LED is transforming the industry, reports SANGEETHA SWAROOP
From the moment visitors walk into the reception or lobby area of an office, lighting can help create appeal and set the mood perfectly – from fun and funky to cool and corporate, enhancing the expectations of clients and customers. Be it dramatic, vibrant schemes that reflect corporate colours or soft ambience designed to soothe the senses, light has a profound effect on how we feel and plays a vital role in creating a healthy workplace.
“For most people, lighting just leads to illumination of space, but the reality is different,” asserts Lalu Samuel, chairman, Kingston Holdings and CEO of Pierlite Middle East. “By designing with light, you can create completely different atmospheres without any additional interior changes.
The use of artificial light also enables to be independent from daylight and allows the use of architecture 24 hours a day.
“Lighting in today’s environment has broken boundaries owing to the rapid advancement in technology both in source and the options to efficiently control it,” believes Paolo Cervini, general manager, Philips Lighting Middle East and Turkey. “Through digitisation of lighting, quantitative aspects like levels of illumination and energy consumption/savings are enhanced by strong and functional qualitative elements such as concentration and performance, health and well-being, relaxation/mood setting, personalised environment and sustainability.”
Funtional & customised: Filling
station by Rudd Lighting (top) and
a store lit by Philips Lighting (below)
“Quite often, some designers get it wrong by lighting spaces and not lighting spaces for people,” says Vic Andrews, managing director, Ruud Lighting Arabia. “With the infinite variety of control systems available today, very flexible, variable, energy and cost-efficient lighting systems can be supplied in nearly all types of lighting applications.”
Office lighting differs from residential lighting both in its structure and application. While residential lighting is warmer and meant to induce relaxation, office lighting is mostly in white daylight format, bright and focused and provides a well-lit ambience to keep the workforce alert and active, says Samuel. “Important factors to consider here are the placement of fixtures, colour of the light, reflection, glare and shadows. Study each lighting decision as it will have an immediate and tangible effect on the environment.”
Lighting today is no longer uniform or repetitive across all areas, but is customised as per application and specific needs of the organisation or individuals, he adds. “General area lighting for walkways, aisles and corridors could be achieved using louvers or spots while key areas can be highlighted using spotlights or downlights to focus on specific objects or areas. Workstations, office desks and counters need shielded lamps or controlled lighting to avoid glare from computer screens and other light surfaces.”
The lighting industry is undergoing a radical transformation opening up exciting and ground-breaking possibilities – all thanks to the light-emitting diode (LED) revolution, notes Cervini. “Not only are people becoming increasingly aware of the energy saving advantages; sustainability legislation and corporate responsibility goals are driving the desire for energy-efficient solutions. Our research suggests that market share of LEDs will rocket to an incredible 75 per cent by 2020.”
The highly energy-efficient white LEDs are revolutionising the potential of LED, he adds. “Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and totally controllable, they also offer a long lifetime and reduced maintenance. Their small size has led to a new design freedom with the potential to create inspirational solutions.”
Coloured LEDs are chiefly used for beautification, creating accents and dynamic ambiences in environments demanding creativity, he explains. “It gives rise to a whole new application, lighting not only indoor spaces but also outdoor architecture, shops, entertainment destinations and hotels with dynamic light effects.”
LED is thus driving a significant transformation of the lighting industry – offering flexibility, creativity, programmability and energy efficiency while enabling to create inviting, highly functional and impressive office environments.
Sustainability has become a critical component of lighting system design in the 21st century, says Andrews. “Sustainability is linked to energy reduction and consequential carbon emission reduction and lower operational costs. We aim at a median 50 per cent energy saving in all projects we work on.”
Currently, there are approximately 219 million street lights globally consuming the energy produced by 36,500 megawatt power stations, which produce nearly 81 million tons of carbon emission, he says.
Philips portfolio: VIP Meydan Bridge
(above) and AB Group Italy (below)
Apart from savings in energy, LEDs also lead to ‘domino principle’ savings. “Much less heat is produced, thereby lowering air-conditioning loads and reducing carbon emission. Longer life of the product also reduces wastage and consequently less refuse is produced,” he adds.
Yet another benefit of LED technology is that it addresses the pollution of landfills which, in turn, pollute the ground around us. “Every type of fluorescent lamps contains mercury and there is enough mercury in a compact energy-saving fluorescent lamp to contaminate 600 gallons of water,” says Andrews.
Since the majority of the installed lighting base in the Middle East still uses conventional or energy-inefficient lighting technology, the potential for energy saving through lighting in the region is vast, says Cervini. “Besides the reduction of carbon footprint, improving on energy efficiency is also relevant for the Middle East specifically, as energy consumption in our region is amongst the fastest growing worldwide, putting strain on the supply side and requiring substantial investment in power plants.” Looking at specific segments, public and commercial buildings represent 60 per cent of global lighting-based electricity use, while the vast majority of office lighting uses outdated and inefficient lighting systems. Switching from old to new office lighting can save up to 70 per cent in lighting energy consumption per year, he explains. “Yet the rate of transition to new technology is still very low because people often don’t see the electricity costs associated with lighting. Although energy-efficient lighting technologies cost more initially, they offer attractive levels of payback and save large amounts of both energy and money during their lifetime.”
Philips has a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficient LED lighting solutions which in combination with the right choice of lighting controls can save between 40 per cent to 70 per cent energy. “Furthermore, with lifetimes of these solutions ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 hours, tangible savings in the maintenance cost can be realised,” maintains Cervini.
Pierlite’s range of Intelligent Lighting Products (ILP) utilise sensors that allow unused or low usage lighting to be switched off or dimmed to save energy. “Integral sensors use the amount of natural light penetration to adjust the lighting,” explains Samuel. “ILP integrates motion/occupancy detectors to dim or turn off lights when a room or corridor is unoccupied. This eco-friendly technology churns out significant savings through optimised lighting solutions.”
Creative lighting concepts also help shape an urban landscape while accounting for both safety and ambience. Just as in an office, a well-planned and regulated lighting is essential for outdoor applications too as lack of adequate outdoor lighting creates hazards at night due to decreased visibility and security.
“Cities want to create an identity, branding themselves as unique, beautiful and secure places. High quality white light can transform the night scene, enhancing urban architecture and creating an inviting ambience that encourages more people to spend time there. It also prevents accidents and makes our roads safer,” says Cervini.
“A designer must never forget that he or/she is designing a space for people,” reiterates Andrews. “Outdoor luminaires should be both aesthetically pleasing and have as little impact as possible at night from a brightness point of view. For instance, the new CREE Aeroblades luminaire not only provides a contemporary accent to streets but also emits bright, clean light for driving visibility while reducing spillover to homes and businesses. Whether it is an office or public space, the important thing is to make people enjoy the space they are in. So light it for them, and don’t just fill the space with light.”