Going green is not just a cliché when it comes to today’s commercial building projects. It’s becoming a way of life for architects, lighting designers, specifying engineers, electrical contractors and facility managers that are embracing LED. The world of lighting and lighting control has changed drastically of what it used to be five years ago. Today, one can find buildings that are beautifully lit up both on the inside and on the outside. In fact, many in the industry believe that lighting has really switched from being a lamp or bulb business to a system driven model.

“Quality lighting adds life to the workspace enhancing its ambience and creating a healthy and cheerful work environment. It is important to consider ‘people’ as the central element in the workspace lighting design. People in offices just don’t work at VDT Screens; they read; write; interact; socialize and in the process exchange all kinds of information in a variety of media. Each of these essential functions demands a suitably lit ambience that is aesthetically appealing, stress free and adaptable,” says Esam R Al Mazroei, Managing Director, Bahri & Mazroei Group.

Agrees Rami Hajjar, General Manager, Philips Lighting Middle East. “In the Middle East and Turkey we see a strong demand for lighting and controls as governments increase their spending on nation building infrastructure such as roads, schools, houses and hospitals. Add to this the growth in overall population in many countries in our region and we see a positive demand for more and especially intelligent lighting solutions. Energy consumption in the Middle East is among the highest in the world and still increasing, leading to higher carbon emissions per capita than world average. We believe at Philips that the answer to this challenge is intelligent lighting solutions that will allow cities, offices and individuals to both personalise their lighting solutions and save energy at the same time,” adds Rami.

Over the past five years, the emphasis has shifted to increased efficiency, green and sustainable solutions. There has also been a shift in product design and the move to LED lighting has opened up a number of innovative ideas in designing the light fixture.

Hiten Inamdar, Divisional Manager, Hazardous Lighting, Thorne Lighting, points out that LED Lighting in today’s time is far more efficient than five years ago. “For instance we had around 50 lumens / watt compared to more than double lumens / watt that are available today. And soon the OLED, which is still in its initial phase, could be as effective as the LED is today. This would be a big revolution in the lighting industry and could change the traditional way or just illuminating from ceiling,” he adds.

Challenges faced

The lighting industry is not without its own share of problems. Some of the biggest challenges in the current scenario are the understanding of LED technology, the cost /benefit gap by users of the technology, LED glare and shadowing and also the lack of industry standards for colour co-related temperature and data presentation. But one thing that poses as a serious challenge is the fierce competition in the market. “A major challenge in the lighting industry is fierce competition as we see the demand growing and also the number of manufacturers that have started adding to the industry. The competition is not only
from many new entrants but top core lighting manufacturers have to face competition from China and Korea. The challenge lies on the bigger players to sustain in this market but if they come up with innovative ideas and maintain quality and reliability of the products, they will be able to go a long way,” adds Hiten.

Current Trends

When we talk of trends in lighting or lighting controls it is very hard to ignore LED lights. As it is the present trend. In recent years, the trends in lighting have been almost entirely dictated by the developments in LED lighting, and integrated digital control of the lighting network. “The use of Lighting Control Technology is expanding because of increasing requirements of improved energy efficiency, which is being codified in government laws and building regulations world-wide. DALI-based systems are increasingly being used, because they allow addressing and monitoring of individual light fixtures, thereby reducing maintenance costs and downtime,” explains Nicolas Sarraf, Director, Tectronics WLL, Abu Dhabi.

Nicolas also points out that trends in lighting and lighting controls are also heading towards the creation of indoor spaces, which can closely imitate the outdoor environment, in terms of lighting levels as well as spectral content, through the use of specialised light fixtures integrated into the ceilings and walls. “The use of advanced environment sensors in individual lights enables the creation of lighting systems which can deliver lighting at the precise level and color temperature required for the occupied space. These sensors have the ability to measure the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in an interior space, and can weigh the different colors to roughly match the sensitivity of the human eye.

Thus, the use of low cost, chip- based sensors pioneered by the mobile phone and computer industry, is finding new application in the field of lighting,” he adds. Yet another trend that is slowly but surely gaining ground is the integration of lighting with IT. An intelligent lighting network solution delivers all the benefits of low-cost, high efficiency LED lighting combined with a sensor network that reports motion, temperature and illumination.

Intelligent Lighting Controls is another trend that we are coming across. Intelligent Lighting Controls present a great opportunity for improved returns. It helps in cutting down energy usage for lighting significantly and improves productivity and efficiency and reduces waste. Control and Regulation with Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) is yet another trend that is gaining acceptance in the UAE market. “A perfect example of a DALI installation is the Trust Tower in Abu Dhabi where a DALI system has ensured the smooth operation of the lighting control system as well as offering the feel of customisation needed to deploy the different lighting requirements for the retail, hospitality and corporate facilities. The lighting in the project is DALI controlled and utilizes TCP/IP as the main protocol for linking the DALI networks together,” says Esam R Al Mazroei. Rami elaborates how LED has allowed Philips to take light digital. “It’s no longer about the function of one bulb, but how we can integrate lighting systems to improve safety, beautify buildings and personalize our own environment. We offer a complete portfolio of LED lighting solutions for all applications including: roads, offices, hospitality, home and more. Digital light and LED is changing the way we work with all of these applications. We believe that by 2020 over 75 per cent of the lighting used in the world will be LED, and the advantages of using controls are just really being discovered. It is an exciting time for lighting,” he concludes.









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Nivedha Sridhar is a member of the founding team at Facilio Inc