The lighting sector is influenced by a powerful wave of change. The evolving technology is enabling a new level of user-adapted dynamic lighting and the new technical potential is awakening rapidly increasing interest in research on the effects of light. There is growing information that shows that the quality of light is vital for the quality of life. There is also information that, many of our current lighting systems are inadequate and in some cases even contribute to illness. The new forms of light can overcome these weaknesses and can even be used to actively promote vigor and health!
Consequently many countries and businesses are supporting and engaging in lighting related research and development. For example:
- China and others are making major investments in new lighting technologies.
- USA is trying to develop market mechanisms to promote rapid introduction of new high-quality lighting technology.
- Europe is using the Ecodesign directive to promote change by prohibiting the old inefficient lighting products.
- Japan is a special case, in particular after Fukushima very many private Japanese persons seem to invest in the most advanced LED-lighting for their own use.
The new lighting is a most interesting part of the green growth potential. Globally 3000 TWh electricity is used for lighting. It is possible to save most of this energy by better utilization of the new technology and light related knowledge.
Simultaneously, the societal value creating potential through better lighting is much larger than the value of the cost saving. Better lighting in schools, hospitals and nursing homes can enable better pedagogical and rehabilitating results. For example, it is hardly socially responsible to continue to use flickering florescent tubes in a preschool, considering that it is known that flickering light has negative effects on stress sensitive persons and that many young children are particularity stress sensitive.
Likewise, since a growing number of indications propose that the quality of the light, including avoidance of disturbing light, is particularly important for the health and wellbeing of elderly people, it is socially questionable to continue to use primitive lighting in elderly care centers.
Hence, the quality of the lighting is becoming a crucial social responsibility and sustainable development issue. This ought to be considered by everybody that can influence the lighting in all kinds of publicly funded buildings and for all kinds of publicly funded activities. It is also becoming a social responsibility issue for all companies with employed people and everybody that owns and manages a building where people are working and living.
One aspect of governance is to set up rules to try to prohibit all kinds of bad and meaningless lighting. Another aspect is to promote early investments so that we can make really good use of the new lighting related technologies and to minimize all kinds of negative effects. This additional value creation is a potential basis for many local green jobs with a simultaneous life-cycle cost reduction.