January 1, 2010
What’s Next: Lighting
For many of us, lighting is just a matter of wattage and bulb type. Maybe we’ve grappled with the question of whether an inefficient incandescent or a CFL, with its trace mercury content, is the lesser of two evils. But Dr. Mariana Figueiro, the program director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, […]
For many of us, lighting is just a matter of wattage and bulb type. Maybe we’ve grappled with the question of whether an inefficient incandescent or a CFL, with its trace mercury content, is the lesser of two evils. But Dr. Mariana Figueiro, the program director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, thinks the way we design spaces and the impact those spaces have on us will change dramatically—and soon. “Professional lighting designers are starting to be attuned to the health effects of light,” she says. “You are going to be seeing a lot more dynamic lighting, rather than static on/off schemes.”
“In the coming year, we will see an increasing trend to include solid-state lighting, LEDs, in the built environment. The technology is evolving really fast. Will it replace fluorescent tubes within a year? Probably not. But we’re already seeing a lot of LEDs used outdoors for lighting streets, facades, landscaping. Now we’re going to begin to see more LEDs in interior applications.” —M.F.
More from Metropolis
“Designers will start thinking about lighting more than just in terms of vision. The lighting characteristics that impact our health and well-being are different than the ones that impact our visual systems. Lighting design has been focused on vision, but we now know that doesn’t meet the needs of our circadian rhythms. The idea is that you would do a full 24-hour scheme that meets the needs of both those systems at once. Circadian systems are more sensitive to blue light. Visual systems are more sensitive to yellow light. We have to start combining lights to achieve a compromise.” —M.F.
“LEDs will change the way we think about lighting. It won’t be about sockets but about grids. We’re working on a system to completely change the infrastructure so that you will have walls that can be lit. You can have fixtures such that if you move your dining table from one location to another, you can move your chandelier with it. You just take a ceiling tile and move it there. Only LEDs can give you that flexibility.” —M.F.
What’s Next: The 1-5-10 Issue