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Industry opinion Getting the green light

The green agenda offers signifi cant opportunities in the lighting sector for switched-on electrical contractors, as chief executive of the Lighting Industry Federation, Eddie Taylor, explains


he lighting market is going through a very rapid and radical period of change, resulting in challenges – but also many opportunities. There are a number of drivers behind this change

but chief amongst them are technology and sustainability, the latter driven by the energy/CO2

reduction agenda. Lighting, since the days of Swan and Edison, has always

been a business where strong investment in R&D has regularly brought new technologies to the market. Today is no different, except that the newer technologies are based more on electronics, and their potential impact on the market is even greater – and the changes are faster. While the performance of many of the established lamp types continues to be improved, the major technology developments today are in LEDs (light emitting diodes), and in the future OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes). LEDs have now reached performance levels where they are being used in many everyday applications. This rate of performance improvement is projected to continue over the next few years, further extending the penetration of LEDs into more applications. OLEDs will follow the same path over the coming years, also leading to increasing market penetration.

In control In parallel to these technology developments in light sources, there has been rapid evolution in the use of electronic control equipment and the adoption of signalling protocols such as DALI and KNX. This has made possible the much greater use of intelligent lighting from individual luminaire level to whole buildings, and to street and other exterior areas. The strong business case for intelligent lighting is a mix of both energy effi ciency and the ability to control the lighting for the benefi t and comfort of people using that lighting. In terms of sustainability, society and governments across

the world are looking to increase energy effi ciency and reduce reliance on fossil fuels – refl ecting the high cost of energy, as well as real concerns about security of supplies in the long term. Lighting is the second largest user of electricity in buildings (domestic and non-domestic); it therefore has the potential to be a major contributor to energy/CO2


Today, lighting products and solutions are able to deliver very signifi cant energy savings, and they will only get better

About the author

Eddie Taylor Eddie Taylor is chief executive of the Lighting Industry Federation.

in the future. The keys to ensuring that end-users are satisfi ed with any new or refurbished lighting system is to ensure that it is professionally designed, and uses quality, compliant lighting products and supporting controls/systems. The lighting must also be correctly installed and commissioned by qualifi ed contractors. In my opinion, the biggest challenge facing the UK (and

other) governments today, in terms of achieving their legally committed target of reducing CO2

emissions by 80 per

Today, lighting products and solutions are able to deliver very signifi cant energy savings

cent by 2050, is to improve the effi ciency of the existing building stock (it is estimated that some 60 per cent of the buildings that will exist in 2050 are already in existence now). Refurbishment of existing lighting installations represents a major business opportunity, for example: ■ For the building user to reduce their energy consumption signifi cantly and achieve a great return on investment; and ■ For electrical contractors to install the new lighting, as well as offering to commission and then maintain and optimise the energy effi ciency of the system over future years. Energy costs will continue to rise, so

optimising energy effi ciency of lighting and other building services will add value to any business offer. Depending upon the building being refurbished, a well-designed scheme using energy effi cient lighting products, combined with good quality lighting controls and systems, can reduce the energy/ CO2

usage by up to 80 per cent – and that reduces the energy bill similarly. Underpinning the keys referred to earlier – that is, good

lighting design, quality/compliant products and quality installation – is the requirement for good knowledge, appropriate qualifi cations and good communication. This is particularly valuable in terms of the new technologies referred to earlier, such as LEDs, OLEDs, lighting controls and systems, in helping to make informed decisions. An excellent opportunity to learn more about these new

technologies, and the business opportunities they offer, will be at a new commercial lighting exhibition and seminar, LuxLive, over 9-10 November at Earl’s Court in London. This event is being well supported by leading lighting manufacturers. It will also host a wide range of seminars, discussion forums and so on, with leading speakers from across the lighting supply chain. For more details go to

September 2011 ECA Today 17

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