Talkin’ bout a Revolution

As the Tracy Chapman song goes, finally the tables are starting to turn. The ‘Rethinking Lighting Design’ panel discussion at Friday’s LEAF event suggests the lighting revolution has already started.

Together with my fellow panellists Mark Rides of BDP and Kristofer Karlsson of Buro Happold Engineering – and the attending audience of leading architects, contractors, engineers and consultants – we covered a wide range of topics that all pointed to a major shift in the lighting industry. The out-dated, inefficient, and disconnected approach to lighting commercial buildings is being replaced with a more holistic perspective that has potential to deliver huge benefits to building owners and occupiers.

There was widespread recognition that the next generation of LED lighting systems are already capable of significantly reducing lighting bills. In fact, our ZerO Energy Lighting solution proves that properly harmonised natural and artificial lighting – when designed as part of a complete building envelope, and paired with intelligent controls and rooftop solar PV – can eliminate lighting electricity costs completely.

But our discussion also highlighted that the industry still has work to do in helping end clients fully embrace this new best practice, and see good lighting as good business. Similarly, we know that daylight improves the health and productivity of building occupants, but it was agreed that research is needed to fully quantify these apparent benefits, and further strengthen the case for better lighting.

Looking to the future, we explored how truly holistic building design might see LED’s powered by network cables or providing Wi-Fi and RFID networks, with lighting forming part of the IT commissioning rather than traditional lighting fit-out.

The lighting industry is undergoing a revolution, and Friday showed me that there is growing consensus on the changes needed. But like any successful revolution, it now needs to convert support into action.

Jonathan Dore – Global Commercial Director, Kingspan Insulated Panels

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