London Lighting the unseen buildings

Dear Editor,
Pick up any magazine and there are photos of wonderfully lit buildings by the UK’s top designers. For those without a designer, there is plenty of advice in the series of Lighting Guides produced by the Society of Light and Lighting.

Whilst a lot of effort is put into producing low-carbon new buildings, the elephant in the room is the refurbishment of existing buildings, where there are many more constraints on the design. It is estimated that 66 per cent of the 2050 building stock already exists.
There are still far too many buildings where no thought has been given to the lighting. They are dull, energy-inefficient and do nothing for the users.

Energy regulations such as Part L are often used as an excuse for poor lighting design. But regulations are just another constraint on the lighting design in the same way that budget, client taste, timescale and the architecture are.

Any journal that shows how the lighting can be made better for the vast majority of our ‘unseen’ buildings is to be welcomed.

Yours faithfully,
Alan Tulla

Light for every age

Dear Editor,
One of the few good things to emerge from the new Con-Dem government in recent weeks is the announcement that it intends to ban compulsory retirement at 60 or 65. As an ‘oldie’ already in this category, I welcome this – even though I can’t sack myself. But has anyone really come to terms with the implications for office lighting design of this move, which will inevitably push up the average age of our already ageing workforce?

Tulips or people?

Dear Editor,
I just flew into Amsterdam airport at 5am and noticed an amazing number of small, bright sodium light patches on the clouds at relatively low level. It struck me that these are above the fields of poly-tunnels where flowers are grown. Apart from the light pollution aspect, is this really a sensible use of energy?