November 11, 2023   

5 Things to Know:  Week Ending November 11

2023 11 ditch overhead lights efoi sales decline energy focus maritime port projects.jpg

The Guardian reports that overhead lighting is unflattering, unpleasant and unnecessary to some.  Plus an important subsidiary of Signify has a new CEO. 


Here's a roundup of some of the week's happenings curated to help lighting people stay informed.   


1.  Ditch Overhead Lighting?

In a Friday article published by The Guardian titled ‘Big light has no vibe’: why you should ditch overhead lighting, the author included insights from Dr. Mariana Figueiro, Director of the Mount Sinai Center for Light and Health Research, who sheds light on the impact of overhead lighting on circadian rhythms and overall health.

Figueiro highlights the significance of light intensity and positioning, advocating for light at eye level to effectively regulate our natural sleep-wake cycles. The article critiques overhead lights for their inadequacy, noting they are often not bright enough, resembling a "continuous twilight," which can disrupt our internal clocks. Figueiro suggests a move towards warmer lighting and possibly increasing light intensity by about 20% to create more acceptable environments.

The piece, written by Madeleine Aggeler, also features insights from Young Huh, a New York City interior designer, who favors a layered lighting approach. The article intertwines these expert opinions with broader aesthetic criticisms of overhead lighting, emphasizing its unflattering nature and lack of ambiance, thereby advocating for more thoughtfully designed lighting solutions.



2 .  Energy Focus Revenue Dips Again

Beleaguered Ohio-based lighting company, Energy Focus, Inc. revealed a mixed financial picture in its third quarter results for 2023.

The company shows signs of improving liquidity and reducing debt, which are positive steps toward financial stabilization. However, the company continues to face challenges in generating profitable sales, controlling operating expenses, and managing accumulated deficits. The increase in military maritime sales is a bright spot, but the overall decline in net sales and persistent losses highlight the ongoing need for strategic adjustments to return to profitability.

Decline in Net Sales: Net sales declined from $1.76 million in the third quarter of 2022 to $1.34 million in the same period in 2023, indicating another reduction in quarterly revenue for the company that once generated $64 million in sales in 2015.

Ongoing Net Losses: The company continued to incur net losses, with a loss of $944 thousand in the third quarter of 2023, although the loss has narrowed compared to $2.66 million in the same quarter of the previous year.

Decrease in Current Liabilities: Total current liabilities decreased from $7.95 million at the end of 2022 to $4.65 million by September 30, 2023, showing effective liability management.


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3.  Dock and Awe: U.S. Ports to Glow Up with Millions in Federal Funding


Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced a significant investment in the nation's ports, allocating over $653 million to 41 port improvement projects under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). Among these, four notable projects have been highlighted for their specific focus on lighting upgrades, emphasizing the importance of modern, efficient lighting in port infrastructure.


National City Marine Terminal Berth Rehabilitation & Electrification Project
San Diego, California

This project at the National City Marine Terminal (NCMT) in San Diego aims to enhance two berths by rehabilitating deteriorating infrastructure. A significant aspect of this project is the upgrade of terminal and warehouse lighting, ensuring better illumination and energy efficiency.


Kawaihae Harbor Improvements
Kawaihae Harbor, Hawaii

The Kawaihae Harbor in Hawaii will undergo a series of improvements, including the widening of the adjacent highway for better port access. A standout feature is the installation of new 80-foot high mast lighting, replacing outdated lighting equipment.


Portland IMT Reefer Yard Modernization Project
Portland, Maine

At the Portland International Marine Terminal (IMT), a reefer yard used for refrigerated cargoes will be modernized. This project includes constructing container storage racks, steel frames for stairs, and new lighting systems.


Wind Port at Paulsboro – Phase 2
Paulsboro, New Jersey

The Paulsboro Marine Terminal's Phase 2 development includes comprehensive site improvements. A noteworthy element is the installation of 15 high-mast light poles.


Interestingly, all of these projects are occurring in coastal regions.

4.   Signify’s Fluence Has New CEO.  Plus, New Report on Cannabis Market.


In the "2023 State of the Lighting Market" report, a survey by Cannabis Business Times supported by Fluence, a Signify company, key insights into LED usage in commercial cannabis production were unveiled.

In related news, LEDs Magazine reported on Monday that Michiel van Dam, a 29-year veteran of Signify/Philips, has been appointed as the full-time CEO of Fluence. This follows his role as co-CEO since David Cohen's departure in March.

It's noted that corporate-published reports often reflect the publisher's business interests, as Horticulture is a market segment that Signify has reported as weaker in recent quarters. The report's key findings include:

Crop Quality over Yield: A notable 62% of respondents emphasized crop quality as the most crucial factor for using LEDs in cannabis production, indicating a paradigm shift where quality is prioritized over yield and energy efficiency.

Energy Costs are a Major Challenge: Energy costs, consistency of lighting, and the impact of lighting on plant growth are highlighted as the top three challenges for 2023. This reflects the increasing importance of energy-efficient solutions in the industry.

Low Rebate Utilization: Less than half of the respondents reported exploring utility rebates and incentives despite the availability of such programs in multiple states, suggesting a potential area for cost savings that is currently underutilized.

Future Plans for LED Usage: Future plans indicate a continued shift towards LED lighting, with 38% of participants not currently using LEDs planning to do so in the flowering cycle within the next year.


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5.   Bright Futures Ahead: Graduate Lighting Education

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is now recruiting students interested in a graduate education in lighting for the Fall 2024 cohort. The Master of Science in Architectural Sciences with a Concentration in Lighting is a two-semester, multidisciplinary, 30-credit program that immerses students in lighting research, technology, human factors, application, and design culminated by an original project under the guidance of faculty.

Led by Dr. N. Narendran, LRC Director of Research and Graduate Education, students will have the opportunity to work closely with world-class faculty experts in architecture, engineering, and lighting design. Classes include:

Fall Semester:

  • Lighting Design: LGHT 4230, 4 credits

  • Human Factors in Lighting: LGHT 4840, 4 credits

  • Physics of Light + Lab: LGHT 6830, 3 credits + LGHT 6835, 1 credit

  • Master's Project: LGHT 6980, 3 credits


Spring Semester:

  • Lighting Technologies & Applications: LGHT 4770, 4 credits

  • Lighting Workshop: LGHT 6760, 4 credits

  • Lighting Leadership Seminar: LGHT 6780, 4 credits

  • Master's Project: LGHT 6980, 3 credits


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