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2005, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (

Reprinted by permission from

ASHRAE Journal, (Vol. 47, No. 10, October 2005). This article may not be copied nor distributed in either paper or digital form without
ASHRAEs permission.

Lighting and Standard 90.1

The energy-efciency gains from reduced building loads are an untapped economic resource for the nation as a whole, and standards such as 90.1 are critical
to directing the nation to use such a valuable and cost-effective solution to the
nations energy concerns.
By Brian Liebel, P.E., and James Brodrick, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE
Lighting consumes 33% of electricity
used in commercial buildings. The next
few columns will discuss energy efcient

rom an electrical engineers viewpoint, energy standards such as

90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except
Low-Rise Residential Buildings, are great
equalizers. As the need for more electrical equipment in most buildings increases
to feed our computers and information
processing equipment, energy efciency
standards decrease our demand for energy
used to heat and light our buildings.
The energy savings achieved through
energy standards such as Standard 90.1
add capacity to our electrical grid and
lower the operation costs for building
owners, making them a key ingredient to
a successful energy and economic policy.
In addition, energy efciency standards
promote innovation in manufacturing and
engineering techniques that ultimately
lead to even higher levels of efciency
and cost effectiveness.
Lighting is a primary component of
a building electrical system for most
commercial buildings. Standard 90.1
addresses lighting energy in two ways.
First, the power consumption of lighting
is reduced by setting limits on lighting
power density (LPD, measured in W/ft2)
based on the specic use of the space.
These limitations are fundamentally
based on Illuminating Engineering Society of North America lighting level
recommendations and current energyOctober 2005

efcient technologies proven to be cost

effective. Essentially, this means the
baseline conditions for the energy efciencies for the interiors of buildings
are T8 lamps and electronic ballasts for
most commercial spaces. The second set
of measures mandates the use of lighting
controls to shut off lighting automatically
when it is not needed.
For many engineers, the additional step
of calculating the LPD for the purpose
of proving compliance with energy standards is considered to be time consuming.
However, use of ASHRAEs Building
Area Method makes the calculation
simple by allowing us to simply combine
the areas of similar occupancy and multiplying the overall areas by their respective
LPD allowances to arrive at an overall
wattage allowed for the building.
To demonstrate compliance, we simply
count all the various lighting xtures and
multiply them by their wattages and then
compare the two values to make sure we
have not put in more wattage than the standard allows. This task generally takes only
a few hours, even in larger buildings.
Many engineers may be concerned that
the maximum allowable LPD requirements
are difcult to implement, especially if they
are not familiar with new lighting technologies (which will be covered in future
columns) that actually make these easy to
implement. For example, a standard open
office generally consists of three-lamp
luminaires spaced at 8 ft 10 ft (2.4 m
3 m), or 80 ft2 (7.4 m2) per luminaire.
Older technologies of T12 lamps and
magnetic ballasts will result in a LPD range

of 1.2 1.4 W/ft2 (12.9 15 W/m2), which

exceeds the maximum of 1 W/ft2 (10.8 W/
m2) allowed under the Standard 90.1-2004
Building Area Method for ofces. Using
T8 lamps and electronic ballasts, however,
the values are easily obtained.
In some applications, we see lighting
power densities at around the 0.85 W/ft2
(9.2 W/m2) through the use of second
generation T8 lamps and high-efciency
electronic ballasts.
On the controls side, Standard 90.1
requires that all lighting be controlled
by an automatic shutoff control device
for buildings more than 5,000 ft2 (464.5
m2), and that each room has its own
control that also automatically turns off
lighting. Control systems meeting these
requirements can be either time-based or
occupancy based. Typically, we see large
buildings with open areas using timemanagement systems with lighting relay
panels that are either independent lighting control systems or integrated with
the mechanical building management
systems (BMS). For small spaces, such
as private ofces, occupancy sensors are
generally more cost effective initially and
provide a higher level of energy savings
in the long run.
Energy Savings Potential
The track record for implementation of
energy standards is clear. Californias Energy Efciency Standards, for example,
clearly have had positive effects for the
state. Californias electric use per capita
has stayed constant for 29 years from
1975 to 2004 while the U.S. has grown
2% per year, and now more than 50% over
Californias per capita use.* It is believed
ASHRAE Journal


that two-thirds of the U.S.-California difference is due to Californias standards

programs and conservation ethic.
Standard 90.1 has the potential to help
other states achieve lower per capita energy use through conservation measures
prescribed in the standard.
Standard 90.1 measures can reduce
lighting energy consumption in buildings
by 50% or more than older technologies commonly used in buildings today.
Simple lamp/ballast retrots often result
in paybacks of less than three years, depending on the hours of use and utility
rates. According to the U.S. Department
of Energy,** slightly more than 70% of
commercial uorescent lighting is still
T12 lamps at the national level, and ofces
have an average of 1.8 W/ft2 (19.4 W/m2).
The nationwide adoption of Standard 90.1
in uorescent lit commercial spaces alone
could therefore lead to a national reduction
of 77 TWh/yr (about 0.8 Quads)!

Market Factors
Manufacturers recognize the benet
of energy-saving devices and products.
In lighting, competition is structured
around the most efcient lamps in lightoutput per watt and in increasing lamp
life for end-use customers, recognizing
that most building owners are concerned
with lowering operation cost.
The combination of lower wattage
products and time controls to reduce
hours of product operation, as dictated by
the standard, are in synch with the market
demand of consumers, especially in the
commercial and industrial sector.
Despite this, energy standards often are
not understood as the market drivers that
they truly are. Currently, 15 states do not
have mandated energy codes that meet even
the 1999 version of Standard 90.1. Many
states have no energy code, have voluntary
standards, or have standards that are based
on the 1989 version of Standard 90.1.

Despite this, the evidence for the positive

inuence of state legislated energy conservation standards can be seen in California
and New York, both high-demand states
that have yielded substantial economic
returns through reduced overhead costs
for building owners and lowered federal,
state and utility costs through eliminating
need for new power plants.
The energy-eff iciency gains from
reduced building loads are an untapped
economic resource for the nation as a
whole, and standards such as 90.1 are
critical to directing the nation to use such
a valuable and cost-effective solution to
the nations energy concerns.
Brian Liebel, P.E., is principal of AfterImage + Space in Emeryville, Calif. He
is a member of IESNA. James Brodrick,
Ph.D., is a project manager, Building
Technologies Program, U.S. Department
of Energy, Washington, D.C.

Approximately half of this 2% per year relative gain in electric efciency (California vs. the U.S.) is directly explained by Californias codes and standards and
utility-administered energy efciency programs. The other half of the 2% per year gain is explained by structural differences and a mild climate.
** U.S. Lighting Market Characterization, Volume 1: National Lighting Inventory and Energy Consumption Estimate, U.S. Dept. of Energy, September 2002. This is
available at, Technical Reports section.

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ASHRAE Journal

October 2005