2018 has been yet another year of gratifying public service for the National Lighting Bureau, typified by a hallmark event for North America’s lighting community: The National Lighting Bureau’s Seventh Annual Lighting Forum, this year titled “Lighting Tomorrow,” and, as before, cosponsored by the EdisonReport and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and moderated by EdisonReport Editor and IES Past President Randy Reid.
The Bureau produces the Forum to discuss important lighting developments and trends, to inform the lighting community and interested members of the public. That service is extremely important, because of the extraordinary changes that are occurring in lighting and the rapid pace of that change. Lithonia’s Bob Besal, NECA’s Lew Tagliaferre, along with prime-mover personnel from GE, NEMA, and others created the NLB in 1976 to transfer lighting information to others, in a form they could readily understand. And the Bureau continues to take that vision forward, convinced that the Bureau’s efforts are more important than ever before. Who would have thought in 1976 that, as 2019 pulls into view, some of lighting’s most important new objectives have almost nothing to do with vision and illumination? Just consider the title of the seventh Annual Lighting Forum’s five panels:
- “Protocols for Wired and Wireless Systems,”
- “Prescription Lighting,”
- “LED Lighting as a Disinfectant,”
- “Human-Centric Lighting,” and
- “IoT and Cybersecurity Update.”
The first of the five presentations – “Protocols for Wired and Wireless Systems” – has been completed, posted to the NLB website, and announced to the public. The second – “Prescription Lighting” – has been edited and is in final review. The other three are being finished according to schedule. As I said last year, and as I am compelled to iterate this year, the quality of these presentations is phenomenal, thanks to the quality of the speakers, the depth of their knowledge, the importance of their remarks, and the excellence of the production itself, thanks to Randy Reed, who edited everything, and, of course, to the outstanding capabilities and performance of the IBEW’s production staff.
The Bureau continues to address High-Benefit Lighting® and the growing importance of the value-add it can provide. While energy savings are beneficial in terms of financial and environmental factors, the development of LED lighting makes energy savings and environmental maintenance things that just about anyone can achieve, simply by converting from fluorescent or HID lighting, or by specifying LEDs in new systems. True: A well-designed High-Benefit Lighting system can deliver more energy savings and environmental benefit than one designed by an individual with lesser skill, but “more” isn’t nearly as substantial as it used to be. But other benefits – those that can be derived from increased productivity, lower error rates, enhanced safety, better security, and more – can be derived only when top-flight lighting designers are involved. And the financial value of these benefits can easily be worth 100 or more times the value of energy savings alone, because they support better human performance.
As we have been saying for 41 years, light is for people, and we have developed dozens of case histories that prove it. But now, with 2020 in sight, lighting is being used to establish a whole new concept in “light is for people.” Lighting can be used to maintain people’s wellness and to treat specific health deficits that go far, far beyond seasonal affective disorder. I can only imagine what’s in store for a future where outdoor lighting installations are essential to the Smart Cities initiatives that will have such a dramatic imp[act on safety and commerce; where light will be used to transmit and receive electronic data; where light will be prescribed to treat specific illnesses; and where light will be used broadly for disinfection, and to support indoor cultivation of food in an era of environmental challenges, possibly using otherwise useless indoor garages as farms of the future.
We are anxious to do whatever we can to help those who own, manage, and rely on lighting to develop the most effective and efficient lighting they can. Toward that end we have maintained our lighting-designer directory faithfully for more than a decade. Today, we have some 5,000-plus listings throughout the United States and this year we have expanded the listings to all the Canadian provinces.
The Bureau continues to earn its support by its outreach to millions of people every year since our beginning in 1976; 2018 maintains that tradition. Bureau materials have been quoted in newspapers – both hard-copy and electronic – and on their websites. The Bureau has been cited as an authoritative source in magazines and e-zines, brochures, newsletters, and others’ websites; in scholarly journals; in textbooks and white papers; and on Facebook and Twitter. Some call the Bureau the independent voice of America’s lighting community, and I cannot disagree. Just a few of the publications we will have reached by year’s end include:
All-Star Electric & Maintenance
American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
American Security News
Association of Energy Engineers
American Society of Landscape Architects/Illinois
Complete Facilities Supply
Discount Builders Supply
Lighting Controls Association
Lighting Solutions Middle East
NY Lawyers for Public Interest
Press Release Point
Scott Watson Associates
SoftScapes Lighting Systems
Solid State Lighting Design
Sonya Melovca (Croatia LED)
Southern Indiana NECA
Sunflower Electric Supply
And now, there’s even more to that, because, this year, the Bureau launched NLB TV, a service through which we make hundreds of videos available free of charge to whomever wants to see them. These include our Annual Lighting Forum videos, of course, as well as an extraordinary variety of videos provided by our sponsors. In this regard, I have to give a shout-out to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in particular, thanking them for some of the historical footage they’ve provided. If you spend 15 minutes watching those videos, you will begin to understand the huge distance we and the world of electricity have travelled in the last six decades or so, and the tremendous service provided by electrical workers in general, and the IBEW in particular.
How many people does the Bureau reach each year? We cannot be certain, because we only monitor the Internet, and only partially at that. Nonetheless, when the calendar is turned to January 1, 2019, I feel confident in saying that the Bureau will have reached about six million or more people who want to know more about lighting.
This year also marked the first full year that our exciting new website has been in place. The new website makes it easy to review and retrieve Bureau materials, including our case histories, news releases, videos, and more. The website also includes links to NLB TV, our lighting-designer directory, and each Bureau Sponsor, as well as a comprehensive Twitter feed to capture news from our Sponsors and an array of others.
None of this would be possible without the support of our Sponsors and our staff. Working together, our staff and Sponsor volunteers have imbued the Bureau with more than four decades of credibility, making it the trusted voice of the North American lighting community, if not the lighting community of the world.
Serving as the Bureau’s Chair is an honor, especially so because of the other Board members I am truly privileged to work with. I look forward to 2019 and continuing my Bureau support.