PRESIDENT'S BRIEFING
2012 – challenge or opportunity

The new year could well be a tough one, but there are plenty of reasons to be positive. Rune Marki, managing director, Osram UK and president, LIA

The economic news implies that 2012 will be a challenging year, but in the lighting industry there are opportunities as well. This is a good reason to look forward to some positive developments this year.

For example, one challenge is that government spending is clearly going to be tightly controlled because the administration is determined to reduce the deficit. This means there will be less new building and refurbishment work and a drive to cut operating costs such as energy bills.

As a result, local authorities will turn off or cut down public lighting. In the private sector, companies are likely to continue to try to keep their costs under control where turnover growth is limited, and they will also aim to conserve cash in the short term by delaying non-essential investment. In both cases there will be reduced spending in the private sector unless it is justified.

This is where the lighting industry has opportunities. There are many situations in which the justfication for investing in improved lighting is good. Some are simply  nancially driven in terms of payback on investment; others are driven by the need for companies to comply with new legislation.

Large users are working to ensure they comply with the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), under which they must signficantly reduce their energy consumption to avoid financial penalties. Modern day energy-efficient lighting and controls will reduce energy use for lighting substantially. It is estimated that lighting represents about 20 per cent of the electricity used in commercial buildings, so a substantial reduction on that will be appreciated by such users.

Other legislation such as the Building Regulations and the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations demand that new builds and signficant refurbishments meet minimum standards of energy performance – for lighting and other services. This creates opportunities for higher value-added products but also for the greater use of lighting controls as part of a lighting system for a building.

The Energy-Related Products Regulations that are being progressively introduced across the EU over a number of years, set minimum requirements for the energy performance of products, creating demand for higher value-adding energy-efficient products.

These are just a few examples of opportunities in lighting that can bene t everyone in the supply chain, from the user to the manufacturer. Lux readers will be aware of many more. One of the keys to taking full advantage of these opportunities is to improve knowledge and awareness of good quality lighting.

I’m delighted therefore that from 1 January 2012 the two manufacturers’ trade associations, the Lighting Association and Lighting Industry Federation, have merged to create the Lighting Industry Association (LIA). I am also honoured to have been elected president of this new body.

One of the principal aims of LIA is to further improve communications about the benefits of good quality lighting and I am con dent it will be active in this area and working with other organisations in the lighting supply chain to ensure such communications are well co-ordinated.

Looking to key events in 2012, LuxLive 2012 is now in the planning stages and will be held 6 and 7 November at Earls Court. The organisers are committed to continue with an innovative yet practical event in 2012 that appeals to the whole supply chain and brings about much greater awareness of the latest technologies as well as the benefits of well designed, quality lighting solutions.

So 2012 brings some challenges but there are also many opportunities.With the support of a strengthened industry voice – the LIA – increased focus can be given to improving communications to the market about those opportunities.

Best wishes for a successful 2012.

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