Case Studies

JLC-Tech

Innovative, integrated LED light fixtures made in Pembroke, Massachusetts

While many sustainability-focused lighting companies exclusively target energy savings, one New England-based manufacturer is tackling several aspects of green building. JLC-Tech, headquartered in Pembroke, Massachusetts, has introduced a groundbreaking line of LED fixtures that not only dramatically cut energy usage, but also reduces construction waste, installation labor and materials usage.

Mia Antonia and her husband Silvio Porciatti began to lay the groundwork for the business in 2010. Porciatti had worked for several years as a lighting product designer and conceived JLC-Tech with the goal of providing an LED fixture designed around the LED technology, instead of traditional style fixtures. He also wanted to incorporate the products into existing materials so that the fixtures didn’t become an additional component and instead became part of existing building material design. Thus the T-Bar LED Smartlight was born.

The company’s patented T-BAR LED Smartlight technology is compatible with all makes of suspended acoustical tile ceilings. The fixture takes the places of a cross section of the grid ceiling and serves as a subtle yet unique visual element as well as an efficient light source. The T-BAR LED is at home in a range of applications – primarily commercial. These fixtures have been installed in offices, hotels, universities, medical facilities and other high-traffic spaces requiring efficient lighting solutions.

Easy and clean installation

The rapid growth of LED lighting has encouraged lighting manufacturers to introduce new products to the market in droves. The greatest difference between the T-BAR LED and competitors’ products is obvious: other fixtures pale in comparison to the low-profile design and easy installation of JLC-Tech’s line.

“Our product replicates a cross section of the grid ceiling,” explains Antonia. “Our lighted T-BAR is installed in place of a standard piece of building material. It is very labor intensive to put in conventional linear lighting in a suspended grid ceiling. Contractors have to field cut tiles in order to build a slot for the lighting and in order to secure the fixture, they have to suspend the light from above.”

“With our product, you have the installer using our illuminated T-BAR in place of a section of rail that would already be there as a functional part of the grid ceiling system,” Antonia continues. “Even better, the contractor does not have the waste of excess tiles that occurs when creating slots or the additional material needed when installing a standard panel, linear or round downlight fixture. Materials usage and waste management are huge factors of sustainability on a construction site.”

Saving more than just energy

For many lighting product designers, LED lighting is all about energy efficiency – but Antonia and Porciatti know that truly sustainable design is multifaceted and that for the most part, LEDs take care of energy consumption on their own. JLC-Tech focuses its efforts on saving building materials and labor. Because the fixture only replaces a piece of the suspended ceiling grid, installation is easy and clean. Its low-profile design also conserves reflectivity and improves acoustics in contrast to more invasive products.

The T-BAR LED is compatible with all traditional grid ceilings. As long as the grid is exposed, contractors can use the T-BAR LED in place of the cross section in the grid ceiling. “We have a universal mounting clip that is compatible with most manufacturer’s ceiling systems, ,” Antonia reinforces. “However, end users get an added bonus when using our product with Armstrong compatible mounting systems in an Armstrong ceiling.”

With the custom-designed Armstrong compatible mounting clips, the T-BAR LED snaps into place on an Armstrong ceiling grid and requires no additional mounting hardware. This setup requires no additional support, such as screws or support wires. The product has also been tested in conjunction with Armstrong Ceilings to withstand seismic  D, E and F area activity, holding tight even in a crisis.

Building connections at Greenbuild

The 2015 Greenbuild International Convention and Expo will mark JLC-Tech’s sixth year in attendance and fifth year as an exhibitor. This year the business is presenting in the Net Zero pavilion as part of the EMerge Alliance. “The 2011 Toronto Greenbuild Expo was where we presented our product,” Antonia recounts. “That was JLC-Tech’s first North American exposure to the market.”

Antonia, Porciatti and their colleagues attend the convention because Greenbuild attracts the international green architectural market. “Contractors and architects from all over the world attend looking for innovative products to put into LEED or equivalent buildings,” Porciatti notes. “It’s full of people interested in a specific conversation. We’re not really into a conversation of simple energy saving; we want to address incorporating the benefits of LED lighting into the structure of the grid ceilings and positively impacting the environment through material efficiency.”

Over the coming years, the business will maintain momentum. Antonia says there are more opportunities for integrating LEDs into building materials and JLC-Tech will continue to seek out innovative, sustainable lighting solutions for a range of applications.

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