Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bringing Back The Night: The Fight Against Light Pollution

Last month, France — including the City of Light — grew darker late at night as one of the world’s most comprehensive lighting ordinances went into effect.

From 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., shop lights are being turned off, and lights inside office buildings must be extinguished within an hour of workers leaving the premises. The lighting on France’s building facades cannot be turned on before sunset. Over the next two years, regulations restricting lighting on billboards will go into effect. These rules are designed to eventually cut carbon dioxide emissions by 250,000 tons per year, save the equivalent of the annual energy consumption of 750,000 households, and slash the country’s overall energy bill by 200 million Euros ($266 million).

But no less a motivation, says France’s Environment Ministry, is to “reduce the print of artificial lighting on the nocturnal environment” — a powerful acknowledgement that excessive use of lighting in many parts of the world is endangering our health and the health of the ecosystems on which we rely. The good news, however, is that light pollution is readily within our grasp to control.

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Source: The Guardian

LED Lighting Technology Becoming Standard for LEED Footprints

No matter who spins it, sustainable LEED construction has captured the attention of many people, impacting the design of everything from HVAC systems to building envelopes, from renewable energy use to LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, has significantly impacted thinking about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.

This construction is extremely beneficial to the environment and our society as a whole. It will help improve the lives of those who live around it for years and years after construction is finished.

LEED, as a green building tool, provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for the project.

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Written by: Glenn Meyers

Source: Green Building Elements

British Artist Bruce Munro to Exhibit Light-Based Works At Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to host large-scale light installations by internationally renowned artist Bruce Munro. The British artist’s third exhibition in the United States opens September 25.

Acclaimed British artist Bruce Munro will debut an exhibition of light-based installations and gallery works at Columbus’ Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on September 25, 2013. The exhibition, Bruce Munro: Light at Franklin Park Conservatory, will introduce work never before seen in the U.S.

Munro’s Light will transform the Conservatory’s 83,000 square feet of indoor environments and three outdoor courtyards, creating a captivating nighttime experience. Ten large-scale site-specific installations will be displayed, four of them new works created uniquely for the Conservatory. Field of Light, perhaps one of Munro’s most iconic artworks, consists of nearly 3,000 lighted glass spheres springing from a courtyard garden. In the Bonsai Courtyard, Water-Towers, monumental structures made of plastic water bottles, glow and change color to synchronized music.

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Source: SFGate

One Day We’ll Light Our Homes With Bacteria

A team of undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin are attempting to shine light on the problem of electricity-gobbling bulbs by creating a light source that doesn’t require an electric input at all. Genetically engineered E. coli housed within a bulb-like casing can produce bioluminescence, the student think, creating the Biobulb, a lightbulb powered by natural processes.

“The goal of the Biobulb is to create an ecosystem in a jar,” the creators write on RocketHub, where they’ve launched a campaign to fund the project. “The ecosystem will consist of several different microbes, each of which plays a role in nutrient recycling and population control.”

Light alone, they say, should sustain these tiny communities. Popular Science explains:

The genetically modified E. coli plus a growth media, microbes that use ambient light to create food and recycle waste, and a bulb should be able to glow and recharge repeatedly, perhaps for days or months.

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Written by: Rachel Nuwer

Source: Smithsonian

Artist Transforms Derelict Underpass With Rainbow Light Installation

Urban renewal of neglected spaces and infrastructure can use many approaches, be it adapting for new uses, or using art to transform places completely. American artist-sculptor Bill FitzGibbons was commissioned by the city of Birmingham, Alabama to alter a derelict and dangerous Art Deco railroad underpass with a vibrant light installation.

Built in 1931, the 18th Street underpass connects downtown Birmingham with a new development called Railroad Park. FitzGibbons’ installation, titled LightRails, consists of thousands of programmed LEDs, capable of millions of different light combinations, that aim to attract pedestrians.

For FitzGibbons, it’s a piece that works with the existing urban fabric, as he tells the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (CFGB) in an interview:

I think of public art as a place-making tool … It not only transformed the underpass as something that you were hesitant to walk through, but it made the underpass a destination in and of itself … Projects [like this], across many cities, demonstrate that the creative economy which produces things such as public art has a direct influence on how citizens feel about those urban areas.

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Written by: Kimberley Mok

Source: TreeHugger

RGB LEDs For Illumination: Color-Tunable RGB LED Lighting Goes Far Beyond Replacement Bulbs

Blending red, green, and blue LED emissions brings new capabilities to solid-state lighting—tunable colors can be decorative, eye-pleasing, relaxing, and even help you get a good night’s sleep.

The first generation of solid-state lighting is already replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Blue or violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs) excite yellow phosphors to produce white light far more efficiently than incandescent lamps and without the mercury and other limitations of fluorescents. The big challenges now are reducing LEDs’ cost and cranking up their power to gain consumer acceptance.

But the real solid-state revolution in lighting is coming in the form of lamps that mix the outputs of red, green, and blue LEDs to give a broad range of colors. Some are already used for decorative lighting, and last year Philips Lighting (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) introduced color-tunable Hue bulbs that screw into home light sockets. Better yet, red-green-blue (RGB) LEDs can be good for you as well as fun because they can tune the shade of light to help you wake up in the morning, slip gently to sleep at night, and be more alert and productive during the day.

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Written by: Jeff Hecht

Source: Laser Focus World

Interactive Video Helps Contractors, Builders, Electricians Select and Install LED Lighting

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently released an interactive video that offers guidance about selecting and installing LED lighting. The video was designed for contractors, builders, electricians, and others who professionally install LED lighting—and many homeowners will find it useful, too. Topics include product selection, advantages and challenges of LED products, economic calculations, installation tips, and links to other available resources. Viewers can earn professional continuing education credits by watching the video and using the interactive features. The project was funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“Our goal with this video is to provide guidance for navigating the increasing number of LED lighting options in today’s marketplace, along with useful information on how to install these products,” said Jeremy Snyder, LRC director of energy programs, who led the project and narrated the video.

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Written by: Rebekah Mullaney

Source: Lighting Research Center

Alfredo Moser: Bottle Light Inventor Proud To Be Poor

Alfredo Moser’s invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity – using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach.

In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year.

So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle.

“Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn’t turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better,” he adds.

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Written by: Gibby Zobel

Source: BBC

Kickstarting Fiber Optic Art

Visitors race through museums and galleries, stopping in front of a work of art for only a moment to snap a picture with their phones. Research confirms this behavior; we spend an average of 30 seconds looking at an individual artwork. But a recent exhibition by Lyn Godley at Gallery Art68 in Cologne, Germany triggered very different reactions. Curators observed viewers spending hours in the gallery, absorbed by the installation.

Lyn Godley, artist, product and lighting designer, creates digital images that are drawn over in charcoal and pastel. Into each drawing she threads hundreds of fiber optic cables that create little bursts of light throughout the installation. These subtle modulations of light draw viewers in, forcing them to pause and meditate on the images in front of them.

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Written by: Dora Sapunar

Source: Metropolis Magazine