Illuminating The Ocean

In June 2016, we dove into the ocean head first. Not really, but we did dive into the renovation of the UCSD  2nd floor of the Eckart Building, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography on UCSD’s Campus. This project was released in November 2016 and was completed in April 2017. What a ride it was!

With high-quality lighting, aesthetic design and advanced LED technology in mind, we installed VTL fixtures with individual fixture controls in the office areas. In order to save energy, we integrated Acuity Brand’s nIO into the fixtures… allowing users to individually control fixtures and dim lights in them. To make things even better the utility can send a signal for auto demand response to shed power, which is awesome because the school will receive a rebate for the energy savings. 

Within the wood ceiling, we used recessed and pendant linears. For the finishing touch, we added a graphical wall pod with a touchscreen complete with the building’s logo where users can control the lights in the lobbies and halls.

Special thanks to all of those who worked to make this project a success including: the general contractor CW Driver, The Engineering Partners Inc., the Architect OBI, photographer Kevin Walsh, Dianna Rubalcava for Neal Electric and Brendan Kelliher from our controls team.

Lighting the Path to Safer Biking

Caltran’s State Route 15When people think of San Diego, the word ‘sunny’ typically comes to mind. Averaging a whopping 146 days of sunshine per year, it’s no surprise being active outdoor junkies is part of our day-to-day culture. In addition to recreational cycling, San Diego ranks 20th out of 70 largest U.S. cities in bike commute, according to the League of American Bicyclists census data (2014). That’s why we jumped on the opportunity to team up with the Department of Transportation to help keep San Diego’s cyclists safe.

In spring of 2014, we took on a project to illuminate popular Caltrans State Route 15 Commuter Bikeway. One of the key aspects of lighting any transportation path is to minimize glare and provide enough illumination for safety. We knew Engineered Lighting Products’ (ELP) CP series would provide a large, low-level light across the 12-foot wide bike path and help achieve this goal. We even customized the fixture to ensure it was the perfect fit. We added tamper-proof screws, a custom color and the addition of vandal resistant faceplates. Caltran’s State Route 15

The bikeway officially opened in spring 2017, and now bikers can zoom their way through a safe, lighted path separated from traffic with a concrete barrier. The new fixtures provide 40% more light than the original and have more than 60,000 hours of life. Make sure to pedal on over and take a ride on the path located in-between the Mission Valley and Mid-City areas of San Diego.

Special thanks to Fariba Ramos, Electrical Engineer, PE at Caltrans, Lee Headberg, Director of Engineering at ELP, Lauri Maines, President at ELP and all those who helped us keep San Diego cyclists safe.

New LiFT Architectural Lighting Inspires Creativity in Grid Ceilings

Pinnacle Architectural Lighting introduces LiFT – LED lighting designed with appearance and performance equally in mind. From a traditional grid layout to an ornate pattern, LiFT LED luminaires can be flexibly constructed and clustered together to achieve the creativity you want, along with optimal power consumption, light output and energy efficiencies.

LiFT architectural lighting is a family of luminaires that are extremely versatile and proves any ceiling can be unique. inspired by the Golden Ratio, a universal law of beauty and completeness in nature, its clean lines and harmonious proportions are best displayed in patterns. The LED fixture’s seamless lens-to-trim transition creates a skylight-esque appearance that suggests bringing the outdoors in. Its low-power density and shallow housing profile make LiFT both versatile and efficient option for architectural LED lighting.

LiFT LED luminaires are available in 1×1, 1×2, 1×4, 2×2, 2×4 and 4×4 configurations. For more information contact Maronee Rodenberger at or download the LiFT family brochure.

Alpine Library’s Next Chapter: Net Zero Energy

The County of San Diego’s Alpine Library re-opened its doors in May of last year with a new building design that is unprecedented in its community. The 12,700 square-foot facility is comprised of a children’s area, quiet study areas, homework centers, public computers, reading rooms, a bookstore and even an outdoor patio. But its thoughtful, functional design doesn’t stop at just how the community uses it – it also impacts energy use. The Alpine Library is the County of San Diego’s first Net Zero building. This means the library’s total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Turning the page to this exciting chapter wasn’t easy. Achieving Net Zero energy is a tedious process to ensure regulations and stringent codes are met. The Alpine Library looked to our SDLA team as a guide through this process – a resource that would recommend the right products to get the job done.

“Alpine Library was one of the few projects that were both challenging and captivating throughout its entirety. Working with SDLA on the county’s first ZNE building was an added bonus as we look to the future in construction with sustainable buildings,” said Matt Hermsen
Project Manager, Rowan Electric.

To meet the library’s needs, we recommended an integrated lighting controls system called nLight® Controls. This networked digital lighting control system from Acuity Brands seamlessly integrates into the building’s lighting fixtures to help manage energy load throughout the space. Additionally, it makes the environment very controllable – tailoring lighting for the comfort of the people using the space no matter what task they are working on – a group study session, computer screen-time or just reading a book.

We helped the library with their entire controls strategy – from layout to installation and commissioning, and even continue to support them post-installation to configure controls to meet their changing needs. In the end, we are proud to have been part of the first Net Zero energy build in the County of San Diego, which is now a community landmark.