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Tue 7 Apr 2009 04:00 AM

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Remain in light

Cutting light consumption and therefore energy use is high on the sustainable buildings agenda. But what measures are actually being taken on the ground? fmME reports.

Remain in light
We will always need light.
Remain in light
Apollo inventor Rod Bastable.
Remain in light
3M’s Manohar Raghavan.

Cutting light consumption and therefore energy use is high on the sustainable buildings agenda. But what measures are actually being taken on the ground? fmME reports.

‘What did we do without mobile phones?' So go a number of bewildered conversations. Well, empires were built and more recently men landed on the moon. Not bad when you think of the lines communication available.

Equally, the conversation could go: ‘What did we do without artificial light?' Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel and London, earth's most populous city with nearly a million people living there in 1800, made do with candles, rushlights and tourches and lanterns.

That the modern world needs artificial lighting to function, and only functions 24/7 today because of the lighting technologies available, means the thurst and expectation for light will only increase: reports concerning energy consumption in the UAE last year claimed 25 percent of the Gulf's water had been consumed - one fifth of which was used to generate electricity. The report also estimated the UAE would need to find US$10 billion to satisfy energy demand for the next 10 years, due to the amount of ongoing construction.

Focusing on energy consumption and the built environment, research by lighting manufacturer Osram shows electricity used for indoor lighting accounts for 10 percent of the total electric energy required for buildings. In many facilities, this percentage is even higher. For example, illumination in an office space of 400 m² accounts for approximately 40 percent of total energy consumption.

Hot topic

"Climate protection and sustainability is a big topic for us," says Mourad Boulouednine, director of projects, Osram Middle East. "We have set the trend in energy saving lamps and feel a great obligation to play an active role in the migration to energy efficient lighting solutions. With our sustainability campaign - which we started in 2007 - we want to tell our customers about the fact that climate protection and money saving go hand in hand, throughout the world."

Energy efficient products already account for 65 percent of Osram's sales says Boulouednine, which the company intends to increase to 80 per cent by 2016. "It is currently possible, for example, to save up to 80 percent of electricity by using energy-saving lamps, or intelligent T5 fluorescent lamps. On average, more than 90 percent of the environmental relevance of our products relates to their usage. This is more than in any other industry," he points out.

"Lighting accounts for around 15 per cent of the energy bill in most homes, and around 25 percent in commercial buildings," says Bastable Lighting Services MD Rod Bastable. "We are UK-based but have an office in Dubai. Just as energy prices have risen dramatically in the West, the Middle East is now experiencing the same with energy bills increasing by around 60 percent. So the need to implement smart control systems and low energy lighting is pressing, as is attendant lifecycle maintenance."

The construction industry is targeting lighting as a key element of sustainable design, and there is now a global movement to develop and implement lighting solutions that meet people's needs and concerns, and address environmental regulations.

With this in mind, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) installed the third-generation version of its green building performance rating and certification system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), early this year. This latest system results from over four years technical research, reviews of many actual LEED certified projects, and the advisory activities of technical experts.

Control systems and FM specific products

"We don't have to do without light," says Bastable, "it's about controlling output. Flexible controls to enable zoning and gradation of lighting do just that - to the human eye, the dimming of a light by 10 percent is imperceptible, yet the cost savings are significant."Sophisticated lighting control systems that regulate consumption can lead to significant cost and energy savings. Advanced systems are estimated to reduce lighting energy requirements by 35 to 50 percent in most applications.

"These systems use less energy while continuing to provide the desired lighting level. They can also reduce peak demand charges by automatically dimming or switching off certain lighting loads during periods of peak electrical demand. Additional savings can be realised through less frequent lamp maintenance and reduced cooling loads. The overall result is a fairly short payback, typically five years or less, and a high rate of return on the investment," notes Bastable.

Osram has developed specific FM software to enable efficient and cost effective lighting management. "Indeed, Osram light@FM 2.0 software also enables facilities managers to track procurement and maintenance costs online, schedule maintenance and cut downtime, and with data protection in mind, only the FM can download sensitive project and price data," says Boulouednine.

On the lighting front, Bastable has developed Apollo, a patent pending multiple LED source for fibre optic illumination. "Due to the uniquely designed driver system and optimal cooling techniques, when correctly installed these light sources will operate for between 200,000 and 400,000 hours," says Bastable.

"This is based on the extension of the graph for Life against Junction Temperature (see graph) and validated by mean time between failures (MTBF) data throughout the LED manufacturing industry."

Furthermore, the Light source can be mounted directly into the duct-work of AC systems or into the conduits or piped water circulation systems to maximise life and performance.

"Many products widely sold in the industry are already known to be failing, well short of their claimed life, due to excess temperature of the junction in normal operation which the Apollo mounting negates," says Bastable.

What’s in use…Sunlight Transportation Systems

An emerging new technology is that of sunlight transportation. Natural sunlight is collected on roof panels and transported into a building via fibre optic cables for distances up to 15 metres. These sunlight-piping systems can be used in combination with solar panels to integrate natural and artificial light systems.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

LEDs are small, solid light bulbs that are lit by the movement of electrons in a solid semi-conductor material as electricity is passed through it. LEDs are extremely energy efficient, lasting over 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and up to 10 times longer than CFLs. They have low heat generation, low power requirements.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)

These are small versions of full fluorescent lights, and consist of a glass tube coated with phosphor, filled with gas and a small amount of mercury. CFLs give off the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, but they are up to 80% cooler, are four times more energy efficient, last 10 times longer (up to 20,000 hours), and are responsible for the emission of 70 per cent less carbon dioxide.


Halogen bulbs have a small pocket of halogen gas that reacts with tungsten to produce light. They burn brighter, use less electricity and last twice as long as a standard bulb, but are still inefficient compared with other forms of bulbs.


Standard light bulbs, known as incandescent bulbs, are known to be highly inefficient. Electricity is passed through a metal (tungsten) filament that heats to over 2000º Celsius and glows to give off light. Only 10 percent of the electrical energy is converted to light - 90 percent is wasted as heat.

Building envelope

An energy audit is defined as an inspection, survey and analysis of energy use in a building, process or system with the objective of understanding the energy dynamics of the system under study.

"A typical energy audit would involve recording various elements of the building envelope including lighting, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows and skylights. The audit will also assess the efficiency, physical condition and programming of mechanical systems such as HVAC and thermostat adjustments," explains Manohar Raghavan, business development manager, MEA 3M Building and Commercial Services and 3M Construction Markets.

"The energy audit firms typically look at the energy use given local climate criteria, thermostat settings, roof overhang and solar orientation. All the elements in the building envelope system need to be looked at during the audit process if a truly integrated approach to light use and energy consuption is to be achieved," says Raghavan.

Procurement and FM disconnect

"Indeed, these systems have the potential to make a huge impact on carbon emissions. But, there's a lot of convoluted and conflicting information surrounding lighting, hindering real progression toward our sustainable goals," says Bastable.

"In my role as a lighting consultant and designer, a major frustration is the disconnect between procurement and facilities management. Facilities management should ensure the full integration of systems and accurate maintenance schedules throughout the lifecycle of the building, but this is not always the case.

"I have consulted on prestigious developments that have not engaged FM from the design stage; consequently lighting was not integrated with all the other services, which is crucial if you're serious about energy reduction."

Cost cutting is also hindering progress on the ground says Bastable. "It's true that lighting is often the first installation to be compromised should cost suddenly become an issue. Specification usually goes out of the window. For example, the price discrepancy between quality transformers and cheaper ones is huge, and often to tempting a saving to resist. Consequently, the safety implications regarding fire risk are huge, while life span is shorter meaning maintenance costs are higher."

Future protection

It is the simple things like turning lights off, using dimmers and timing switches that we can all do help to make lighting more environmentally friendly. The technological solutions have to be part of the envelop system and, in turn, FM has to be involved at the start of the process if the much talked about commitment to cut emissions is to come to fruition and secure the future for generations to come.

Where to go...Manufacturers/suppliers OSRAM

This global player has its headquarters in Munich and employs more than 43,500 people throughout the world. In the 2008 fiscal year (to the end of September) sales amounted to 4.6 billion euros.


Recently bought by Philips, Dynalite is a lighting control company with energy management and building automation, architectural lighting control, home automation and residential applications solutions.

RWN Trading

RWN Trading is an agent for Cube Lighting, specialists in design and manufacture; Bastable Lighting, specialist in consultancy design and fibre optics; and Citygrow, designers and manufactures of smart home automation., ,


dpa lighting consultants celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. The Practice started by architect Derek Phillips pioneered the discipline of professional lighting consultancy in the United Kingdom.

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