LEDs Bountiful at Lightfair


This year's Lightfair provided plenty of products to look at and certainly a lot of information to digest. Thankfully, plenty of engineering expertise was on hand to help analyze the latest in lighting technologies.

"My first impression of Lightfair is that it should be called LEDfair," joked Siva K. Haran, P.E., LC, a principal lighting designer with A. Epstein and Sons International, Inc., Chicago, in noting the large number of LED companies represented on the show floor.

Many of the exhibitors were Asian, and Haran said that's because Asia is leading the way in the technology's development. LEDs are an important technology to pay attention to, he said, especially considering the energy savings they can provide. In fact, he feels they could easily replace incandescent lamps in the near future, possibly even fluorescents one day. A testament to the technology's continued development was that many of the LEDs at this year's show exhibited more precise control of color temperature.

The sheer volume of LEDs on the floor should be a wake-up call to U.S. lighting manufacturers, Haran said, speculating that if they don't dedicate more money to LED research and development, they might very well see the technology go the way of automobile manufacturing in the '70s.

The good news is that energy efficiency was a major buzz at the show. For example, Haran noted there was a continued emphasis on daylighting, including an increased incorporation of occupancy sensor technology with luminaires. That said, Haran felt that manufacturers and lighting designers still need to make a concerted effort to create lighting products and systems that meet the requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 in terms of control capabilities for energy-efficiency purposes. This is an area where engineers can help. For example, the lighting calculations required to meet the new energy codes must be certified by a registered engineer. At the same time, Haran, who is both a registered engineer and a lighting designer, also said that lighting designers need to be involved early in the design process so that overall energy-savings objectives can be achieved.

Back at the office, Haran's firm is involved in a number of projects involving evolving lighting practices. One example is a warehouse in Kansas City that's replacing high-pressure sodium lighting with high-output, high-bay T5 fluorescents used in conjunction with occupancy sensors. But applying good control is just as critical, as is illustrated by another Epstein project. This one incorporates a cornucopia of high-tech lighting technologies, including T5 fixtures, LED exit signs, daylight harvesting and dimming—all brought together through a control system.

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