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LIGHT + BUILDING / LED REVIEW


More than 190,000 visitors witnessed LED lighting take centre stage at this year’s show but, in the eyes of our LED expert Dr Geoff Archenhold, quality and innovation seem to be lagging far behind.


LED + BUILDING


Thankfully, this year’s Light & Building passed uneventfully with no volcano erup- tions to add to the challenge of walking a few kilometres between halls to see thousands of exhibitors amongst the more than 190,000 visitors to the event. It was clear that Frankfurt 2012 was the year LEDs became the dominant light source and I estimated traditional light sources repre- sented only 5% of the total number of light fixtures installed. Even in hall 10 I saw only two stands that offered CFL lamps – need- less to say they were empty! However, it wasn’t LED technology that impressed – far from it – OLEDs took a far more impressive stage along with a pro- spective new twist on fibre optic lighting promised by Toshiba. On one level I was hugely disappointed by the LED offering because the majority of stands still used LEDs as traditional light sources within fixtures rather than an exciting new light source that can create a different style of lighting fixtures with new functionality. Of course, the industry is moving slowly towards innovation with several manufac- turers demonstrating variable colour tem- perature fixtures however I witnessed too many stands demonstrating the fact that quality of light and quality of products were definitely low down on the design criteria of their engineers at the start of the fixture design project. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just my opin- ion and droves of lighting designers that attended my IALD presentation on the ad- vantages and disadvantages of LED lighting concurred, stating that quality was too low down the priority list of most manufactur- ers. In fact it was rather depressing listen- ing for over an hour after my presentation finished to the raft of lighting designer horror stories. The really good news is that it appears most experienced lighting designers now understand LED technology short-falls so the probability of major issues on projects moving forward should be less than that seen over the last few years. However it was clear there is a lack of high quality and consistent products dominant in the marketplace today. As usual I received many challenging questions after my pre- sentation but there was one question that


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Figure 1 The 60lm/W Kindred OLED fixture from Winona Lighting.


stood out – ‘How do I specify variable CCT lighting fixtures within a project?’ This was an excellent question so I am planning to write a future article explaining what vari- able colour changing products are, how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, how to specify them and most importantly how to control them within projects. Certain parts of the LED lighting industry showed glimpses of promise during the show by focusing on quality of light, includ- ing CCT, CRI and lumen maintenance of light fixtures over long periods of use, and these leaders will show the way for the rest of the fixture manufacturers to follow.


OLEDs maturing fast with innovative breakthrough products I have to admit, I have not focused on OLEDs in recent years, mainly due to the fact that everyone I spoke with (including OLED evangelists) stated OLEDs would only become a viable light source after 2020. In my mind by 2020 LEDs would be close to 270lm/W at the emitter level, have L70 lifetimes in the 150,000 hours with CRI > 90 and colour consistency below two standard McAdam ellipses - all at a price of US$1 for 1000 lumens so I had assigned OLEDs to an interesting but irrelevant lighting technol- ogy. Fortunately it seems that OLEDs are follow- ing the LED maturity trajectory by becom- ing useful in 2012 with the launch of several commercially available and stylish OLED products by Winona Lighting, a division of Acuity Brands.


Figure 2 The Revel OLED Luminaire at >52lm/W system efficacy.


Indeed, Winona launched two new OLED fixtures called the Revel and Kindred that utilised efficient and high performing OLED panels provided by LG Chem, with effica- cies of 60 lumens per watt. Both luminaire families provide performance-based lighting solutions designed for indoor ambient and decorative applications. The contemporary Kindred luminaire shown in figure 1 has been designed with 45 OLED panels to deliver 3382 lumens using 66W to provide a room with individualised cano- pies of light. Its evocative, iconic shape, especially when mounted in close proxim- ity, promotes a feeling of visual comfort, while its thin profile and gentle curvature create a sense of spacial intimacy. The complete Kindred luminaire series is avail- able in three sizes and multiple mounting options. It delivers decorative, custom or general lighting solutions and can be used in many types of applications, including office, hospitality, retail, residential and specialty public areas. Winona’s Revel luminaire, inspired by the organic shapes of flowers, is a 7.3W, 370 lu- men lighting system that gives designers the freedom to create lighting patterns tailored to their unique application. Its simple, yet elegant and thin, form factor allows design- ers to augment architectural elements of ceilings and walls while providing high-qual- ity ambient lighting. Now available in sev- eral mounting styles, Revel can be applied in a multitude of ways to provide accent or functional lighting that breaks away from rectangular grid layouts.


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