Lighting the Way (and for more than just lighting)

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



It’s hard to believe we are halfway through the year already – time really does fly as you get older. Being stuck in the house, as most of us have been over the last year, doesn’t help that ageing feeling either. However, I just managed to get away for the first time since last February at the weekend, which helped make me feel better about myself. It was only a weekend in Edinburgh, 50 miles up the road, but it is a beautiful place and it was nice to get a bit of freedom to walk around and visit pubs and restaurants.

One thing I noticed that really accentuated the beauty of the historical monuments was the architectural lighting at night time. Edinburgh is really stunning anyway, with the castle dominating the skyline. But, my hotel on Princes Street also overlooked the Scott Monument, one of Edinburgh’s unique landmarks. The 200ft Gothic tower, completed in 1844, was impressive in daylight, but really stood out at night thanks to the LED lighting, which highlighted the individual figures from Scott’s novels that decorated the monument. What I really found interesting was the granularity of the lighting. Instead of the monument being drenched in light by spotlights, which bleed into the surroundings, individual carvings and details were picked out. Only LED lighting could really achieve this look. The flexibility LED lighting brings shows why the market is predicted to be worth over $6.6bn this year.

That flexibility also makes LEDs ideal for applications other than lighting. The idea of indoor or vertical farming is growing in popularity at the moment. These farms have the potential to grow crops using less water and space than traditional farming and can be situated closer to the cities and towns that will consume the resulting vegetables. The vertical farming facilities rely on LED lighting to replace the natural light that plants need to grow. Research shows us that certain light wavelengths promote faster and more efficient growth. LEDs can be tuned and controlled to provide exactly the right wavelength at exactly the right time to ensure growth is optimised and the farms are efficient as possible. The same control over wavelength and the optical spectrum can be used manipulate our own Circadian rhythms, what we call our body clock. Our body clock is influenced by the environment stimuli, especially light. By controlling the light that reaches our eyes, we can feel more refreshed, fall asleep quicker or even concentrate better.

Our Special Report this month looks at LED lighting and how we can control it. The report features articles from both the DALI Alliance and Melexis. I hope you enjoy.

Best regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD