An Inside Look at the DesignLights Consortium 2017 Stakeholder Meeting

I attended the sixth annual DesignLights Consortium® (DLC) Stakeholder Meeting in Portland, Oregon in mid-July. I discovered that Portland is a great city with interesting people, participated in sessions about a variety of topics that affect the lighting industry, and the DLC is making one very exciting improvement in the near future.

DLC Stakeholder Meeting July 2017

For starters, here’s an intro…the DLC Annual Stakeholder Meeting is a collaborative and interactive forum. The DLC presents their plans and solicits feedback from the stakeholders; it also gives stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions in an open environment among industry professionals and their peers. Attendees range from utilities to technical experts and other thought leaders that come together to share ideas and perspectives on commercial LED lighting technologies and advanced controls. Encentiv Energy is a stakeholder and since the majority of utility rebate programs require lighting fixtures to be on the DesignLights Consortium Qualified Product Listing (QPL), we have an interest and want to stay informed about where they are headed in the future.

I was able to attend the breakout session: Col-LAB-oration with Labs. I wanted to learn more about the experience that manufacturers have with the labs that do testing on their fixtures and the process. Also, the common issues they encounter within lab test reports – which was quite eye-opening. If a lab makes a mistake on a test result or makes a mistake in recording the information that is sent to DLC, it is up to the manufacturer to resolve this issue which may require them to submit for testing again and pay the cost of doing so.

I also attended two other breakout sessions: Common SSL Application Questions and V4.2 Category Nuances and Allowances. Common SSL Application Question session went into more detail about the policy for color tuning and horticultural products. The long-term goal for the DLC and horticultural products is that they are going to address it, and will start by deciding how to determine product performance and quality as well as developing technical requirements for horticultural lighting . There is a lot of growth and emergence around horticultural lighting and there are different metrics when it comes to evaluating it. The DLC has a research plan to start looking into it.

As for V4.2 and category nuances, DLC facilitated  a discussion around the recent changes and provided a background on why the changes were made. Linear replacement LEDs testing protocols were developed around T8 lamps and they’ve expanded to address T5 lamp types individually. Allowances with additional metrics around low CCT or high CRI (specific performance requirements) allow for a 3-5% allowance to efficacy.

A very exciting improvement is that the DLC announced they are creating a DLC technical roadmap that will be published on their website to walk through the process they go through to make decisions. They will give stakeholders time to review and comment on all future changes to the technical requirements and QPL.

All in all it was a great conference. I even met someone that climbed and skied down Mt. Hood(!), got to go for a run in a new city which allowed me to see the beautiful scenery of Portland and learn about the future of the DesignLights Consortium.

Key takeaways:

If a manufacturer submits fixtures for testing and the lab makes a mistake in the results or on the paperwork it is up to the manufacturer to resolve this which may be that they submit for testing again and pay for the costs

Horticultural lighting is an emerging and rapidly growing industry and the DLC has plans to start looking into the different metrics when it comes to evaluating it

V4.2 is discussing the recent changes that were made and making some updates

DLC announced they will be publishing a technical roadmap on their website that will allow stakeholders to stay informed and to review and comment on all future changes to the technical requirements and QPL

The Encentivizer™ Platform incorporates all the changes by the DesignLights Consortium. You can find qualified products with rebate intelligence in seconds.

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By Steve Bolibruck, Director of Technical Services


Encentiv Energy CEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2017 – Encentiv Energy is proud to announce that Stephen Moritz, President & CEO of Encentiv Energy, was a finalist for the 2017 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia regional program in Business Advisory Services. He was nominated for the award for his revolutionary work with Encentiv Energy and the Encentivizer platform that changes the way energy efficiency rebates are managed from start to finish.

In 2009, approximately 5% of companies were taking advantage of energy incentive rebates, even though 100% of companies were being taxed for them. While working as an energy analyst for a very large energy consulting agency, Stephen Moritz identified this problem and seized the opportunity. To do so, Steve pulled from his extensive background of almost 20 years in energy, to launch a new, more transparent and efficient method for businesses to capitalize on energy rebate incentives.

Encentiv Energy’s Encentivizer platform connects the end user with instant, quantifiable cost savings and rebate and financing options for any size commercial project. As the market was rather untested upon Steve’s implementation, his team’s agility has been instrumental to the company’s success due to the many strategic focus shifts over the entity’s short six-year existence.

“Success of our firm is not measured by the bottom line,” states Steve, “but instead by the quality and impact of our product, the growth of our people and the benefit to our environment.”

With successes, there are some challenges which Stephen has handled with his acute instinct, inarguable professionalism, and the unbreakable spirit of a true entrepreneur.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year is a yearly global competition sponsored by Ernst & Young to encourage entrepreneurship. It is awarded to entrepreneurs who are propelling forward toward a brighter future for us all. Beginning in 1986 as a single award it has now expanded globally. It currently has twenty-five programs that run in all fifty states of the US and also programs globally that run across more than 60 countries.

The Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia regional program had eight different categories this year: Family Business, Technology. Community Service, Business Advisory Services, Real Estate & Construction, Retail & Consumer Products, Distribution & Manufacturing, and Services. This year’s black-tie event took place on Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.

Do you know about HVAC and VFD incentives and what they mean for you?

Upgrading an HVAC system can be a costly project, and even adding VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) is not a small investment. This is where utility incentives can come into play. Rebates for HVAC equipment and VFDs improve the ROI on projects by allowing you to achieve higher energy savings with more efficient equipment.

Utilities incentivize HVAC upgrades based on higher efficiency equipment that is typically measured by SEER and EER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and Energy Efficiency Ratio). Every utility varies – the higher the efficiency number the more efficient the equipment is and the utilities have varying standards on what the SEER or EER needs to be to qualify for rebates. Utilities pay incentives based on tons, BTUs or energy savings.

Utilities incentivize VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) as an add-on piece of equipment that makes motors more efficient. Instead of upgrading your current HVAC system you can add-on a VFD to increase efficiency and collect an incentive if the utility in the area has a rebate for it. VFD rebates are largely calculated on the horsepower of the motor.

HVAC/VFD and LED lighting rebates are different. Lighting has the most rebate programs followed by HVAC and then VFDs.  The key differentiator between LED lighting fixtures and HVAC/VFDs is that HVAC/VFDs require information about the pre-existing equipment or condition far less often than LEDs which reduces the complexity of getting this incentive. In short, HVAC/VFD rebates are easier to apply for than LED lights.

So, how can you find these incentives for HVAC and VFDs?

Of course, you can call the utility, but if you’re project scope changes or you have multiple projects (or a multi-site project), that can turn into a bit of a nightmare. A faster and more agile path would be to use the Encentivizer Platform. Encentivizer has 14 defined categories for tracking HVAC incentives and the rebate varies based on that category. VFDs have 26 types of motors in fans, pumps and compressors in 4 application areas (HVAC, agriculture, industrial, recreation) – this info is all in one place…Encentivizer.

Utilities vary widely on their categorization of the HVAC and VFDs. Encentivizer normalizes all the variations the utilities use to categorize HVAC and VFDs and incentives for them.

If you’re a current Encentivizer customer, you can expect to see both HVAC and VFD data sets released in Fall 2017. The HVAC/VFD data set will become available through Encentivzer  tools: XL, the mobile app, Portfolio Awareness, Product Awareness and the new widget.

If you are interested in being a beta-testing partner, please reach out to us.

by Mike Cham, CTO