.

Here’s a quick look at where the light is coming from:

  • Backlight is any light coming from the fixture between the 60- and 90-degree point. Backlight that leads to light trespass is bad, but sometimes backlight can be OK.
  • Uplight is any light that is sent up into the air. It’s mostly just light pollution that causes sky glow.
  • Glare is light coming out of the 60- to 90-degree range from the front of the fixture. That’s basically that angle that blinds you rather than helping you see.

Backlight, uplight and glare are each scored on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest lumen or light output.

BUG ratings are useful tools that can help you design an evenly lit outdoor space that promotes safety and security without bothering your neighbors.

4 Ways to Save Energy with EMS

VIDEO: 4 Ways to Save Energy with EMS

An energy management system (EMS) can help save money in your facility by performing four basic functions across a variety of applications.

  1. Control. An EMS controls the building environment by delivering just the right amount of conditioned air, fresh air and lighting for each type of space, always with an eye toward energy savings.
  2. Operations. An EMS will operate your building functions based on a prescribed sequence of operations and control strategies. The EMS will react to changing conditions, like occupancy or the amount of daylight.
  3. Monitoring. By monitoring performance, an EMS can implement corrective actions. All activity is shown on a screen and documented, so you know what’s happening in your facility at all times.
  4. Alerts. An EMS will also alarm and send you alerts that let you know if something needs attention in one of your systems.

By providing control, operations, monitoring and alerts, an EMS can improve efficiency, lower maintenance costs, increase productivity and enhance safety in your facility.

Why Lighting Controls Make Sense

Energy Answers: The Cost to Operate a Compressor

Energy Answers: The Cost to Operate a Compressor (video)

How much does it cost to operate a compressor? If you can read your electric bill, a motor nameplate and understand a few simple formulas, you can quickly find the answer for your compressor, or any other motor-driven process.

Just take power in kilowatts (kW), multiply it by time in hours, and multiply that by your electricity rate in dollars per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Every motor should have a nameplate that provides specific information about the unit. What we are looking for is the power input in kW. In this case, we are only shown 40 horsepower (HP) output. If the nameplate only shows HP output, convert it to electrical power input using the following formula:

40 HP x 0.746/.96 = 31 kW

Time is how long you expect to operate the equipment. Let’s say eight hours. Next, find your electricity rate on your bill. We will use $0.08 per kWh in this example. In this case it would cost about $20 to run a compressor for eight hours:

31 kW x 8h x $0.08/kWh = $19.84

If you are running your compressor at part load, the cost would be less, but not exactly proportional due to reduced efficient at part-load operation. This formula should give you a good idea for estimating purposes, however.

You also have to add any peak demand charges. If your demand charge is $8 per kW, for example, it would cost you an extra $248 per month to operate:

Peak Demand = 31 kW x $8/kW = $248

Making sure your system is efficient and used properly can make that money stretch even further.

VIDEO: Expert’s Desk: Taking on Color Temperature

VIDEO - Expert's Desk: Taking on Color Temperature

What is color temperature and why should it matter to you? An LED lighting upgrade comes with many benefits, but it’s also a big investment. LEDs last a long time. It’s important to select the right light for your application and color temperature plays a significant role in that decision.


Shedding light on color temperature

When you’re upgrading the lighting in your facility, you can get white LED bulbs in color temperatures that range from 2700 Kelvin (K), or warm white, to 7500 K, or cool white. The temperature that’s right for your application depends on what you want to do with the space.

In a dining room, you may want warmer light. Warmer light offers less detail, but a more relaxing ambiance. In meeting rooms, consider cooler light. Studies have shown that reading performance improves with daylight. Manufacturing facilities also benefit from cooler light that helps workers see better to perform visually oriented tasks. In fact, lighting upgrades have been shown to reduce workplace accidents.

Light output is independent of color temperature. So you can have whatever level of brightness you need at any color temperature you want. The right lighting can help you, your staff and customers get the best experience possible.

VIDEO: 4 Goals of a Business Energy Audit

VIDEO: 4 Goals of a Business Energy Audit

There are a variety of ways your business could benefit from an energy audit. In this video, a certified energy manager and one of his clients look at four of the goals a business might have when having their facility audited.

1. Justify financial investment. An energy audit can help a business compare the financial impacts of different projects or compare proposed energy improvements to other investments.

2. Obtain tax benefits. A business might want to ensure that they get tax advantages from a project beyond just energy savings, such as qualifying for local, state or federal programs.

3. Efficient building operation. An audit can help facility managers identify opportunities for improvement to make sure that HVAC and other systems are running as efficiently as possible.

4. Reduce energy costs. Ultimately, an energy audit can help a business save money, by identifying performance improvements, helping qualify for grants or other funding, or just by reducing energy bills.

VIDEO: Conversations with an Engineer: ECM Motors in Pumping Applications

Conversations with an Engineer: ECM Motors in Pumping Applications

What’s the difference between electronically commutated motors (ECM) and traditional electric motors?

According to Jim Swetye, a pump system expert with Swetye Services LLC, the primary difference is that ECMs are synchronous DC type motors that include permanent magnets built into the rotor. Compared to traditional motors that are asynchronous AC induction type, ECMs achieve about a 15% energy use reduction, on average.

The permanent magnet motors that are used in the pump industry today run from fractional horsepower sizes up to 15 horsepower. There are larger sizes coming.

The primary advantage of ECMs is efficiency. The process of inducing a magnetic field in the rotor by way of the stator’s magnetic field consumes about 15% of the energy that’s wasted. Another advantage is that ECMs enable pump manufacturers to produce combinations of pumps and motors that meet the stringent new U.S. Department of Energy efficiency requirements for pumps.

One of the primary applications for ECMs is in hydronic circulation, for both hot water heating and air conditioning systems. They are also found in pressure boosting applications in industry, municipalities and commercial buildings. They’re found in hot water recirculation, and in irrigation systems as well.

There are downsides to using ECM motors. The primary disadvantage is that they require a variable frequency drive to take advantage of those permanent magnets, making them a bit more expensive. A complete cost analysis will reveal that in most cases the additional expense of the ECM is more than offset by power cost reductions.

ECMs offer tremendous energy savings and other benefits when they’re applied to the right application.


Video: Energy Answers: LEDs and Bluelight Hazard

Energy Answers: LEDs and Blue-Light Hazard

The benefits of LED outdoor lighting are undeniable: they improve visibility, decrease light pollution and they’re highly efficient. But is LED outdoor lighting dangerous?

This belief stems from awareness of blue-light hazard, the potential for short wavelength visible light to cause damage to retinas and throw off circadian rhythm. It just so happens that the shortest wave lengths of light visible to humans, measured in color temperature, includes blue.

But the risk of blue-light hazard is not quite as simple as blaming LEDs with high color temperature. All white light has blue light in it, but blue-light hazard is predicated on four main factors:

  1. The intensity of blue light
  2. The brightness of the light
  3. Distance from the light
  4. Endurance of exposure

Most people don’t tend to stare straight up into light for hours on end. If they did, pretty much every fixture would be a risk for blue-light hazard.

Proper lighting design with attention to light intensity and glare will reduce the risk of blue-light hazard in your outdoor lighting, even with high color temperature LEDs.

Video: Idea to Innovation: Power Transmission

Video: Idea to Innovation: Power Transmission

Niagara Falls has a history of romance, wonder and power. All the way back in 1759 we find the first record of someone using the force of the falls to power a small sawmill. Through the years, rights were bought and sold. But the power generated was only useful for those located right next to the falls.

That changed in the 1890s, when the Niagara Power Company offered a $100,000 prize for ideas on how to transmit the power over long distances. No one responded. So, they formed a think tank instead. Alternating current (AC) a new-fangled technology championed by inventor Nikola Tesla and industrialist George Westinghouse, won out.

By 1895, the Westinghouse Company was contracted to develop the delivery infrastructure, including the transformers and the overhead wires to the city of Buffalo, New York, which was more than 25 miles away. On November 15, 1896, the Niagara Power Company became the first company to provide electricity over long distance lines for commercial purposes.

As Tesla put it in his speech at the opening ceremony, “It was a monument worthy of our scientific age, a true monument of enlightenment and of peace.” Yeah, it was kind of a big deal.


Did you know?

APS maintains 6,189 miles of transmission lines, plus 32,272 miles of distribution lines, over 34,646 square miles of territory. This network of lines connects our most northern generating station, Four Corners in Farmington, New Mexico, to businesses as far south as Sonora, Mexico. Visit our website to learn how we are planning for the future.

Video: A Day In The Life of an Energy-Smart Building

Video: A Day In The Life of an Energy-Smart Building

With smart controls and other advanced technologies, the future of energy efficiency is looking pretty bright. In truth, however, the future is already here. What does it look like? Let’s take a snapshot of a typical day in the life of an energy smart building.

  • The day begins about an hour before employees arrive. The HVAC systems kick on to bring building temperatures to a comfortable level. Variable speed drives on the compressor and fans ramp up to full speed.
  • As workers arrive, timing controls automatically switch on lights in common areas throughout the building.
  • During a morning meeting, carbon dioxide sensors and controls automatically adjust outdoor air ventilation to ensure indoor air quality. After the meeting, ventilation rates are readjusted to avoid wasting energy by over-ventilating an empty room.
  • Throughout the morning, an economizer attached to the building’s HVAC system reduces the load on the air conditioning system by taking advantage of relatively cool outside morning air.
  • It’s lunchtime. Vending machine controls kick into occupied mode as people enter the break room. After a period of inactivity, they go back into energy-saving mode, as lights switch off and the compressor cycles are reduced while keeping products cold.
  • While workers are away at lunch, power management software puts computers into low-power sleep mode.
  • In the afternoon, demand for electricity increases. The building automation system minimizes energy use for selected equipment to reduce peak demand. Daylighting controls automatically dim lighting to make way for free natural light.
  • Programmable thermostats adjust building temperatures a few degrees to save energy, but still remain in the comfortable range.
  • Closing time. Timing controls automatically shut off lights and equipment as staff leaves for the day, leaving only a few lights on for security.
  • HVAC controls adjust building temperatures to save energy overnight while the facility is empty.

Energy efficiency is an ongoing process. Tomorrow morning, the whole thing will start all over again.

Video: Optimizing Compressors with One VFD

Optimizing Compressors with One VFD