What’s New

Meet The Team: JP Castro

JP Castro is quick on and off the field, he has to be as a father of four and controls specialist at SDLA! JP is a hometown guy, who is a lifelong Padres fan and baseball enthusiast. JP loves being able to share his love for baseball with his four sons and coach their teams! When he’s not being a team player in the office with the controls department, he’s teaching his sons how to be team players on and off the field. Ready for this month’s meet the team? Coach Castro is throwing us a fast one!

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

JC: I was working for Acuity Brands in Ontario, who is a manufacturer for SDLA. I was looking to cut down on my four-hour commute and got in touch with Danny. They brought me on board a little over a year ago to bring in more tech support for the lighting controls department. What’s really nice for me is that I still get to work closely with Acuity Brands and my old co-workers there but now I’m able to spend more time at home with my family.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

JC: Every morning we try to knock out all our bids so I start off my day by checking in with the board and the team to see what needs to be done. We will load the controls in the quotes, along with the designs and layouts and then send it over to the distributors so they can continue the process from there.

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

JC: I really enjoy working with my co-workers to complete a project. Everyone on the team has a different set of expertise and experiences, so we are are all able to help each other to make the best results possible for the client. My co-workers are also very intuitive, they can sense when I may need help with something and step up to the job before I even need to ask. Aside from working with the other controls guys, I work with the fixtures/quotations department every day and their another team that is always willing to be supportive and hard working.

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

JC: I love that when it’s time to be serious, everyone here can buckle down and work together to get a project done. But when we have the time to joke around and be silly, everyone can have a good time together too. It’s also awesome that I get to work with one of my greatest friends every day, Brendan. We are definitely office best friends so whenever people hear us bickering or disagreeing about something, they will come over and ask “uh, oh trouble in paradise?”

Meet The Team: Albert Brocone

Albert BroconeWhen Albert Brocone joined SDLA two years ago, he officially became known as Albie to the team.  Albert was born and raised in San Diego and loves living by the bay. When he’s not exploring San Diego from behind the wheel as a controls technician, Albert loves going to the beach to walk or bike along the water with his girlfriend or paddleboard in the waves! Wondering what it’s like to be Albert for a day? Albert’s meet the team starts now!

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

AB: I was working in audio as a freelance engineer, working at places like the House of Blues and concert venues, but looking to fill my schedule with more work. SDLA found my resume and brought me in for an interview and acknowledged that I was pretty savvy with a computer. They hired me a little over two years ago, which began my career in the lighting industry.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

 AB: I’m actually not in the office as much as I’m boots on the ground with electrical contractors in the field. I drive out to job sites all over San Diego and work with electrical contractors to install Acuity Brands products. Then I program the lights to be Title 24 compliant and ensure the project accounts for all the building codes. Most of the time, I’m solo on the job but it’s always nice when we have a big project and I can head out to a site with the other SDLA controls technicians, Will Laws and Greg Cresto.

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

AB: Being on the road is really good for me. I love exploring San Diego by visiting job sites all over our region. It’s always rewarding when I drive around the area and can look at restaurants or businesses and see my work in execution. It makes me feel like a part of the community when I experience a project from start to finish and can take pride in the finished result. One of my favorite things to do is go to visit and eat at a restaurant  I worked at during development after they’ve opened. Additionally, I love working here in San Diego because clean energy is such a strong focus and I love having that worldly aspect and responsibility in my job.

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

 AB: Since SDLA was my first exposure to the lighting industry, I came in blind and didn’t really know what to expect when I  came on board. I’m so grateful for the culture here because I’ve never been timid to ask questions or look for help from this team. It’s great to work with so many people my age, who can banter and joke with one another. At first, it took some time getting used to the culture because I had come from cold and rigid workplaces, but I’ve welcomed the change wholeheartedly. We have a nice family culture here, we love to go bowling outside of work or grab a drink after hours.

The Future Is Here With nLight® AIR

nLight Air Are you ready to get more from your wireless? Look no further, Acuity Brands® just launched nLight® AIR 2.0… The most secure, reliable and scalable wireless networked lighting control system or as we like to call it, everyone’s dream system to specify and install! nLight® AIR is built on the same trusted software platform as nLight and provides the ease of install with wireless communication. nLight® AIR is a robust wireless lighting control solution, complete with Acuity Brands® enabled LED fixtures with embedded smart sensors, dimming relay packs, remote motion sensors, wireless nLight® AIR wall switches and the best part…nLight AIR connects to the nLight Eclypse to provide a networked wireless solution with central control, timeclock scheduling, demand response and BMS integration capabilities.

nLight® AIR is perfect in spaces where wiring is cost prohibitive, or retrofits where running new wires can be difficult, expensive or complex. This wireless system is extremely scalable and upgradable. It can operate as: stand-alone lighting control in an individual room; networked with the nLight Eclypse for networked tenant, floor or building lighting control; or integrated into a building management system allowing for integration between building controls and the nLight® AIR wireless controls systems. And the flexibility, you ask? This wireless system is extremely scalable and upgradable. It can operate in many different configurations:

-Stand-alone lighting control in an individual room

-Networked with the nLight Eclypse for networked tenant, floor, or building lighting control

-Integrated into a building management system allowing for integration between building controls and the nLight® AIR wireless controls systems.

And the flexibility, you ask? The wireless relays and motion sensors can be integral to the fixture or remote mounted devices.

The addition of nLight® AIR to the nLight family gives users the ability to have distributed relay based, central panel based and wireless-based control solutions under one platform. nLight AIR can be programmed through Sensorview Desktop Software for networked systems or a mobile configuration app, CLAIRITY™, for quick and easy startup on standalone solutions. nLight AIR systems can be deployed using the building’s existing wiring, which reduces installation costs and helps the ROI of the system pay off faster.

The technology behind nLight® AIR is precisely designed for security and reliability. The wireless signal is 900 megahertz frequency, which offers proven reliability, a range of up to 600’ installed with obstructions, 1,000’ line of site range and a less congested wavelength. On top of that, it features a 5-tier security architecture that starts with AES 128-bit encryption and builds up from there with additional layers of security. These aspects provide you with the confidence to design and install an innovative lighting control solution.

Want more? We are here to support you each step of the way. From specification support with project specific solutions, product samples, and typical single lines; to installation support with wiring diagrams, pre-construction meetings, network programming and training. The next time you have a project that requires wireless controls solutions, be sure to contact SDLA for the premier wireless solution, nLight® AIR.

CA Title 24 Quick Reference: Plug Load Control – When Do You Need It?

This may not be the most popular topic but with the new 2016 version of Title 24 code there are exciting and important changes to discuss. The requirements for plug load control have remained rather the same, with a few major changes.

The biggest change for plug load control is the requirements in alterations. Alterations section 141.0(b)2 has a new subsection P (141.0(b)2P) that covers Electrical power distribution requirements in alterations. 141.0(b)2 Piv states that “Circuit Controls for 120-Volt Receptacles and Controlled Receptacles. For entirely new or complete replacement of electrical power distribution systems, the entire system shall meet the applicable requirements of Section 130.5(d).” The CEC has confirmed that this means that receptacle control is only required in alterations when the entire electrical distribution is replaced. Note, if replacing the entire distribution system, then all connected receptacle loads must meet the requirements of 130.5(d).

The areas/spaces where plug load controls are required are similar but listed with broadened terms. Private offices and open offices have been changed to Office Areas, to include any space that has office related functions being performed. This includes any room or area of a building in CBC Group B Occupancy where business, clerical or professional activities are conducted, including quiet rooms, warehouses, etc., where these functions are also performed. “Reception lobbies” was changed to Lobbies to include all lobbies within a building or space. The term Kitchenette was broadened to Kitchen Areas as to include any space within a building where there are cooking facilities or where food is prepared. Conference Rooms and Copy Rooms have remained unchanged. Hotel and motel guest rooms maintain the same requirement to control half of the receptacles using a captive keycard, occupancy sensing control, or automatic controls that switch the power off no longer than 30 minutes after the guestroom has been vacated.

The requirements for plug load control are still to install a control system: that can automatically shut off the lighting when the space is typically unoccupied, with an automatic holiday shut-off and maximum 2-hour override. At least one controlled receptacle must be installed within 6 feet of an uncontrolled receptacle or split wire the receptacles to provide at least one controlled and one uncontrolled receptacle. Modular furniture in open office areas are to have at least one controlled receptacle installed at each workstation. Provide controlled receptacles or circuits with a permanent and durable marking that differentiates them from other uncontrolled receptacles or circuits.

Be sure to check out nLight’s nPP20 PL that controls a full 20 amp receptacle circuit and gives you peace of mind when controlled receptacles are required.

https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/detail/441248/nLight/nPP20-PL/Plug-Load-Control-Power-Pack

CA Title 24 2016 Quick Reference: Local Manual Control

Where do you put light switches for spaces that are open to the public like corridors, retail spaces, lobbies, restrooms, arenas, etc? These can be locked devices, placed within view of the lighting, or controls capable of annunciating the space that is being controlled. You can use a nPOD KEY, a keyed digital dimming switch, a nPODM decora digital dimming switch, or best of all, a nPOD GFX a 16 channel single gang touchscreen dimming controller with custom digital labeling. Read on for the specific requirements and solutions by area.

With the enforcement of 2016 T24 code, there have been a lot of inquiries surrounding the changes to local manual control requirements. Per 130.1(a), it is a requirement to provide manual control that is readily accessible and located within the same room or area. The exceptions provided allow for: areas to have lighting control that is within view of the lighting (or illuminated area) or controls that annunciate the area being illuminated; and to have the manual control not accessible to unauthorized personnel.

The areas that allow for controls to be within view or annunciated are malls and atria, auditorium areas, retail merchandise sales areas, wholesale showroom areas, commercial and industrial storage areas, general commercial and industrial work areas, convention centers, and arenas. The areas that allow for controls that are not accessible to unauthorized personnel are public restrooms with two or more stalls, parking areas, stairwells, and corridors. What does having controls not accessible to unauthorized personnel entail? The CEC accepts using a standard switch within a locked enclosure, a keyed switch, a switch located within an inaccessible area with a view of the lighting or illuminated area or using a switch with the controlled area being annunciated.

Per 130.1(a)4, General lighting shall be separately controlled from other lighting systems in the area so additional switches/controls are needed if providing additional types of lighting.

Note, the requirement for dimmable fixtures to be controlled by a dimming switch that can control the fixture through all of the required steps of Table 130.1-A has moved from the Area Control requirements section to section 130.1(b)3.

T24 Compliant Control Typicals:

SDLA:  https://www.sandiegolighting.com/controls-typicals/

T24 Compliant Control Systems:

nLight:   https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/controls/nlight

nLight AIR:  https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/controls/nlightair

Fresco:  https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/controls/fresco

LC&D – Blue Box:  https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/controls/blue-box

XPoint Wireless:  https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/controls/xpoint-wireless

EchoFlex: http://www.echoflexsolutions.com/

Designer Lighting Luncheon: Eureka Lighting Takes the Stage

Is there really a better way to spend your lunch hour then discussing the latest “hot topics” in lighting? We don’t think so. Specifiers, designers, engineers and architects in the lighting industry, joined us for the third installment of our designer luncheon series on May 24th at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station. Stone brewing was a great location to host over 40 attendees, who engaged with a presentation and networking opportunities after enjoying a delicious lunch of steak, potatoes and organic greens, served buffet style.

We were lucky to have Eureka Lighting’s very own Director of Sales, Scott Spence and California District Sales Manager, Robert Ayala host the event, alongside our spec team. The duo gave the attendees insight into the many award-winning Eureka products and their vast capabilities. We were particularly impressed with the Matrix, an innovation in acoustic lighting, and the Flynn. Both of which won 2017 Product Innovation  Awards. Attendees had the opportunity to not only hear from the Eureka experts but witness the power of these products themselves, as we had multiple on display.

We love being able to provide the San Diego area with the latest in lighting innovation and networking opportunities. Rather than sitting in the drive-thru line on your lunch hour join us for our next designer luncheon, tentatively scheduled with Armstrong ceilings and JLC Tech t-bar lighting solutions! We have another show-stopping location in the works for you but keep checking in on our InstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn pages for more details as they become available!

Our events are always sure to fill up quickly so reserve your spot today. Anyone who specifies lighting in the San Diego/Imperial County areas is welcome to join us and can simply RSVP by emailing Amanda Ivko at amandai@sdltg.com!

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: LFI 2018 Recap

LFI 2018It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and no, we’re not queuing the Christmas music. We’re talking about another exciting week at Light Fair International, which was hosted in the Windy City this year, Chicago, Illinois. The venue was incredible with plenty of space for manufacturers and vendors to show off their latest lighting and lighting control innovations. After attending this popular industry tradeshow for 10+ years, I can confidently say the booths this year were the best to date. Speaking of which, one of my favorite eye-catching displays was the all-new, dynamic color changing Rubik from Acuity Brands’ Mark Architectural Lighting.

IoT, The Internet of Things, was yet again a hot topic at LFI. Many of the manufacturers who were using the buzzword seemed to have different and varying capabilities with this innovation. It’s exciting to see so many follow in the footsteps of Acuity Brands, who we know was a pioneer in the IoT revolution.

I was pleasantly surprised that track lighting is back and it’s better than ever! Manufacturers, like XAL Move-It and Bruck Lighting Smart Track had sleek track systems on display, and PureEdge was showing off their incorporated Trueline look to create a mud-in track system.  I personally believe the versatility of track lighting, the sleek, minimalistic design, European inspiration are the large drivers for why this lighting solution is making a comeback!

Could you imagine a world where lights act as a means for disinfection? I saw this idea come to life at the Visa Lighting booth. In partnership with Vital Vio, Visa introduced their “Disinfecting Luminaires”. The LED technology protects environments from harmful bacteria by emitting a white light that is safe for both humans and animals.  Looking forward to sharing the technology with anyone and everyone in San Diego who is responsible for healthcare design!  Make sure you click on the Visa Lighting Link above for more information!

Another big play in the new products category was Horticultural Lighting.  Manufacturers like SpecGrade LED, Beghelli, and Sonaray all had new products on display. Horticultural lighting, although it has been around for a while, I feel is being taken to a whole new level with technological advancements through color, wavelength, product design, and placement.  And if you think everything you have learned about lighting for humans applies to horticultural lighting, I am quickly learning that is not true!  The terminology and science that is specific to growing plants is a whole new ballgame. The manufacturers I mentioned above have great resources to help us all learn the ins and outs of effective horticultural lighting!

Congratulations are in order for many of our manufacturers who brought their A game to LFI 2018. Alphabet Lighting won top honor with their “Most Innovative Product of the Year” award for its NU Vector Series!  Other winners were Mark Lighting Chisel, Juno FlexConnect and the SensorSwitch VLP App, who were all recognized as “best of” in their respective categories.  FlexConnect also won a “Design Excellence” award.  One of the coolest products I saw at the show was the digital tension system from TLS international. See the product in action here.

Finally, LFI has always been a great place to learn from some of the best in the industry.  Having my NCQLP LC Certification, I need continuing education credits to maintain the certification and to keep up with the fast-paced and innovative lighting landscape!  I was able to take a few classes to satisfy some continuing education credit needs, but more importantly, learn more about topics that are some of the most talked about in the industry today. We strive to be subject matter experts at SDLA so we can share the information we learn with our San Diego lighting colleagues!  Understanding continuing education is important for many, we offer classes at least once a month on a variety of topics through our SDLA Academy curriculum. A quick reminder that SDLA is also an AIA approved CEU provider so we are able to deliver AIA/HSW CEU presentations on-demand when the need for credits arise!

Back to School with NECA

NECA As an Associate Member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), SDLA was cordially invited to participate in the California Title 24 training course on April 20th, hosted at the NECA San Diego office. These training courses exist as a valuable resource for union electrical contractors of IBEW Local 569. NECA training courses help electrical contractors take their career to the next stage with tailored courses in traditional and new technologies. We enjoyed participating in the event where NECA San Diego hosted a great presentation with breakfast and an afternoon BBQ.

Martin Dodd from Energy Soft was the keynote speaker, while Joshua Desoto of NECA hosted the event. Martin provided an extensive overview of how Title 24 is approached and applied in the industry. Martin not only reviewed the requirements contractors need to be aware of but went into detail on how to decipher and implement the variety of Title 24 forms. This four-hour training course was highly interactive throughout, with Martin calling on us to speak to our wealth of knowledge of different Title 24 requirements and solutions. Chris Bale (SDLA Contractor Salesman) and I were heavily involved in giving code and project insight based on our controls department’s vast experiences. Attendees were kept engaged as well by being asked to share their questions, different experiences and advice when dealing with Title 24 code requirements. After the conclusion of the presentation, Chris and I were available to give attendees project specific solutions and advice.

NECAOur controls team was excited to be invited because of our expertise in Title 24 requirements and compliances in the San Diego area and we enjoyed the opportunity to support NECA, Martin, and those in attendance with specific lighting and lighting controls questions. NECA training emphasizes the importance of continuing education and it’s an organization we are proud to support. We look forward to supporting NECA San Diego and our electrical community with future trainings and projects.

If you have any questions regarding Title 24, or any project specific solutions you can implement to meet compliance requirements, email me at jeretc@sdltg.com!

Meet The Team: Chris Bale

Chris BaleChris Bale doesn’t mind being reminded that he’s the “old guy” in the office because he loves the chance to be a mentor in the industry. Chris is a born and raised San Diegoian, and when he’s not out in the field as a contractor/distributor sales lead, he’s taking life one wave at a time on his paddleboard. Chris also loves to spend time with his daughter, who is a freshman in college right here in San Diego. Are you ready for a far-out meet the team with one of San Diego’s favorite soul surfers?

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

CB: Initially I didn’t think I’d end up following in my father’s footsteps but as fate had it, I was an electrical distributor for 30 years. I was born into that field and was lucky to find a job in that industry. Two years ago, I decided it was time for a change and SDLA was always my first choice to work with when I was on the electrical distributor side, so it made perfect sense to come work for them as a lighting contractor/distributor sales lead. I’ve known the owners for over 40 years and knowing they take customer service seriously, it was easy to take that leap of faith to leave the electrical industry for the lighting industry.

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

CB: I love having the opportunity to give back to the industry. I have no problem being known as the “old guy” in the office because I love mentoring some of the up-and-comers. Things are always changing in this field and I have the best of both worlds because I can help a new professional navigate the industry while also getting to hear their fresh perspective.

Q: What does a work day look like for you?

 CB: Customer service is at the core of my job, so my day is dictated by what the customer needs at that time. Some days I’m in the office preparing a quote or proposal for a client and then the next, I’m out in the field connecting with contractors and distributors. It’s such a great balance; I have the chance to immerse myself in the field with new experience but always have a place to call home here, back at the office. In the past as an electrical distributor, it was difficult to feel as part of the staff because I was always on the road, but in this position, I’ve always felt as a member of the team.

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

CB: Everyone here gets along fantastically; we are all focused on servicing the customer, which centers us all on one common goal. I can definitely echo the idea that we are one big family. Coming to work is like going to a family get-together, your weird Uncle Gary is here, and we definitely have dysfunctional fun.

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!