Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Impact of Climate on Lighting Systems

Several of the rapidly developing parts of the world have substantially different climates than Europe and most parts of North America. Fixtures or lighting systems that have essentially been developed for the milder climes will not perform as well with the aggressive climate of the Middle-East, South Asia or South East Asia. The metrics of measurement and the standards must be updated. Further emphasis should also be given to the following factors:
Some areas have almost 90% humidity through several months of the year. The humidity in the air coupled with water in the ground means that all components of a lighting system need to be addressed as a complete system to ensure proper functioning. The water/ humidity finds the weakest link in the system and creeps through to the other parts via capillary action which has an adverse impact on the functioning and life of the components.
Choice of hardware must also be informed by whether the environment is near the ocean, as the salines will then have an adverse impact on the componentry.
Temperature and Ratings
When fixtures and lighting systems are tested under the IEC 60598, the ambient temperature is kept close to 25 degree centigrade and 65% relative humidity. After injecting the right voltage, the fixture is kept burning for four hours. In this time the temperature rise of the various components used in the fitting would have stabilized, and the temperature rise recorded through the help of thermocouples fixed to the various parts of the fitting. From this set of data, the release of the fitting is decided. If the fitting if found suitable for 25 deg. Ambient (Outdoor) and 35Deg. Ambient for indoor, it is cleared for sale, as the temperature in Europe never exceeds these temperatures. However, in other parts of the world, the temperatures are usually much higher.
Bugs, Mice and Birds
The bugs tend to live short lives and collect on light fixtures for their final resting place. The mice eat through wires and conduits. And the birds tend to use the light fixtures as a restroom. The deposits they leave are caustic and have a significantly detrimental effect on light fixtures and systems.
Dirt and Dust
This is another aspect of the environment which impacts efficiencies and longevity of lighting systems. However, this is more of a factor in how we design lighting for a space rather than a lamp technology issue. For light fixtures, the IP rating already focuses on this aspect and provides information that helps us in specifying the right fixtures.

This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s Keynote speech at the World Lighting Congress 2012 titled The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems

Ecoluminance: LRC Develops New Method to Light Roundabouts

Troy, N. Y. – Roundabouts, also known as traffic circles, are increasing in number across the U.S. These intersections generally increase traffic throughput while reducing the severity of automobile accidents. However, as relatively new traffic features, modern roundabouts are sometimes described as confusing for drivers. One difference between roundabouts and conventional cross-type intersections is the location of pedestrian crosswalks. Drivers may be less familiar with the location of crosswalks when driving through a roundabout. The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed a concept for roadway illumination called “Ecoluminance” which incorporates roadside vegetation with low-level pedestrian and landscape lighting, retroreflective markers, and light-emitting diode (LED) road and walkway illumination.

In a study sponsored jointly by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the LRC designed, installed and evaluated new lighting approaches in real-world conditions. Senior Research Scientist John Bullough and LRC Director Mark Rea were the principal investigators for the study.

“Ecoluminance uses a combination of lighting and vegetation to provide visual delineation, illumination for important safety hazards and concerns, and cues about road geometry,” said Bullough.

The ecoluminance concept was implemented at a roundabout in the Town of Bethlehem in Albany County, New York with cooperation from the Town Board and the Public Works, Highway, Planning, and Police Departments. Researchers from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry also assisted with the study, and companies General Electric Lighting, Forms + Surfaces and Lightspec Albany donated luminaires to the project.

During two preliminary demonstrations during the summer of 2011, the LRC installed lights and vegetation and obtained feedback from NYSERDA and NYSDOT engineers as well as from town officials and the Town of Bethlehem Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. Based on this feedback, the LRC installed vegetation and retroreflective markers in the central island of the roundabout, LED landscape lighting to illuminate vegetation and trees, bollards at crosswalks, and LED overhead lighting along sidewalks and the road during the summer of 2012. Roadway edges and pedestrians were more visible than under the conventional lighting, and vehicles approached the roundabout with similar or slightly lower speeds.

Traditional lighting for roundabouts consists of a relatively large number of pole-mounted overhead luminaires, which are relatively expensive to operate because they are energy intensive. The LRC estimates that the initial cost of the ecoluminance system is similar to that of conventional lighting, but the energy use is only about a fourth, resulting in substantially lower energy costs as well as substantially lower light pollution impacts. “The ecoluminance concept could allow transportation agencies to integrate vegetation and lighting while reducing costs and environmental impacts,” said Rea.

The LRC’s report is available online at:

View the LRC’s press release with photos:

“Blue” Light Could Help Teenagers Combat Stress

Adolescents can be chronically sleep deprived because of their inability to fall asleep early in combination with fixed wakeup times on school days. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 70 percent of school children get insufficient sleep—less than 8 hours on school nights. This type of restricted sleep schedule has been linked with depression, behavior problems, poor performance at school, drug use, and automobile accidents. A new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that exposure to morning short-wavelength “blue” light has the potential to help sleep-deprived adolescents prepare for the challenges of the day and deal with stress, more so than dim light.

The study was a collaboration between Associate Professor and Director of the LRC Light and Health Program Mariana Figueiro and LRC Director and Professor Mark S. Rea. Results of the study titled “Short-Wavelength Light Enhances Cortisol Awakening Response in Sleep-Restricted Adolescents,” were recently published in the open access International Journal of Endocrinology. The full text is available here.

Click here to read the LRC’s Press Release

Ancient Building Sciences: The Meaning of Colors

The different visible colors correspond to the 7 chakras, with each chakra governing a specific area of the body. Chakras originate from tantric and yogic traditions of Budhism and Hinduism. The connections of the chakras to the body are understood to be a part of the “subtle body”, which is not able to be found through autopsy. The chakras also correspond to the 7 planets, and the 7 days of the week.

Red: Wavelength=700nm: Associated with lust, activity and South orientation [the same for vastu and feng shui].
Red is auspicious for marriage in India, Nepal, and China. It captures the attention of the viewer, and is the 2nd most visible color. Red focuses behind the retina, which forces the lens to grow more convex and pull it forward, making red areas perceived as moving forward. It is part of the First chakra, and governs the lymph system and the skeletal system. Walls can be painted red in order to fix vastu errors in existing buildings. Painting the south wall of a living room with red will create life- force energy.

Orange: Wavelength=650nm: Associated with pride, ambition, health, and vitality.
Orange is part of the 2nd chakra, governing the reproductive system.

Yellow: Wavelength=600nm: Associated with illumination, light intellect and North orientation.
Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors. It is the most common color to be associated with ancient Egypt deity. Yellow is processed first by the human eye and peripheral vision is 2 and a half times as high for yellow as it is for red. It has a high light reflectance value and can act as a secondary light source. It is part of the 3rd chakra, governing the solar plexus, and the power center, above the navel in the stomach area.

Green: Wavelength=550nm: Associated with nature, prosperity, healing, fertility, and East orientation.
Green is part of the 4th chakra which governs the heart.

Blue: Wavelength=500nm: Associated with water, emotions, truth, healing, as well as West orientation.
In China, blue is either shallow or deep but not light or dark. Blue is sharply refracted by the eyes, which causes the lens to flatten to push the image back, so that it is perceived as receding and smaller. It has very few connections to fruits/ vegetables and is associated with appetite suppressant. Blue is part of the 5th chakra and governs the throat.

Indigo: Wavelength=450nm: Associated with the inner self and spirituality.
Indigo is part of the 6th chakra and is governed in the forehead, between the eyes, ears, nose, brain, and pituitary glands.

Violet: Wavelength=400nm: Associated with meditation and concentration.
Violet is a rarity in nature and has the most powerful wavelength. It has historically been reserved for royalty.
Violet is associated with the 7th chakra and is used as a tool to communicate with our spiritual nature. It is governed in the top of the head, the brain, and the whole nervous system.

This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s lecture titled Ancient Building Sciences.

The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems

Every practitioner in the built environment can benefit from better understanding the implications of culture in lighting design. Every culture has had a distinct relationship with light, and that continues today. As it is manifest in the present day, light defines broader tastes and styles within a culture. And, this has deeper implications than mere fashion or vogue. As more firms and practitioners begin to operate across geographic boundaries, understanding cultural drivers is critical for meeting the needs of the populous.
Lighting solutions internationally balance universal ideas about light with local variations. A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is often reflected in its use of lighting in urban, night environments. However, striking a balance between regional differences and globalization is often a challenge. Are there “Universal” ideas about lighting? What are the variations in light concepts as preferred by the local population?

New York City Skyline

Dakar Senegal Skyline

It is equally critical to understand that climate in the “other” parts of the world (non-American and non-European) is distinctly different and harsher on light sources and systems. That combined with different procurement and installation practices often leads to a scenario with a substantial impact on the operation and efficiencies of lamp technologies and lighting systems characteristically developed and built for the more developed economies.

This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s Keynote speech at the World Lighting Congress 2012 titled The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems

U.S. Green Building Council Announces Google Grant To Make Building-Materials Industry Healthier

Yesterday, the U.S. Green Building Council, otherwise known as the inventors of the LEED certification system, announced a $3 million grant from Google to speed up the transformation of the building-materials industry into a healthier practice. The grant will focus on three main improvement areas: 1) supporting research on building materials and health; 2) developing new tools that make it easier to tell what materials are safest; and 3) engaging stakeholders across the entire industry.
“Healthy, non-toxic building materials are a critical component in green building,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Fostering awareness of the materials we put into our buildings is of paramount importance, since many materials can link to a host of environmental and health issues.” USGBC will Google’s incredible reach to spread the advanced understanding of what materials are best for indoor health and safety. This combined effort will help designers make better and easier decisions when aiming to build LEED certified projects. The new initiatives will be developed over the next two years.

Source: Architizer

Written By: Molly Cotter

A Historical Perspective on Light Levels

Over time, we have often seen a shift in requirements within a culture or people. In the United States in the 50’s and 60’s, the popular adage was “more light, better sight.” When the OPEC energy crisis occurred in 1973, it required a serious re-examination of light levels and prompted many research excursions to show that we could work as efficiently in much less light.In the last 50 years, as other areas of the world have found prosperity and technology has become more affordable, traditional constructs of light and darkness have been replaced by grossly overlit spaces. The flip in perceptions is best highlighted by the following two quotes taken from two authors from two different parts of the world, quoting 75 years apart in time.
• “[W]e Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light – his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, Japan (1933)
• “Some judicious use of shadow would help humanize our over-lit lives.”
Murray Whyte, Toronto Star, Canada (2008)

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a methodology that’s been used effectively by Gartner since 1995. The Hype Cycle provides a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. The Gartner Hype Cycle methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing insight into managing its deployment within the context of specific business sector.

A corollary to the Hype Cycle could be that the technology triggers happen in different parts of the world at different times, and they continue to propagate through their hype cycle at different rates. If ‘light levels used’ are seen as a function of technology and then mixed with economics to understand the speed of absorption, we can better understand why certain areas of the world have a propensity for higher light levels. It may also mean that the ‘light levels used’ in different parts of the world, based on their economic prowess, may be located on different parts of the Hype cycle.

Diagram of Hype Cycle

This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s Keynote speech at the World Lighting Congress 2012 titled The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems

Abhay Wadhwa Attends the Korean Committee for UNICEF Fundraiser

On October 23, 2012, Abhay Wadhwa attended The Korean Committee for UNICEF fundraiser to honor the “Every Woman Every Child Initiative” (EWEC) at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN. The initiative has been taken on by the Secretary-General. EWEC is an unprecedented international movement, spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which seeks to intensify global action to enhance the health and safety of women and children in the world. They discussed the current situation, as well as the future strategy of EWEC in order to improve the health of women and children.

There were many notable figures that attended the event including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake, and the Permanent Representatives of Romania, Australia, Brazil, Japan, among others. The Korean singer, PSY, who is famous for his song ‘Gangnam style’ appeared as a special guest during the reception. The opening remarks about the EWEC initiative were made by Mr. Lake, and The Secretary-General and Ambassador Kim Sook made closing remarks following the reception.

Update on Superstorm Sandy

Take a look at this subway recovery map that the MTA posted on Friday, November 02 2012. The lines that are bold are working and the lines that are faded out are not operating because of flooding or damage.

Updated Subway New York City Subway Map, November 2 2012

Cover Shot for New York Magazine, November 3 2012

Brigade Gateway Project in Bangalore Reaches Completion

View of Brigade Gateway Complex from the Residential Podium

The Brigade Gateway is an integrated lifestyle enclave located in Bangalore, India. The project is situated on a 40 acre site and comprises of the following areas:
• World Trade Center: 2 basements, Ground Floor, 29 Floors
• Sheraton Hotel*
• Residential Podium: 13 Towers
• Brigade School: Nursery to Std 7th
• Club House
• Multi-Level Car Park: 2000 cars
• Columbia Asia Hospital: Cardiac services, orthopedics, and neuroscience
• Orion Mall: 1.1 million sqft
• Artificial lake
• Children’s Park

The World Trade Center is the first fully privately owned installation of a WTC in India and is the tallest commercial building in the city of Bangalore. The city of Bangalore produces a large percentage of the software exports from India as well as other public sector heavy industries and is proud to see its growth manifested in this new building and complex.

*Sheraton Hotel: AWA scope was landscape lighting only

Project Team:
• Principal Architect: HOK
• Local Architects: Venkataramanan Associates, Zachariah Consultants
• Landscape Architects: Terra Firma

View of Brigade Gateway Complex from Orion Mall

Concept Rendering of Site Plan

Concept Diagrams: Circulation and Focal Points

AWA approached the Brigade Gateway project in a manner that sought to create a paradigm shift in the lit environment. The lighting design used architectural focal points and a consistent visual fabric at night to create a distinct visual hierarchy. We aspired to create compositions that would guide the design process, from conception to completion of the project, rather than using foot candles or lux levels to dictate the design. The landscape lighting was designed to create a warm and open environment as a direct counterpoint to the perceptions that might be engendered from the programmatic requirements of the site.

View from Top of the World Trade Center

Seating Colonnade

AWA designed sustainable fixtures that exist harmoniously with their surroundings. Examples of this include the streetlight design (below) which drew influence from the architecture, and a locally manufactured custom bollard (below) which was created using local materials (granite). The use of the bollards to light the walkways provides illumination without the use of any overhead lighting. The combination of the bollards and the tree uplighting creates an evocative visual experience.

AWA Custom Fixture: Streetlight

AWA Custom Fixture: Bollard

View of Lakefront from Residential Podium

The lighting for the complex creates a layered hierarchy to the site, establishing a sense of place and enabling intuitive navigation for pedestrians moving through. The dramatic water feature serves as the central anchor to the site with the other buildings and spaces revolving around it. The creative lighting solutions developed by AWA keep each space fresh and unique, and enliven the public spaces in the evening.

About the Developer: Brigade Group
Some of the recent awards and accolades for the Brigade Gateway Project and the Brigade Group are:
“Integrated Township of the Year in 2012” by Realty Plus
“Best Theme Based Township in India for 2012” by CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developer’s Associations of India)
“Best Office Space in India for 2012” by CREDAI
“Best Commercial Project in India for 2010” from Property World
“India’s Top Ten Builders for Five Consecutive Years 2007-2011” by Construction World
Brigade Group is one of India’s leading property developers and has created real estate developments throughout South India. Brigade Group, headquartered in Bangalore with presence in all domains of real estate – Residential, Offices, Retail, Hospitality and even Education. Since its inception in 1986, Brigade Group has developed many landmark buildings in Bangalore and Mysore and has also expanded its operations to Chennai, Kochi, Hyderbad, Mangalore and Chikmagalur.