Approximately six years ago, in an attempt to deliver on its mission to minimize energy use and support innovative lighting design, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) formed an Energy and Sustainability Committee. Led by IALD member Glenn Heinmiller, a principal at Lam Partners, and supported by John Martin, IALD’s public policy consultant, the committee now is working hard to affect lighting design policy and code changes across the globe. We spoke with Heinmiller and Martin about this process.
gb&d: The IALD has been around since 1969, but it’s largely the formation of the Energy and Sustainability Committee that led to IALD’s involvement in looking at energy codes. Why is this?
Heinmiller: Over the past decade, energy codes have gotten more stringent. Before then, we didn’t really need to worry much about the codes, but as they got more stringent, we came to realize that these codes might be getting so stringent that they would prevent us from producing quality lighting. There wasn’t enough lighting design expertise being applied to the development of the codes, so that’s what we’ve been doing over the past five years: code development, getting involved, getting our voice heard, and establishing ourselves as the lighting experts, which we have done for the IECC, ASHRAE 90.1, California Title 24, and especially LEED.
gb&d: In what way are the IALD and its committees involved in affecting this kind of policy change?
Martin: The IALD, and specifically the Energy and Sustainability Committee under Glenn’s leadership, has moved away from being merely reactive in response to codes or proposals. After several years of concerted work, we’re able to have a positive impact on the direction of those very codes and standards that affect our members’ work, shaping them in ways that allow our members to do quality lighting design and minimize energy use at the same time.
Heinmiller: Our approach is not to simply object to what someone else is proposing, but to actually be the person making the proposal. We’ve tried to be a neutral party as much as possible. As with the IECC development, we partnered with energy-efficiency advocates, and instead of setting up in opposition, we instead asked how we could work together.
gb&d: Can you give an example of how IALD’s work has created a positive change in energy codes?
Martin: Prior to the IALD’s deeper involvement in helping shape energy codes, the main way American energy codes worked to reduce lighting energy use for lighting was simply to tighten down lighting power densities (LPDs). Our members who have been active on the various code committees instead said that if you want to minimize energy use, rather than just tightening LPDs, let’s look at control, daylighting, and other approaches that reduce energy use in practice and not just on paper.
gb&d: Policy and energy codes are complicated. What else is the IALD doing to substantiate this work?
Heinmiller: A major part of our work is the education of our members and the lighting community. I do presentations at Lightfair as well as our own conference just talking about energy codes. I didn’t know much about them until a few years ago. A lot of what we need to do is simply learn how they work. And now we know.
Martin: All of this work from the IALD—the individuals who put in so many hours to become experts on these codes and how to change them to help meet the code’s goals—this is volunteer work. People like Glenn are giving up billable time to help make sure that the world is a better place, which sounds highfalutin, but it’s true.