Focus on Controls
California leads the nation in efforts to conserve energy, and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Changes to the state’s mandatory Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency standards — changes that will make commercial buildings 30% more efficient than the previous 2008 standards — are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
The updated standards will have a direct impact on retailers whose portfolio includes stores in California. And for those that don’t operate in the Golden State, keep in mind that California is often a bellwether for the rest of the nation.
The new standards introduce requirements for photosensors, occupancy sensors and multi-level lighting controls, both indoors and out. Indeed, according to the California Lighting Technology Center, new requirements for lighting controls account for one of the biggest changes to Title 24 standards.
The latest version of the standards also includes more stringent requirements for the testing and certification of controls commissioning.
Another key change is that more retrofit projects will be required to meet new-construction standards for both lighting power density and controls than under the 2008 code. The only exceptions: buildings with fewer than 40 ballasts being replaced and spaces where less than 10% of the lighting is affected.
Here is a brief overview of some of the key changes in the 2013 code:
CONTROLS: Under the new standards, all interior luminaires must have manual on/off controls, and each area must be independently controlled. Dimmer switches must allow manual on/off functionality, with some exceptions, including public restrooms with two or more stalls.
The 2013 standards also include new requirements for automatic daylighting controls, requiring that floor plans in buildings over 5,000 sq. ft. have 75% of their total area in daylight zones. Controls requirements have become more stringent in the daylighting zones. Multi-level automatic daylighting controls are required in all sky-lit or side-lit zones where the installed general lighting power is greater than or equal to 120W.
The new code also mandates greater use of occupant-sensing lighting controls in offices, conference rooms and the like. Retailers should take note that, for the first time, occupancy sensors and controls will be required in aisles and open areas in warehouses. Controls must automatically reduce lighting power by 50% in these areas when they are unoccupied.
For the first time, lighting in parking garages must be controlled by occupant-sensing controls, with at least one step between 20% and 50% of full power. The garages will be allowed a maximum of 500W per occupancy sensor.
DEMAND RESPONSE: Another key change involves demand response capability. The 2008 code only required DR capability in retail stores with sales floor areas greater than or equal to 50,000 sq. ft.
But the new standards expands this significantly, requiring that all non-residential buildings, starting at 10,000 sq. ft., be capable of automatically responding to a DR signal. The end goal is that, when the utility issues the DR signal, the building must be capable of automatically reducing its lighting energy use to a level that is at least 15% below the building’s maximum total lighting power.
COMMISSIONING: Title 24 now requires that a commissioning report be completed and provided to each building owner. Projects that are issued a building permit on or after Jan. 1, 2014, must undergo acceptance testing for automatic daylighting controls, automatic time switch controls, occupancy sensors, outdoor lighting shut-off controls, outdoor motion sensors and demand response controls.
EXTERIOR LIGHTING: All outdoor luminaires up to 150W will have to comply with the IESNA’s BUG system for assessing and limiting backlight, uplight and glare.
Under the 2008 version of Title 24, photocontrols were required for all outdoor lighting. In addition to photocontrols, the 2013 standards also require automatic scheduling controls. And for all lighting mounted 24 ft. above the ground or lower, motion sensor controls will also be required. The controls must be able to automatically reduce lighting power of each luminaire by at least 40% (but not more than 80%) when the lights are not in use.
In addition, there are new requirements for controls with regard to outdoor sales lighting, facades and outdoor dining areas.
California Energy Commission
California Lighting Technology Center
Includes information about Title 24 plus technology updates and lighting design guides for retail and office spaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Contains answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Building Energy Efficiency standards.
Wawa Takes on Florida with New Prototype
Convenience store operator Wawa is expanding through Florida with a fresh, new prototype whose palette, materials and textures complement the look and feel of the Sunshine state. The use of warm colors and abundant natural light enhance the store’s inviting, upmarket vibe.
The prototype reflects the language and style associated with Floridian architecture. Exterior elements include pastel colors, clapboard siding, pitched roofs and front porches that reference historic south and central Florida building types.
At the same time, travelers from the East and the Mid-Atlantic will recognize the Pennsylvania-based Wawa’s signature Canada Goose logo and “winged” gas canopy.
“While the design is uniquely Floridian, every other visual reference is recognizably Wawa,” said Joseph Bona, retail division president, CBX, which designed the prototype (with the help of Orlando, Fla.-based Cuhaci & Peterson).
The prototype has an open, uncluttered look, made all the more so by high ceilings and streamlined modular fixtures and shelving. The materials, which include natural stone, several types of tile and maple laminates were chosen to add to the store’s warm and welcoming aura, Bona said, and complement the Florida look.
Expansive windows provide a clear view to the interior, where fresh food takes center stage. A red-tiled wall placed front and center highlights a center island kitchen area where fresh rolls are baked off daily. The area serves as a focal point and incorporates a full-service specialty beverage section. Customers can order drinks and sandwiches exactly to their liking using Wawa’s touchscreen system. A series of screens are positioned at the area’s counters.
Adjacent to the counter area are the coffee and fountain beverage departments, which feature a warm taupe tile wall as a backdrop.
“Red drum shades that are used over the coffee area and at the beverage coolers help create a sense of place,” Bona said.
Digital signage calls attention to the food and beverage offerings in a fun way while allowing for better time of day communications of various items.
Based in Wawa, Pa., Wawa operates more than 600 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. To date, the company has rolled out 25 stores in Florida, all featuring the new design.
Update on Flooring
Whether it’s a high-end specialty store or a big-box discounter, flooring can go a long way toward setting the right mood — and making shoppers feel comfortable. “It’s naturally innate in us to look down at the ground,” said Nathan Lee Colkitt, CEO, Colkitt&Co., an architectural firm with offices in San Diego and New York City. “If we get the lay of the land, we feel safer and more comfortable.”
Ninety percent of a person’s visual field is below the eye sight line, Colkitt added, which helps make retail flooring “hugely important.” It is, he said, the single most important finished material in a space.
“We are all always in contact with the floor,” he added. “And we take it for granted.” Slowly, said Colkitt, retailers have been making more use of floors as image creators and information providers. A shift in flooring design or use of material can take a shopper from one area to another, with no signage or fixtures needed.
“You can demarcate a space using the floor,” he said.
One of the biggest areas of change in flooring is the emergence of printing techniques that enable the transfer of almost any image onto ceramic tiles and other materials. Also now available are “through color” tiles, meaning if the tile chips, the retailer won’t be left with an exposed white spot.
For Puma’s store in the SoHo section of Manhattan, Colkitt and two project partners carried through the urban theme of the space and imprinted a manhole cover on the ceramic tile floor in the fitting rooms. The flooring in the fitting room for a new Puma store in Miami will resemble a pool. “It will feel like you are walking on top of water,” Colkitt said.
Meanwhile, new vinyl tiles in wood veneer are becoming popular in supermarket deli and produce departments for their easy care, with vinyl tiles that look like slate being embraced as a cost-effective alternative to the real thing.
“Retail clients are now able to use different materials, such as porcelain tiles or less expensive vinyl, but with the same design,” said Gaston Olvera, project director for MBH Architects, Alameda, Calif. This is helpful for retailers with tiered stores — they can have a similar look in all stores but at a lower cost than a flagship.
Flooring materials have also become available in plank sizes — not just squares — which allow for the creation of different floor designs and patterns. And like a fresh coat of paint, thinner flooring products are emerging that can be laid over existing floor.
“With these you don’t have to take out the old,” Olvera said.
Durability and maintenance costs remain top concerns for big-box retailers when choosing flooring, although most are willing to spend a bit more to accent big-ticket departments, according to the architects. Polished concrete is still the workhorse.
A floor’s overall look, color and texture naturally come into play.
“Often retailers think about neutrals so they don’t overpower what they are selling,” said Olvera. He recently worked on a new Camper store in Santa Monica, Calif., that deliberately used only white floor tiles to help product stand out.
Sustainability has also entered the flooring conversation, with topics including not only the type of material, but what types of cleansers are needed to take care of it.
Laura Klepacki is a contributing editor to Chain Store Age.