The case for quality lighting

It makes more sense to invest in a lighting upgrade than it does to play the stock market, says Rune Marki

First, I would like to thank all those from the UK who made the journey to visit Light + Building in Frankfurt during April. UK visitor numbers to the show remain the same, despite the show’s increasing popularity as the premiere European event to showcase lighting innovation.

With London being the centre of lighting design, and not such a long way from Frankfurt, it would be good to encourage more UK visitors to go to the show, which is held every two years. This year’s Light + Building brought home to me the speed at which new technology is developing and being applied in lighting, and the benefits it delivers to users.

For example, the speed at which luminaires designed for LEDs are coming along in all applications is phenomenal. One demonstration of this was the sheer range of LED-based products on display. But this speed of development is by no means limited to LEDs. There were also examples of other innovations such as OLEDs, plasma lamps, luminaire designs and, very importantly, lighting controls.

The power of controls

Controls are critically important to achieving the energy-efficiency potential of new technology and also to the application once installed, whether that is an office, industrial or retail setting. Controls are also powerful in encouraging user organisations and individuals to realise the full benefits of lighting technology. They can help users adapt their behaviour and use lighting more efficiently by controlling and adapting its operation.

Another interesting development shown at this year’s show was a number of LED luminaires that use Zhaga interfaces. Zhaga is a global co-operation between lighting companies to agree standard interfaces for LED modules, which may ultimately turn into global standards. Standard interfaces have the benefit of encouraging take-up of new technologies.

They can give OEMs the confidence to use multiple component suppliers and modules without the need to design dedicated luminaires for each. For users, standardisation can bring confidence that they will have maintenance and refurbishment options in the future.

With all this value-adding technology being developed and delivered to the market by the lighting industry, there is the potential to substantially improve clients’ energy efficiency. This will result in the reduction of their CO2 emissions and allow them to save money on the bottom line, providing a great return on investment. Compared to the interest that clients can earn by investing any cash reserves, the rate of return on a refurbished lighting installation is very attractive.

Demonstrate the potential

Typically, energy used for lighting in buildings – or externally in street and floodlighting – can be reduced by between 20 and 80 per cent. How? By upgrading lighting installations to incorporate modern energy-efficient products in a well-designed lighting scheme, using effective lighting controls, whether at product or system level. You will find a number of case studies in this issue of Lux that demonstrate these savings very clearly.

Clearly there is a strong financial case to be made for investing in upgrading lighting installations to modern technology. We as an industry must continue to be active in promoting that case, both as individual companies but also through our industry organisations such as the LIA.

Exhibitions give us another opportunity for this. In November this year the LuxLive 2012 exhibition and conference takes place at Earls Court. That will be another opportunity to share the knowledge, benefits and financial returns of good lighting. I hope you agree good lighting has a strong case to make.

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With the lighting season almost upon us, our busiest and most influential time, reviewing our approach to lighting solutions has the potential to be most effective

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