A Bird’s Eye View of Our Lighting Controls Department

How would your life change if you had a bird’s eye view of the inner workings of everything around you? In our lighting controls department, we have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in our industry, and alongside the fixture quotation department, providing the complete lighting package. Each day, projects make their way onto our bid board and with each project comes a different set of specifications, Title 24 requirements, design requirements and style preferences. We have a front row seat to how things are being done in various parts of our market and how ideas are being executed in different scenarios. Because of this, we can compile our broad array of experiences in order to provide the end user with the best possible interface and cost-effective solution. Ready to soak in everything you need to know about a day in the life of our lighting controls department?

1. An idea is born in our quotations department. The process begins in the quotations department when a request comes in from a distributor who is working with a contractor or lighting engineer. At this point, one of our four specialists will take the project under his wing. Once a specialist is assigned to quote and design, they remain involved in the entire process so that the point of contact stays the same for the distributor/contractor working with us. Initially one of our control specialists will analyze all the documents provided by the contractor and determine if the specifications meet Title 24 standards. Design begins at this stage and after we feel confident that we have provided the best value we will send the project back to the contractor for review.

2. Awarded the gig. If we are awarded the job, we eagerly to get to work. Sometimes a new series of documents and revisions will come in or we will work from the initial set of information. In this stage of the process, we finalize the layout in AutoCAD. This layout will serve as an instructional floor plan for how each room will be designed and can include wiring details for how all the equipment is installed into the system. There are two different solution types for our layouts, standalone and networked designs. A standalone system will have all the controls, controlled in one room. A networked system will have every room networked back to a centralized Eclypse/Gateway controller where time-clock and/or Automatic Demand Response control is incorporated. After designing the layout to include the best fit solution for the application and to meet California Title 24 requirements, we will send the final document to the contractor for execution and installation.

3. Our design comes to life. Each project is different and the same can be said for the contractor or engineer who will bring our design to life. Some contractors will install the equipment based on our exact design, others may go back and forth with our specialist to optimize the solution, making communication a vital component of this process. Each time we work with a different contractor or engineer we are gaining more understanding of our industry and how to better serve our customers. Alongside the contractor, we are solving issues we see in our field and providing solutions that are innovating how controls are incorporated into the lighting industry.

With our vast experience and knowledge of the industry, we are confident we can offer the best value and design when an idea makes its way to our lighting controls department. If you’re looking for a team that places a priority on effective communication and value then bring your idea to our quotations department by emailing quotes@sdltg.com!

Meet the Team: Brendan Kelliher

When Brendan Kelliher joined the team two years he became SDLA’s lucky charm.  Born and raised in Ireland, Kelliher moved to the United States and is a great addition to the lighting controls department.  After standing up for a week straight at his standing desk, he officially became known as the office’s standup guy… of course, his teamwork skills played a role in the nickname too! Brendan is settling into his new home here in San Diego and loves the beach, but he does miss those rainy days in Ireland that we don’t find here too often. Let’s meet one of our beloved controls specialists!

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

BK: I went to school for civil engineering and worked in that field before moving to the United States. When I moved from Boston to San Diego I had the opportunity to talk with SDLA and I was really interested in what the company was doing. So, I initially didn’t think I’d end up in lighting, but this company had me excited enough that I decided to make the switch. I’ve now been a control specialist for two years and I can safely say I made an awesome choice when betting on SDLA.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

BK: I love checking in with the bid board for hot projects and seeing all the different rewards and challenges that each job will offer. I love that my day to day is always changing along with the projects we are working on; the job is never monotonous, and it really keeps things fresh and exciting. Also, I love being the point person for a lighting controls project when I’m able to own everything from the concept to the design to the execution.

Q: Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?

 BK: Right now, I’m really enjoying working on the SDG&E Mission Control project. The Fresco™ line from Acuity Brands is a really big component of this job because the line includes high-performance lighting controls that we are excited to use in our layouts. This project is very rewarding because a lot of thought and detail has gone into designing the layout so, after numerous rounds of revisions, it will be great to see the project completed, knowing the client got the best value.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

 BK: What first attracted me to SDLA was the support system given to each and every employee. I saw very early on, firsthand, that everyone is really helpful and supportive of one another and it’s something that I continue to love about the culture here. The environment in the office is great too, the atmosphere is the perfect hybrid between laid back and goal oriented. We work hard, play hard. I can also confirm that our team is like a big family and I’m really lucky to have great co-workers, like JP Castro. He’s the Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote.

Join Us For a Free IES Training!

We’re eliminating any excuses you may have for furthering your education by sponsoring a FREE IES, Title 24 compliant training! On April 11th, we invite all distributors, electrical contractors, electrical engineers, architects, lighting designers, and anyone else interested to attend our training. This IES Spring update will be held at the REXEL San Diego Energy Center and lunch will be provided for all those in attendance from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. This opportunity comes to you with no admission fee and free parking, so if you have been waiting to attend a training course, this is the perfect chance to get a baseline knowledge or refresher of industry standards as regulations continue to become more rigorous.

As the speaker for the event, I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing several perspectives from different occupations and experience levels in the industry. This training is suited for anyone new to Title 24 or any seasoned professional looking for a refresher course. In this course, I will discuss the exceptions to the code professionals should be aware of and how to utilize these benefits to move projects from concept to execution. Even some seasoned electrical professionals and distributors may not be aware of the way they can use code and regulations to their benefit and sometimes see compliance strictly as a prohibitory factor. This IES training will also cover how to offer lower up-front costs and energy savings projects, while still being Title 24 compliant. As code requirements and regulations continue to become more and more challenging, it’s essential that we continue to educate ourselves through training in order to save our clients and our companies time and money.

There are still spots available for this training, so be sure to register online and secure your spot free of charge! If you want more information or have any other questions, please reach out to me at danielc@sdltg.com.  

SDLA Academy: Networked Lighting Controls

The SDLA Academy recently held another successful premiere course for lighting and lighting controls training and education. On March 22nd, we hosted about 16 different electrical engineers, electrical contractors, and electrical distributors for the course, “nLight Networked Lighting Controls, What’s New?”, right here in our office! Those in attendance gained education and training on networked lighting control solutions and how they relate to Title 24 requirements, BMS integration, Demand Response, and IoT solutions. Today, lighting control knowledge is an absolute necessity for professionals to have due to the push in energy saving code requirements, and the increased desire of building owners to be more in tune with their buildings’ potential. Software Applications, like Space Utilization, Siteview Energy and Indoor Positioning have been developed to utilize the networked control sensor devices to pull data like occupancy status/history, light levels from standard nLight devices, energy metering from the integrated SVEM and indoor location from Atrius enabled fixtures. Our training and hands-on demonstrations displayed the many ways available to design and utilize controls systems in order to give our clients an innovative approach to lighting their spaces.

Our attendees were able to get hands-on interaction with nLight® and nLight®Air of Acuity Brands, a digital control system that provides a wide range of control from small, individual rooms to multi-story buildings and has full read/write BACnet/IP BMS integration capabilities. Keep an eye out for the Summer release of the fully networked nLight AIR wireless control system that will provide the ability to have interior/exterior and wired/wireless lighting controls under one system. These Title 24 compliant systems were on display with another controls lines from Acuity including Fresco™, a high- performance architectural lighting control system that is bringing dynamic spaces to life. The Fresco system has the ability to control nLight, dimming panels, DMX (including RDM), Dali, and tunable white fixtures. All of these systems meet the needs of Title 24 while simultaneously addressing the “requirements of today’s architectural and dynamic lighting environments.”

Attendees not only had the chance to experience these innovative systems and enjoy a delicious lunch, but they also had the chance to win a very fine SDLA jacket from our event giveaway. Congrats to our winner, Kyle Knoakes!

Want a chance to experience these systems first hand? Email me at jeretc@sdltg.com for more information or to set up your demonstration today! Also, don’t miss out on our next course with the SDLA Academy, Visual Lighting Software Half-Day Training, which will be hosted on April 19th!