Friday, January 31, 2014

Disposing 1500 Gallons, 1000 Pounds Of Vermiculite

A story is told in pictures, here .

Stage the collection in a garage over several days. Carry with permission to a Transfer Station.

Debris filled a 14-ft U-Haul van. This is a clean process. The van was promptly wet-mopped upon return.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Slow Progress In Solar-Powered Attic Ventilation

I missed the boat with a customer having only gable vents, no possibility of opening up soffits.

Observations were reported here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Residence Attic Ventilation Review 

I had pleaded with the roofer who would have opportunity in Summer 2013, to try something new. Please don't cut in roof high static vents, where there were none to start. High vents and gable vents clash unpredictably, with little net air circulation. I would come in after the reroof, and install a solar-powered attic fan at roof center. That fan, on hot Summer days, would draw cooling air through both gables. I got no call. Driving by last Fall, I found the usual static vents, over the peak on North side of roof.

No roof high vents, still, visible from the street.

I blame the missed opportunity of experiment, and still-hot attic for this customer, on slow progress in inspiring a manufacturer to offer a suitable fan. I had bought a  Solaro Aire  , with built-in PV array, for this job.

I brought the fan back to the factory and discussed concerns and wishes for something better. This fan has a 12.5" bore, and should require not more than a 12.5" roof hole. I was troubled by wasted metal spinning of rounded shape in the base, not a factor in aerodynamics, and then of not having means of adding a bellmouth draw pipe under the fan in the attic. Troubled that fixes I might devise should be offered by the manufacturer.

I am appalled by the installation procedure for the Solaro fan, as presented in this video . A 19" hole is commanded through shingles and sheathing. Nails are in the way of lifting shingles for the fan tuck of course. Just hack them off by swinging a reciprocating saw over sheathing, under all shingle layers. Rely on poor blind application of caulk, smeared-off in sliding, to stop wind-driven rain up the roof. Hope the reciprocating saw didn't develop leaks through tears. I would NEVER follow those instructions.

My wishes of better and of ever-constant learning, are driven by progress installing a Costco US Sunlight attic fan, as reported in this photo album:

I am unimpressed with aerodynamics of the US Sunlight fan, but accepted it. The customer made the choice for his convenience and cost savings. I insist upon sealing an adapter plate into the roof for any fan penetration, 4" bath fan, 8" static vent, 14" fan here, whatever. The fan body is only a rain cover, minimizing concern about blind tucking. Shingles are cut in a circle only slightly larger than the sheathing cut, and there is a maximum of shingle overlap upon the real seal of the adapter plate. High-quality caulk can be applied copiously with full visibility, and yet there is minimum reliance on caulk. I wish never to rely on caulk, at all.

Here are graphics conveying my wishes of better, to Solaro, and to all manufacturers.

The simple adapter plate is set atop roof membrane, sealed at top to the roof membrane. All involved lower shingle courses rest on the adapter plate.

Fan electronics are serviceable/ swappable, without impact on roof sealing. A bug-blocking screen will get fouled, and may be serviced from the roof as needed. Good fan aerodynamics include smooth draw through a bellmouth. If fan blades of larger diameter than the roof cut are better, let the fan reside below the flare or bellmouth. Let us get over treatment of attics as inaccessible trash pits as treated by the Solaro crew.

Here is my only Costco solar fan installation, over an accessible attic. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review Lithonia 7" LED Versi Lite FMML 7 840 M6. AC-Powered LED, No Converter Block!

Who else missed this announcement of June 28, 2013?

Acuity Brands Introduces New LED Flush Mount Luminaire From Lithonia Lighting  

Flush Mount? I suggest this should be called a surface-mount fixture. It is installed fully proud of a ceiling junction box. It is a plate LED luminaire, where beam angle is large, greater than 130°. Might "flush mount" describe a light whose body must penetrate the junction box to set the lens closer to the ceiling? A terminology debate is important. I found this displayed and shelved with surface-mount fluorescent fixtures, while so-similar lights that may retrofit a can light are in that row of cut-in disasters. Let all LED plate lights be called down lights or surface-mount. Never called "recessed." Not stocked with stupid can lights. Not displayed as can light retrofits. This will help to teach shoppers to not buy can lights. Let all manufacturers of LED Plate Lights learn to avoid structure that must penetrate a junction box, adding to volume needs and voiding the label "surface mount."

This light, at 4000°K only, is sold at and in my nearby Home Depot store. I bought this for examination, but will recommend that with 3000°K phosphors. Three offerings are:

The three manufacturer offerings of the Lithonia light are summarized in Lighting Facts labels, here copied from the second page of the Specification sheet, listed at this web page: 

The 4000°K product is sold in-store at Home Depot. I have purchased this product only for evaluation. I dislike the blue color, though a bit brighter, as unnatural indoors. It alters the color of walls and furnishings. 3000°K lights at the same price are offered online , with free shipping to my home if I buy two, and those, I will happily keep and will offer to customers. They will be needed where a customer with an over-full shallow junction box will not permit its replacement with a deep junction box. Anyone can install this light, even onto crummy wires, and stop baking those wires.

The packaging is compact and beautifully recyclable.

In comparison photos that follow, the VersLite is from a box with labeling of Model No. FMML 7 840, 740 lumens, 10 watts. Newer packaging states Model No. FMML 7 840 M6, 660 lumens, 9.4 watts.

Contents are identical. Accept the lower lumens and wattage numbers, which agree with the Lighting Facts labels above.

In the box, only the luminaire and connecting hardware. No waste.

Further study the packaging in comparison to that of a Lighting Science 4" Glimpse.

Compare 4000°K versions of the Lithonia Versi Lite, 9.4 watts, 660 lumens, and a 4” Glimpse, 9.5 watts, 475 lumens. Note poorer Glimpse packaging, bigger for a smaller light.

Compare luminaire beauty and size.

Both are recommended for hallways and corridors, utility closets, and bathrooms. The brighter Lithonia will also serve work areas. I think the Lithonia is too bright for many of the claimed applications; the 4” Glimpse is just right. 

Look under the lenses.

Both key onto junction box cover screws, with removal of a simple lens.

By lumens ratio, the FMML 7 840 is brighter than a 4" Glimpse, by 39%. If 4" Glimpse is Brightness Number B4, then FMML 7 840 is B5.6.

I find equal illumination from a 450 lumens, 3000°K, 4” Glimpse, and a 100 watt incandescent point-source light bulb. Assign both a Brightness Number of four, B4. Here compare brightness from 4000°K sources, still calling the 4” Glimpse, B4. The Lithonia FMML 7 840 M6 is then brightness 4*660/475 = B5.6, 39% brighter. The FMML 7 840 M6 equates to a 140 watt incandescent, not to the package-claimed 60 watts. The package claim may be nearer true if the incandescent is a well-reflected downlight, but the buyer will see comparison to a simple bulb in the surface mount holder that is being replaced, and will be misled. He may want to buy a dimmer, too.

See unnatural color of this light-tan wall with 4000°K illumination.

Vs. a 100 watt incandescent bulb, the FMML 7 840 M6 should still be brighter by 39%. The photo comparison is indeterminate.

The FMML 7 840 diodes are beautiful, at fully dimmed, and they are still quite bright, not an ideal night light.  The Cooper DAL06P dimming here has the black wheel nudged up a wee bit, else there is low-amplitude rapid flickering.

A 100 watt bulb at the same fully dimmed position is rather ugly, and dark.

The FMML7 840 at full bright, is dazzling. Everything surrounding the 3" outer diameter of the hexagonal circuit board is heat sink and packaging.

How has Lithonia made the circuits so simple? This has no hum on a dimmer. No delay in startup.

I wish for a 4" version, 3000°K, with at least 50% less metal.

This weighs 501 grams including 51 gram acrylic lens. Compare to 340 grams for a 4" Glimpse, where the AC adapter block, converting to DC, might be half the weight.

Here is a close-up of the LED array:

I see similarity to Seoul Semiconductor Chip On Board . (This is not a Seoul Semiconductor board.) 

AC powered LEDs ! This has seemed extreme, chopping up the AC waves. But, it works as my eyes can see it, with pretty-good efficacy (>70 lumens per watt). Worry about stroboscopic effects, unhappiness in slowed-down/ stop motion video. This Lithonia light is rated for total harmonic distortion , something new with LEDs, not explained where stated as :

Low THD of less than 20. 

How good is this? How hard have they worked to give a good number. This isn't mentioned. We have lived with similar harmonic distortion in fluorescent lighting , controlled in the ballast design. 32% is a poor number. 20% is good, and common. 5% is expensive.

Addition 2/24/2014:
A new post will present observations and installation details, where two 3000°K Versi Lites are installed in place of 60 watt bare bulbs in a garage. Brightness is increased times 2.4.
Content exists now at Picasa Web Albums: 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Progress In Residential Weatherization?

The 2000 Census reported 911,595 detached single family residences in Oregon. In how many of these, do you think $500 of smart weatherization would be repaid by savings in less than five years? In my experience, it would be at least half. Call it 400,000 homes. Investments of $1000 or $2000 might likewise find five year payback in nearly as many homes. This is the really low hanging fruit, little picked, left to rot in energy waste of ruin to us all. Weatherization measures with payback in under sixteen years, 6% rate of return, surpass most savings-income opportunities and, too are targeted in weatherization programs. Homes in Oregon needing such work may approach 90% of the pool, say 750,000 homes.

How are we doing in accomplishing this work? Here are numbers reported by my weatherization sponsor, Energy Trust Of Oregon, ETO. 

At 1/18/2015, belatedly note great error in this table. 
The correction was mentioned in a subsequent post of 3/19/2014,
Counts are of measures completed, not number of homes served! The note continues at end of this post.

The table is drawn from my PDF summary with cited references, Reports Residential Weatherization Oregon . It includes only jobs submitted for offered rebates, and only those homes heated by Metro Portland gas and electric utilities. It includes a random scatter of measure rates of return. Statewide and including homes which have oil or wood heat, say totals are times two.The sum of treatments over four years is then 77,000 homes. At this pace we would catch up on lowest-fruit weatherization in another twenty years, if not distracted by harder picking. We need to double the pace of weatherization just to return to that proven achievable after the sky fell in 2008. At present pace times fifty, we could catch up on lowest-fruit weatherization in two years. We could have some remarkable achievements in five years, just as evil fracked fuel must disappear. If we can raise the commitment, this can be done. It must be done. How do we raise the commitment? Come to our senses and ban fracking, now.

At 1/18/2015, belatedly address error in the above table, reported in the 3/19/2014 post:

I had thought the pitiful achievement was of houses weatherized. In fact, numbers are annual totals for all measures completed. The number of houses treated in any year, is about one fourth of the table number, currently about 2000 homes per year. The biggest measure count is in replacement windows. With windows, on average there is probably one more measure for a house in that year. The same houses of diligence might pepper the list over several years where budgeted from available cash.

Know that the pitiful numbers do not appear in glowing annual self-reports by Energy Trust, to Oregon Public Utilities Commission. Look at any report. Here is a link to the report for 2012 . A PDF search of "homes served" finds no instances. There are no such numbers. This is conscious and ugly deception. 

Absent productive residential weatherization, there can be no happiness with the $180 million per year taken by Energy Trust, from the Public Purpose Fund. If only $5 million per year is credited to fruitful management of existing home weatherization, that is $25,000 per home. This is shameful. That it is known and tolerated by regulators, is yet more shameful. What might we say about the other $175 million?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review Cooper Lighting HALO LED Universal Surface Mount Lights

At June 27, 2016, note two-weeks-ago discovery this light has been improved in the elimination of on-dimmer  buzzing. I can't know when. All of the LED disk lights I look for at Home Depot are improved in this: Cooper SLD4 and SLD6, and Commercial Electric T47 and T67. Findings without judgement are in a Picasa web album, Improved LED Downlights at Home Depot . I need to add judgement of remaining negative issues, and will say more here when I sort it out.  I struggle with the clumsy stack-upon nature of blogs, and struggle in unappreciated or not wanted "relationships" with manufacturers. I think there a public interest to be served, and will persist in this.

Please see lightening of the negativity in this review, in this subsequent blog post:

Please read on knowing I am unhappy with this light, for inefficient use of state-of-the-art >100 lumens per watt LEDs, netting only 52 lumens per watt. These lights also buzz on dimmers, just like T67 and T47. How could that be allowed? 

New LED disk light products were brought to my attention by a commenter at post Review, Sylvania 70732 LED Disk Light . Here is the commenter conversation, shared this way so I can edit my response and activate links.

Blogger Martin said...
Nice blog post. Now, if Sylvania would only include a gasket like Cooper Lighting's HALO SLD6 ... Maybe add some open-cell weather stripping?
January 15, 2014 at 6:08 PM
Blogger Phil Norman said...
Thanks, Martin,

I had not known of the Cooper SLD4 and SLD6 lights. They are not marketed to consumers, but seem to have been around for several years, where they are only 52 lumens/watt technology. In Portland, Oregon, I find one commercial lighting representative, and I will call on them. I see no gasket, and would not need such feature, where I seal the junction box or can annulus with my easy flexible grout.
The 6" and 4" SLD both have nearly the 750 lumens brightness of a 6" Glimpse light. I think I like lesser brightness in a 4" LED downlight.
Where do you buy the Cooper lights?
January 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM
Blogger Martin said...
I get them at the local HomeDepot or here On page 10 of Cooper Lighting's brochure ( ) you can see the black gasket along the rim.
I find this very useful and a neat solution for the regular consumer who's not in the home weatherization business. Two birds with one stone kind of thing, cost-effectively fix some home construction sins of the past.
January 16, 2014 at 7:38 AM

We are directed to availability of a family of directional LED lights that are not simple diodes beaming at us (hopefully not aimed in useless directions).




I responded next morning to the first comment. The Cooper Where To Buy tab for metro Portland, Oregon, directs me to a manufacturer's agent. Dutifully calling that agent, I learned these lights would be shown that day in an electrical supply store counter visit. At that visit, I saw the SLD6 and learned I could buy there at $58 each, shipping from California, never in inventory. If that prevailed, Cooper would have no cost-critical residential sales. This is the blockage that killed sales of Lighting Science Glimpse lights nationally, when Home Depot pulled them in favor of Cree T67 and T47, in Winter 2012. Fortunately, as the next comment informed, we may buy these lights readily at Home Depot stores. They arrived in Portland stores the evening of January 16th, in both 4" and 6" versions, in my preferred 3000°K color temperature. I bought two each, where they arrived in compact cardboard two-packs. Following then, are my observations and insights about these lights. For this write-up, I load a Picasa Web Album .

Study the SLD6 and SLD4 junction box brackets vs three candidate junction boxes, clockwise from upper left: Carlon B520A, Allied Moulded 9351 and RACO 175. There is a confusing array of bracket holes one might think to use for mounting brackets to junction boxes. Red asterisks note useful holes in common with RACO 175. All other holes are redundant. Red arrows note tabs that would stabilize bracket flatness where brackets else bear on the ceiling and boxes are nicely recessed about 0.1" vs. the ceiling. The tabs are useful only with Allied Moulded boxes.

Wanting to know what's inside, I removed three assembly screws and forced the aluminum back pan out from under the foam gasket. Within there are nine bright diodes, three each at spaced points on an acrylic disk periphery. Black and red DC leads become yellow series connectors.

Here I note two issues of unhappiness with the SLD6. The DC wires are outside the bounds of a junction box, somehow exposed. The AC quick-connect is only in the way, with junction box mounting. I wish the quick connector were eliminated, as in Sylvania 70732, Mod 2 .

Note the now-gone foam gasket. It had to be peeled off in shreds, to reassemble the light.

The quick connector and some leadwire length will not be mannerly, as the luminaire is blindly raised against the ceiling. I am doing this installation turned 90°, on my test stand.

Further examination was prompted by realizing that Cooper WaveStream™ technology with light beaming into an acrylic edge may illuminate both sides of the plate. The matte surface of the “dark” side is a white paper liner. Beneath, the hidden face is glossy, unlike the matte bright surface.

Please watch for growing presentation here. Researching parent technology, edge-lit phenomenon, TruEdge™ LED Coupling, licensed to Cooper by Rambus .

Edge-lighting is also used in GE Lighting Lumination™ LED Luminaire. It seems an edge-lit downlight may produce about 70 lumens per watt with an appropriate reflector.  This with >100 lumens per watt diodes that would give more light where simply beaming down.

Big luminaires may make sense in commercial lighting, but starry-sky residential lighting will consist of dispersed dots perhaps 1.5" to 6" diameter. Lights will be wired in low-voltage DC circuits. Each dot will be inserted push-in as in sound jacks, simply plucked to rearrange size distribution or to paint a ceiling. They will be set artistically, beautifully, and as elements of architectural art. Soon they will be OLED. Point-source and tube lighting or even LED troffers as above, will disappear from our homes. We must declare a vision in this. Vision will include knowledge all new fixtures must be forward-compatible with OLED elements.

Continue now to address the Cooper SLD6, light as a 5 inch dot, bigger than an SLD4  3.5 inch same-brightness dot, only to cover the crime of a big can light hacking.

The glossy hidden surface is not much brightened by the nine diodes.

The white paper liner improves appearance, and adds some efficiency. The acrylic is transparent, and the aluminum pan would be visible without the liner.

Here is Cooper information for one offered luminaire, light beaming from both light guide faces, at about 100 lumens per watt.

Divide Surface LED 

Here light at both light guide faces gives 100 lumens per watt.

See more lighting like this beyond minute two in this video:

Wavestream Tour 2013 Video 

I wonder if it is more effective to beam light downward always, than to aim sideways. Isn't this a step backward toward point-lighting?

It is evident to me that Cooper has sacrificed half of the available light, to present a disk light in challenge of the T67 and T47, with little advantage over those panned products. This is going too far in the quest to curve light through an acrylic sheet, as means of illumination. The nine diodes here could just beam down directly, more efficiently by times-two. 

The SLD lenses are just as bright and eye-jarring as Sylvania 70732. I still believe in Starry Skies illumination as challenged in Google Communities: Residential LED Lighting . There, I would like to amend the About this community statement, adding the insight that organic LEDs are the future. All new luminaires should be forward-compatible with OLED upgrade. The curving through glass deal in a linear luminaire might be compatible, where the two Divide surfaces become OLED. Simplicity of manufacture such that we again assemble products locally, is part of the future, and is achieved here by Cooper. The SLD lights are assembled in the USA!

I had hoped these lights would overcome one current complaint, that Sylvania 70732 lights have noticeable startup delay. I hadn't cared, if I had noticed. Yet, it is there, noticed in a circuit where one 70732 replaced an instant-starting LED spot light. The SLD6 or an SLD4 have no delay in normal full-power startup.

Are there other concerns with SLD4 or SLD6 dimming?

Video is this cluster of all available LED surface-mount disk lights, and an LED spot light set in a can, observing function in a dimmer circuit.

Clockwise from upper left: Cooper SLD6, 4" Glimpse, Sylvania 70732, Cree T67, 6" Glimpse. At right in can, Philips 15° spot. All 3000°K except T67 is 2700°K. All served by a Cooper DAL06P dimmer. Here all are at full power. Photo is a frame of Flip video.

Full power at start. Slide dimmer to 25% preset. Power off fifteen seconds, power on, in the video.

The DAL06P dimmer is a new offering from Cooper.

This replaces CWD 106P on Lowe's shelves , simplifying stock, with three choices of faceplate color in the package. Two adjustment wheels are added to right of the dimming slider. Black is power setting at fully dimmed. White is described this way:

features an adjustable Rapid-Start setting which provides additional power for a brief time period to ensure lamp start-up at low dim settings.

At full up the white wheel causes a current spike in starting that is a bothersome flash. I find the boost doesn't help LEDs to fire, and will leave the setting full down.

The gem in a dimming picture is the 4" Glimpse. It dims nicely to 10%, about a watt, and reliably restarts if turned off, giving really nice night light in a bathroom or hallway. An SLD4 dimmable to 25% will be much bigger and brighter, drawing three watts.

The SLD6 in a dimmer circuit hums at the same sound level as T67. The Glimpse lights buzz at half the noise level of T67 and SLD6. The Sylvania 70732 is silent on a dimmer, but this one does a dimmed start only above 50% power. The Sylvania also has a delayed start always, that isn't noticed here, or in a circuit of only Sylvania 70732. The Philips 15° spot is a dimbulb outside the 15° cone.

The Home Depot/ Cooper SLD6 and SLD4 products will compete against Lowe’s/ Sylvania 70732. Here note equal color temperature, and the greater brightness of Sylvania for nearly-equal wattage.

The Sylvania 70732 is again brighter vs.the 4” Cooper light, as expected.

The Sylvania review commenter was excited about a foam gasket in SLD4 and SLD6 luminaires. I am not. It is thin vs. much heavy ceiling texture.  If you don't want air leakage past a luminaire, seal its junction box, as I do with flexible grout .