Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Light & Building Fair - Frankfurt :Next Generation Lighting Gets Real

As they have been for the last 20+ years, Modus people were busy exploring this year’s Light and Building Fair in Frankfurt in April.  Every two years this massive event showcases the very best lighting design and R&D efforts from the international community.
This year was seen to be a pivotal year in the lighting design and application market as the lighting world rapidly changes from analogue to digital technology.

The uptake of LED luminaires in both interior and exterior application was nothing short of remarkable, with some companies only exhibiting LED product. With the amount of investment from all corners of the globe it is clear that LED will be a major lighting force in New Zealand very shortly.
Whilst the initial costs for quality LED luminaires are still at premium levels the inevitable competitive market forces plus the volume economies of electronics production will soon drive both initial project costs and lifecycle cost to very attractive levels.

A key discussion point at L+B technology seminars was how to differentiate between the messages conservative and informed LED suppliers from the excessively optimistic through to the downright deceptive. An ongoing task, with current the absence of an adequate Standards framework.

Another noteworthy development was the maturing of lighting control systems into a funadamental necessity to get the best performance from lighting systems. No longer are lighting controls only about dimming. Colour temperature controls and the opportunity for workplace performance improvements are now practical and cost effective. Control systems including energy metering, carbon accounting, predictive maintenance management and operating cost control are all there and available for informed specifiers.

The “Luminale” exhibition around the CBD of Frankfurt sought to showcase the creative and technological expertise of international lighting designers and lighting artists. This event is spread over the week of the Fair and seeks to create temporary magical lighting vistas around the streets and buildings of the city.
Once again, digital solutions stole the show with programmable RGB LED systems totally to the fore.

Modus General Manager Chris Byrne sees big changes soon happening in the marketplace both internationally and in NZ with the need for very different approaches required for digital lighting design and procurement.

………….“To unlock the real potential and create user value from this sophisticated luminaire and control technology we need to apply next generation thinking to the way that projects are delivered”…….. says Chris.

 “No longer will the old ways of specifying and procuring luminaires in isolation and as separate items be appropriate, the need for systems thinking and packaged project delivery and management will be required……….

The real challenge in delivering the expected leaps in value for the client is to approach the project with a clean sheet of paper and fresh thinking at all levels. To simply see digital lighting equipment as as add on to “business as usual” project management practices is amiss, will not deliver on the potential and is likely to dissappoint.”

“Good LED luminaires and control equipment at present have a high upfront unit cost….no doubt about that”……says Chris. “But the real task is to do more with less of the equipment by integrating lighting into the heart of the project rather than just adding it on…….plus undertake Life Cycle based cost and performance assessments to show the client what can be achieved if they are willing to invest with a vision and seek value beyond merely the day-one impacts”

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