It was another amazing IES Annual Conference! This year, I have to say the pre-conference Emerging Professional Workshop initiated the energy that propelled me through the rest of the conference! If you are not a part of the EP workshop, I feel sorry for you! If you want to be a part of it next year, contact me! We want to host 100 Emerging Professionals next year, which means we need even more experienced lighting professionals to participate and interact during the event
...the pre-conference Emerging Professional Workshop initiated the energy that propelled me through the rest of the conference!
The Sunday night Awards event was beautiful, with a record-setting 29 projects receiving Illumination Awards this year! For me, one of the highlights was seeing my old friend Kelly Jones who received an Award of Excellence for one of her projects. It was also fantastic to see Kristin Peck accept an Award of Distinction! Kristin was an intern when I worked at LDA (a lifetime ago) and her award-winning project was the first one designed by her new firm PrichardPeck Lighting. Congratulations Kelly and Kristin!
Monday morning's keynote address by Ekaterina Walter was on the topic of social media. This is an area where our industry as a whole lags, but I was personally inspired by her talk. There is no B2B; because of social media, business is all P2P. People to people. Number one takeaway: remember to "delight" your audience.
I was mostly attracted to papers and sessions that focused on lighting and health. Asha Hedge spoke about Sensory Processing Disorders and how lighting design - especially for schools - can accommodate students who fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder or have other types of Sensory Processing struggles. The research in this field is minimal. What is available is sometimes contradictory and often based on anecdotal evidence. I believe this is a field which deserves more study, and the more we learn, the better environments we can create for everyone, not just those who have special needs. Lighting is for people. We need to create appropriate environments for all people.
The next general session was a fairly technical discussion about lamp lumen depreciation with LEDs. So many of our old metrics don't apply to LED technology, and we are playing catch-up as the researchers attempt to define new metrics. For example, what LLD factor do we apply to products that increase drive current over the life of an LED to avoid any lumen depreciation? Products with higher drive current could look identical to a lower drive current product at the beginning of life but will depreciate faster. What about driver failure? This isn't a part of a lumen depreciation calculation, but should it be a part of lamp life calculations? This general session was a great illustration of how the conference is turning back toward its "technical conference" roots. That's a great direction for the conference to take, given the speed of change in our industry today!
Lighting is more than meets the eye. The paper session by M. Wei about color preference under LEDs with Diminished Yellow Emission was fascinating. This study took a look at the preferences of people with side-by-side comparisons of two rooms. When energy in the yellow (570-580 nm) part of the spectrum was removed, preference increased - despite a lower CRI. There are currently 22 existing metrics for color quality, but which one or combination is the right one? His summary sentence, "Brightness perception can not be predicted by luminous efficacy." has huge implications. Efficacy is not the end-all be-all? What can we learn about human perception that might allow us to provide better quality of light with fewer lumens? How do our current metrics need to change to reflect this?
The Circadian, Neuroendocrine, and Neurobehavioral Effects of Lighting seminar on Tuesday afternoon, presented by Steven Lockley prompted a great conversation between my eye doctor and me. The crossover between disciplines is becoming more important than ever. Lockley discussed the connection between the newfound photoreceptors in the eye and 440 nanometer light. So, not just any light, but this particular wavelength of light is what helps us set Circadian rhythms. This light impacts our alertness (whether or not we actually feel more alert.) Even blind or rod/cone impaired people can sense light and dark when these photoreceptors are activated. The argument that comes next is, if 440 nm is the ideal wavelength do we need to be sitting around under blue light all day long? Or can warm light sources be enhanced in the 440 nm range?
It's an exciting time to be in lighting design! The more we research, the more we discover how important lighting is. There were plenty more concepts and ideas covered at this conference. There just isn't enough room here to discuss them all. Because of the informative papers and presentations plus the friendships and energy from the Emerging Professionals in our industry, the IES Annual Conference has become a definite "must attend" for me. Hope to see you there next year - in Pittsburgh!
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC