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Wiring Matters

Wiring Matters 51 - Summer 2014

LED lighting event

Nicole Whitton reports on the IET Built Environment Sector Summit: Lighting

The IET Built Environment Sector Summit: Lighting took place on 9 April in the Building Centre in central London. The focus of the summit was on LED lighting systems, a fascinating topic wide in scope and discussed from different angles by four specialists in the field:

  • Paul Ruffles, from Lighting Design & Technology, discussed the existing standards and regulations for LEDs, and also provided an illustrative showcase of LED application in a variety of buildings (including listed buildings!) from 2009 to today.
  • Kevin Grant, from Light Alliance, spoke about how advances in lighting, and specifically LED lighting, can both enhance environments and illuminate buildings, from functional to accent applications.
  • Sam Woodward, from Havells Sylvania, focused on lighting controls and ‘smart lighting’ – how effective lighting can be enhanced by smart applications.
  • Bill Wright, from ECA, used his experience working with John Lewis and Waitrose to discuss the economic importance of retail lighting – for example, how designing lighting systems effectively can lead to a whopping 400% increase in sales of products.

It was evident from the day’s discussions that LED lighting is a hot topic, and that the various applications of LED lighting – and the performance of LED lighting – have improved significantly alongside a downward spiral of costs. However, certain challenges still remain for applying LED lighting systems: retrofitting is still a big challenge, particularly for larger retail spaces, where the existing lighting fittings are often part of the ceiling structure. From a residential point of view, LED lighting remains a confused market, wherein consumers face the challenge of understanding what LED luminaires (or light bulbs) they require, with the cost of an LED luminaire being a significant barrier to ‘testing the water’.

That said, it’s clear that LEDs are illuminating the future of lighting, and that more needs to be done to educate consumers and empower installers and designers to become familiar enough with LED lighting systems so that they are confident about using them in their line of work.

The Code of Practice for the Application of LED Lighting Systems is an excellent starting point for understanding how to apply LED systems in a variety of environments. However, do also join the discussions on the lighting community: