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Electricity powers countless devices that make the built environment comfortable, safe, productive, useful, and entertaining. Electricity generation is also a major contributor to environmental problems: mountaintop removal for coal mining, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, radioactive waste from nuclear plants, and disrupted river systems from hydroelectric dams are a few examples.

In this division GreenSpec primarily lists products that make electricity use more efficient along with electrical equipment made with less toxic components, and renewable generation technologies such as wind and solar.

Lighting

Lighting is a major user of electricity. It also generates heat, contributing to cooling loads that are generally met by using more electricity for air conditioning. Thus, improving the energy efficiency of lighting has benefits that go beyond the direct electricity savings by the lighting products.

Fluorescent lamps are three to four times more efficient than incandescent lamps. Both straight-tube fluorescent and compact-fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are widely available. In general, thinner-diameter fluorescent lamps offer higher efficacy (lumens per watt) than larger-diameter lamps.

The highly focusable nature of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) enables significant energy savings in certain applications. Unlike fluorescent, metal halide, sodium, and other high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, LEDs do not contain mercury. However, they remain expensive and the technology is still rapidly evolving.

Advancements in fluorescent lighting and ballast technologies have delivered high efficacy lighting solutions for industrial and commercial applications.
Exterior lighting should use high efficacy lamps while also protecting against light pollution. CFLs and LEDs are gaining ground in this category as well.

Metering and Controls

Electricity metering and submetering systems measure and analyze power usage from whole buildings, down to individual outlets. Some of these products include wireless reporting systems and software packages to help facilities managers assess usage across individual or multiple buildings.

Lighting control devices help optimize the energy efficiency of lighting systems. Lighting control systems can be as basic as a bathroom light occupancy sensor or as complex as a whole-building, computer-controlled energy management system that handles lighting, HVAC equipment, and sometimes other functions, such as security.

Backup Power and Non-Renewable Onsite Generation

Backup power is important for commercial and industrial applications, and can mean life and death in healthcare applications. Generation and storage are the main components of a backup power system.

The storage capacity of uninterruptible power supply systems (UPSs) protects against voltage irregularities and short power interruptions, and also allows time for generators to come online during an outage. Flywheel based UPSs achieve similar performance as lead-acid batteries, without toxicity concerns and maintenance requirements.

Backup power generation is usually achieved with diesel or gas generators, which consume fossil fuel and pollute. Fuel-cells can deliver high performance with much less environmental impact.

Systems that make use of waste heat while generating electricity, often called combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration systems, have very high overall efficiency. 

Renewables

Choose a photovoltaic (PV) system to fit your energy needs, budget, and the space you have for installing the modules.

Crystalline modules are proven, efficient, and reliable, and produce the most power per square foot, especially during peak hours.

Thin-film works well in low-light conditions and in high temperatures so over the course of a year can create more power than crystalline PV per rated capacity, but because the output is lower for the same area, you’ll need a lot more room on the rooftop to provide the same generation capacity.

Wire and Wire Insulation

The plastic insulation and jacketing on electric and data wire and cable are commonly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and fluoropolymers and contain lead, plasticizers, flame retardants, and other hazards. Toxic compounds may be released in the event of fire or as the wire jacketing deteriorates over time.

Wires and cables are available with nonhalogenated insulation and jacketing and with no heavy metals. Use of metal conduit, while likely to be more expensive, can provide fire protection without the use of hazardous compounds, and also simplifies remodeling.

Plug-and-play modular wiring systems can save installation time and are designed for easy re-use and reconfiguration. This provides additional benefits in the form of resource and cost savings, easier retrofits, and preventing the build-up of abandoned cabling in walls--a common fire-hazard.

Only virgin copper is used to make wiring, because impurities can reduce the power-carrying capacity of the wire. While the high value of copper encourages recycling, recycling in many parts of the world involves burning off the insulation which releases dioxins and other toxic compounds.

Electricity powers countless devices that make the built environment comfortable, safe, productive, useful, and entertaining. Electricity generation is also a major contributor to environmental problems: mountaintop removal for coal mining, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, radioactive waste from nuclear plants, and disrupted river systems from hydroelectric dams are a few examples.

  • Landscape Forms Leo Area and Street Lighting
  • Landscape Forms Leo Area and Street Lighting
  • Landscape Forms, Inc.
  • Landscape Forms Leo Area and Street Lighting
    Landscape Forms, Inc.
    Landscape Forms offers a variety of area and street lighting, including the Energy Star-qualified LEO luminaire. Recognized by the DOE’s Next Generation Luminaires committee, this luminaire provides more than 2854 lumens, has a 3500K color temperature, 80 CRI, good glare control, and exceeds IES lighting standards for walkways. According to the company, it also meets IES “Special Conditions” criteria, providing lighting that helps improve safety through detection of movement and facial recognition. It is available in 22" and 28" diameters and comes with a six-year warranty.
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  • Cooper Roadway Lighting
  • Cooper Roadway Lighting
  • Cooper Lighting
  • Cooper Roadway Lighting
    Cooper Lighting
    Cooper makes a wide range of roadway, area, and other outdoor LED lighting. The company’s Navion LED Roadway Luminaire was recognized by the DOE’s Next Generation Luminaires committee for its performance and versatility. It is available in multiple configurations that can provide from 3,600 to 22,000 lumens. Standard color temperatures and CRI are 4000K at 70 CRI, but 3000K/80 CRI and 6000K/70 CRI packages are also available, though GreenSpec does not recommend 6000K units due to potential disruption of circadian rhythms in humans and wildlife. These units can be selected for specific BUG ratings and are available with photocontrols and sensors.
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  • eMonitor Energy Management Systems
  • eMonitor Energy Management Systems
  • PowerWise Systems
  • eMonitor Energy Management Systems
    PowerWise Systems
    PowerWise Systems offers the eMonitor4, an energy monitor for residences and businesses, and the eMonitor c-series for 3-phase circuits and higher commercial voltages. These systems monitor the energy use of individual circuits every second while offering remote cooling, heating, and lighting control. They can also be configured to track contributions from solar PV panels. The eMonitor4 can be sized to monitor up to 44 circuits including mains, while the eMonitor c-series can monitor up to 45 circuits plus 3 mains and provides more business-centered analytics, like reports for off-hours and equipment alerts.
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  • Biomacht Cogeneration Systems
  • Biomacht Cogeneration Systems
  • BioMacht
  • Biomacht Cogeneration Systems
    BioMacht
    Biomacht provides medium-size (50 kW–2MW) generators fueled by waste heat from biogas, diesel, or other types of engines often used for combined heat and power at the district scale. Importing technology developed by Biomacht’s European partner, GMK, the modular systems offer a plug-and-play design. By using a proprietary organic compound as a heat-exchange medium (in a process known as the organic Rankine cycle, or ORC) rather than generating steam to turn turbines, the Biomacht systems can make use of relatively low-temperature energy that would normally be ejected. The system can also provide combined heat and power from geothermal sources or from industrial or even electrical waste heat (e.g., from a data center). ORC systems have been in use throughout Europe for many years in combination with biomass systems. Biomacht has brought GMK’s technology to North America and is distributing in Canada and the U.S.
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  • Sunny Boy Inverters
  • Sunny Boy Inverters
  • SMA America, LLC
  • Sunny Boy Inverters
    SMA America, LLC
    SMA America offers several Sunny Boy inverters designed for residential-scale photovoltaic applications. The company offers 700-, 4,000-, and 8,000-watt inverters with low frequency transformers, as well as a 3,000-watt inverter with a high frequency transformer. Transformerless designs accompany 5,000- and 11,000-watt inverters. A module-level, 240-watt micro inverter, applicable in shaded situations, eliminates the need for a trunk cable. These German-made inverters carry a 10-year warranty. SMA America also offers PV control and monitoring equipment.
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  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
  • UniRac, Inc.
  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
    UniRac, Inc.
    UniRac produces systems for mounting PV modules. SolarMount is a system of components for flat and tilted roofs. SolarMount-I has an enhanced I-beam design and is cost effective at 10 cents per watt, according to the company. SolarMount-E is geared to distributors and installers with universal design and fewer stocking parts. RapidRac is a residential flat roof mount that has only seven components. SunFrame offers building integration, a low-profile, and a choice of finishes. U-LA is for arrays of 3-kW or more. UniRac typically uses 20%–25% post-consumer recycled aluminum and 75% post-consumer recycled steel. Most shipping materials are salvaged or have recycled-content.
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  • TCP A19 LED Replacment Lamps
  • TCP A19 LED Replacment Lamps
  • Technical Consumer Products, Inc.
  • TCP A19 LED Replacment Lamps
    Technical Consumer Products, Inc.
    Technical Consumer Products’ 8- and 11-watt omnidirectional A19 LED replacement lamps have the equivalent light output of 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs, respectively. Operating at over 72 lumens per watt for some products they are available in color temperatures from 2700K to 5000K with a color rendering index (CRI) of 82. These dimmable lamps are rated for a 25,000 hour rated life and come with a three-year warranty.
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  • iTek IT-240 Solar Module
  • iTek IT-240 Solar Module
  • iTek Energy
  • iTek IT-240 Solar Module
    iTek Energy
    iTek manufactures monocrystalline photovoltaic panels in Bellingham, Washington. The company’s 240-watt panels operate at 18% efficiency and the company claims its use of clear, low-iron glass and components were engineered for use in areas with low light levels and increased snow and wind loads, such as the Pacific Northwest.
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  • PrevaLED LED Modules and Light Engines
  • PrevaLED LED Modules and Light Engines
  • Osram Sylvania
  • PrevaLED LED Modules and Light Engines
    Osram Sylvania
    The PrevaLED line of modular LED light engines and modules are engineered for spotlights, downlights, and other applications. They offer CRI values over 80 and are available with outputs of 1,100, 2,000, and 3,000 lumens in color temperatures from 2700K to 4000K. The Cube Downlight modules and Core Spot light engines have efficacies as high as 106 and 116 lumens per watt, respectively. The PrevaLED HD (high definition) light engine is for use in high-quality lighting applications and comes with a control system that helps it achieve consistent CRI values over 90 (within a 3-step MacAdam ellipse) while still providing efficacies as high as 73 lpw.
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  • Soraa Vivid Galium Nitride LEDs
  • Soraa Vivid Galium Nitride LEDs
  • Soraa
  • Soraa Vivid Galium Nitride LEDs
    Soraa
    Soraa Vivid MR-16 LED luminaires are ideal for use where light quality is critical, such as art galleries or retail displays. Unlike other LEDs that use gallium nitride (GaN) crystals grown on a sapphire or silicon carbide base, Soraa uses GaN grown on a GaN base so the crystals have far fewer imperfections. Though less efficacious than some LEDs, Soraa MR-16s produce higher intensity, “full spectrum” light that rivals halogen bulbs, while operating at lower temperatures. They are available in 14-, 25-, and 36-degree beam angles.
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  • Incenergy Wireless Energy Controls
  • Incenergy Wireless Energy Controls
  • Incenergy
  • Incenergy Wireless Energy Controls
    Incenergy
    Incnergy offers wireless energy management systems primarily for retrofit applications in commercial buildings. The Incnergy Energy Management System monitors and controls HVAC, lighting, and electricity consumption using wirelessly smart thermostats, lighting controls, and other sensors. These devices do not require wiring or building renovation and can be accessed through Internet-connected devices. The software for this system is “cloud based” and requires a subscription service.
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  • Build-Lux Job Site LED
  • Build-Lux Job Site LED
  • Build-Lux, Inc.
  • Build-Lux Job Site LED
    Build-Lux, Inc.
    Build-Lux makes theft-resistant LED lamps designed with a durable casing designed to handle the rigors of construction-site use. Designed as temporary lighting in string-light applications, they have a minimum output of 1200 lumens, a daylight/cold 5000K–6500K color temperature, and a CRI of 70. These 4" lamps are rated for indoor use only and are available with E26 and E27 bases, but custom bases are also available. The reverse-threaded lamps won't function outside the job site, deterring theft.
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  • Logix Integrated Ceiling Panels
  • Logix Integrated Ceiling Panels
  • USG Corporation
  • Logix Integrated Ceiling Panels
    USG Corporation
    Logix Integrated Ceiling System uses USG’s acoustic ceiling tiles and is designed to incorporate GE Lighting’s Lumination LED Linear Recessed Luminaires; luminaires from a-light, amerlux, and Zumtobel; air diffusers from Carnes; and sprinkler systems from SprinkFLEX. Used in offices, retail, and other commercial settings, the Logix system fits 4"- or 6"-wide by 4'- or 5'-long LED fixtures and can look like a single narrow light spanning the expanse of a room, providing design options beyond standard recessed troffers.
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  • SafePlug Energy Manager
  • SafePlug Energy Manager
  • 2D2C, Inc.
  • SafePlug Energy Manager
    2D2C, Inc.
    SafePlug electrical outlets can monitor and control appliances, protect occupants (particularly children) against shock, and monitor plugs against surges or discrepancies in the electrical flow that could lead to fires or damage to electrical equipment. The company’s Energy Manager system comes with an “Energy Server” and “Energy Manager Outlets.” The system can turn off appliances when not in use, turn on lights from smart phones and mobile devices, and can limit power use of appliances to specific times of day. SafePlug's system recognizes the appliance using RightPlug technology and can monitor its use, even if it is moved to a different outlet. The outlet and server do not require an Internet connection for communication, but the server can be connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi for remote monitoring.
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  • ATA-Solar Standing Seam Photovoltaic Roofing
  • ATA-Solar Standing Seam Photovoltaic Roofing
  • ATAS International, Inc.
  • ATA-Solar Standing Seam Photovoltaic Roofing
    ATAS International, Inc.
    ATA-Solar combines ATAS standing seam metal roofing with amorphous silica (a-Si) thin-film PV laminates into a complete BIPV roofing system. The a-Si laminates are adhered to the panels in a factory-controlled environment and blend into the metal roofing so they are less noticeable than rack-mounted crystalline PV systems. There are no roof penetrations required with this system. ATA-Solar BIPV systems can be sized from 1.5 to 150 kW. Note that the efficiency of a-Si laminates is significantly lower than crystalline PV, though a-Si works well at lower light angles and higher temperatures, which offsets some of the performance differences.
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