Running to stand still

The increasing pace of developments in the lighting sector means it is more important than ever to keep up to date – and the sector’s trade associations can help

Rune Marki, managing director, Osram UK and president, Lighting Industry Federation

Lighting technology, as we know, is moving fast. There are rapid developments in areas such as LEDs and OLEDs, luminaire and optic design, and control gear.

But there are also developments in areas such as regulation, energy supplies and costs, sourcing of scarce high value raw materials and incentives to encourage faster take-up of energy efficiency measures.

These are but a few and I’m sure you will be aware of many more, both nationally and locally. Faster developments clearly offer opportunities for our industry – and some risks if we do not recognise, embrace and react quickly to those opportunities.

Fortunately, as an industry we are generally proactive on new opportunities and through our trade bodies are able to co-ordinate and promote industry-wide positions on common issues.

So how about some examples of what is changing fast? Well we all know that LED/OLED technology is moving at quite a pace, as is the popularity of lighting controls.

Both of these developments help users by cutting energy use and carbon dioxide emissions – and the related running costs.

This helps to reduce dependence on energy supplies, but at the same time electronics-based technology increases our dependence on valuable and relatively scarce materials such as rare earth elements. At an industry level we need to increase awareness in the market about such issues.

A number of regulatory and standards changes expected in the near future.

● The Building Regulations are now being updated every three years, with the next change due in 2013. However, some changes such the move to an energy-consumed basis as measured by Leni – the lighting energy numeric indicator – might only be achieved by the 2016 review.

● Standards for LEDs have been and continue to be developed quickly, with input from industry.

● Recasts of both the WEEE and RoHS directives are well-advanced and are expected to have a more signi cant impact in the market, including the lighting sector, over the next two to three years.

● The progressive introduction of the Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive continues (this sets minimum energy performance requirements for products) and is presently being extended to directional lighting.

I’m sure you know of more and if you feel that LIF should be more active on any of them, contact its chief executive Eddie Taylor.

What is important is to raise awareness and increase knowledge in the market about these developments. We must generate interest in the products and solutions and ensure that an effective knowledge base about them exists in all parts of the supply chain.

This will assure customer satisfaction. In this context LIF provides a range of well established training courses that are regularly updated to re ect these fast-moving developments.

This year it has launched an initiative with the publishers of Lux magazine to present a major exhibition and seminar event on commercial lighting.

Called LuxLive, the event is taking place at Earls Court on 9 and 10 November. Visitors will find a range of leading lighting manufacturers showcasing their latest products and solutions. As important, in the context of the rapid developments that have been the theme of this column, will be the wide range of free seminars that will run alongside the exhibition, providing valuable updates to delegates.

Will developments slow down in the future? I doubt it. My view is that the speed of technology and market developments only gets faster and therefore the need for good information and communication to the market will become more important. Therefore the development of initiatives such as LuxLive, which should be held each November, is essential and I hope that it will be supported by many visitors interested in seeing and learning more about all that is exciting and challenging in commercial lighting.

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