Better Lighting, Better Living

Better Lighting, Better Living

This piece was originally published in the February 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Patricia Walsh, Editor in Chief, electroindustry magazine, NEMA. Ms. Walsh, a Hermes platinum award-winning writer, is also the director of publications at NEMA.

Since a roadmap presupposes a destination, what endpoint does Jan Denneman see as he steps down as president of the Global Lighting Association?

“The world will be better lit than now,” he said in announcing GLA’s Strategic Roadmap of the Global Lighting Industry.[1] “We will see better lighting.”

When we sat down to talk at NEMA, Mr. Denneman suggested that we open the blinds to let in more natural light. It reminded this writer of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who had a lifelong fascination for the physical and metaphorical effects of light on humans. Legend has it that Goethe cried, “Mehr Licht!” (More light!) on his deathbed; in fact, he said, “Do open the shutter so that more light may enter.”

“We are diurnal animals,” Mr. Denneman explained, expounding on a discovery in the 1990s of a third photoreceptor in the brain that accounts for the effects of light on circadian rhythms. “Good quality of light mimics daylight. It affects alertness, cognitive performance, energy, and creativity. Indoors, light should be dynamic. Give everyone the right light for what he or she is doing.”

An Eco Design Consultants study[2] supports this, indicating that the well-being of building occupants increases with better light, air, acoustics, integration of nature, and personal control.

Using the concept of lux, which is equal to one lumen per square meter, Mr. Denneman clarified this point. A sunny day registers 100,000 lux outdoors. Even an overcast day has at least 5,000 lux. The standard office suite, by comparison, is about 500 lux. Schools rate even lower at 300 lux.

“Just as we talk about air purity, temperature, draft, and so on, the same comparisons can be made to lighting,” he said. “We were once champions of energy efficiency. Now we add to that a well-being revolution,” which is the result of the disruptive nature of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and intelligent light systems, he says.

“LEDs are rapidly replacing conventional light sources, indoors and out. They are efficient, tunable, dynamic, long-lived, flexible, integrated, and cost-effective. Their connectivity enables the automated collection of data that is converting the component- and hardware-based industry to a digitalized one.”

The digitalization of lighting has enabled intelligent lighting systems and global integration with the Internet of Things, which Mr. Denneman likes to call the Internet of Lighting. To accomplish that, the GLA advocates for harmonized, interfaced standards—like those that enable smartphones—and fewer, well-enforced rules.

Standards provide the rationale behind the roadmap, ensuring consumers that when they open their windows and open up buildings, more light may enter.

[1] Available at www.globallightingassociation.org

[2] www.ecodesignconsultants.co.uk/healthy-buildings and https://www.cbre.nl/en/healthy-offices-research


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