As LED lamps and luminaires have matured and their price fallen over the past few years, their long life, tunable color and low power consumption have kickstarted a major change in how we think about light inside buildings.
This goes beyond illumination into hygiene, health, wellbeing, data networking as well as using connected lighting systems as infrastructure for other Internet of things (IoT) sensors.
In the past, lighting accounted for a large proportion of commercial energy bills, with some estimates showing it at almost half of retail energy consumption. So, the regulations for light levels in buildings were set at a minimum – well below the light levels available outdoors – with an eye on energy use and with limited consideration for the needs of people, beyond being able to see their work.
With LEDs, the energy consumption is so much lower that there's now a good trigger to explore the various other aspects of lighting. Simply replacing existing lights with LED equivalents just to cut costs would be very limiting and a huge missed opportunity. Let's explore some of the other roles lighting can play.