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Paul James - Editorial Comment

Issue 53 Feb / Mar 2010

2009 was a very turbulent year for many sectors in the building services industry and the lighting profession was no different. But now that the dust is beginning to settle after the economic fallout we should recognise that the industry is in a unique position to prosper whilst following its energy saving principles.

In homes and commercial buildings it is widely reported that up to 50 percent of total energy consumed is due to lighting. For some buildings over 90 percent of lighting energy consumed can be an unnecessary expense through over-illumination. The cost of that lighting can be substantial so the use of energy efficiency solutions are becoming ever more important.

This is where the expertise of the lighting industry comes in. Energy saving control devices, more efficient light sources including LED technology, daylighting and better designed fixtures are all important tools in the lighting designer’s armoury and will provide the impetus to drive the industry forward in these difficult times. However, we need to be careful how we handle this journey into a new age.

In our exclusive interview with Mike Simpson, the president of Cibse (The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) in the UK, he reveals how close the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) and the Institute of Lighting Engineers (ILE) came to merging, thus taking the SLL out of Cibse. The action was averted despite the best efforts of some sections of the industry to steamroll the merger through. This was a lucky escape. The action may well have alienated a small but important proportion of the lighting industry in the UK and it is precisely during this time that the industry needs to work together without causing distrust and resentment.

Collaboration between the various organisations has so far been informal but useful. A fine example of this is the ‘Guidelines for Specification of LED Lighting Products’ here in the UK, a ‘cross-party’ document drawn up by the SLL, ILE, PLDA, IALD, LA (Lighting Association) and HEMSA (Highway Electrical Manufacturers & Suppliers Association). If we are to operate effectively, then I believe that a ‘Lighting Council’ as suggested by Simpson and others is the way forward. This idea can be developed further to work at a multi-national level with collaboration between the international and national associations in every country affected by everything from badly drawn-up legislation to help with national lighting standards. So yes, the IALD may have more knowledge of the USA, the PLDA with Europe and the SLL with the UK but together, that pool of knowledge, not operating independently, will much better serve regions such as the Middle East, Africa and Asia where a lot of work is still needed.



Paul James
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