There were plenty of original decorative designs using LED, but controlling the light source via dimming and “smart” controls was the key take away.
Not only has the world’s biggest trade fair for lighting and building services gotten bigger – this week’s 2014 edition of Light + Building offered 2,458 exhibitors – but that its scope has boomed as well. The event’s motto was: “Explore Technology for Life: the Best Energy Is Energy That Isn’t Consumed.”
The top three themes at the show were:
Intelligent Sustainability — opportunities for saving energy and reducing consumption while increasing human comfort via technology.
Smart-Powered Buildings — energy management and solutions for networking energy generators, energy stores, and the smart grid.
People and Light — the effect of light on people and the impact on health, performance, and well-being.
“For this edition of the Light + Building fair, I think the emphasis has been on the quality of light,” notes Fred Farzan, president of Nora Lighting, who was attending the fair. He also pointed to a general optimism regarding economic market conditions from manufacturers as well as attendees versus the more cautious atmosphere of the previous Light + Building Fair. At the 2012 exhibition, the economy in both Europe and the U.S. was not as stable as it is now and confidence among factories, distributors, and specifiers was noticeably at a lower level two years ago.
You’d be hard-pressed at this year’s event to find lighting fixtures that were not powered by LED, and many of the developments in solid-state lighting came aren’t noticeable to the naked eye. For example, one of the most prevalent trends was the ability for consumers and commercial users to be able to change the color temperature of a light source via a dimmer-like switch depending on the task at hand. For instance, having one light source that can provide a higher color temperature when a person is reading or is in an office environment and yet easily be changed to a warmer temperature similar to a household incandescent bulb when more of a home-like ambiance is desired. Other developments – such as improvements in heat dissipation and designs that attractively conceal the heat sink – were also in abundance.
There were quite a few companies that employed fabric to visually soften the appearance of the sharp lines common in Contemporary design or to counter-balance the use of LED, which often can appear cold and futuristic. In some cases, LED was embedded into wallpaper (complete with “moving” patterns) fiber optics were incorporated into fabric shades, and in some cases cold cathode was used as an accent.
In addition to the ability of changing a light source’s color temperature easily, there were many companies offering a way to widen and narrow the beam spread of the LED light source so that different effects can be achieved with the turn of a user’s wrist. This capability gives homeowners and commercial users greater flexibility to alter the position (with a rotational arm or bracket on the fixture) of the light as well as the beam spread. For example, these fixtures can quickly be changed from an uplight to a downlight position plus, in the example of illuminating wall art, the beam can be altered to widen or narrow based on the size of the art. These innovations allow people to easily update and change the look of their home, office, or store with very little effort.
“Light + Building focuses on the vital subject of future-oriented building and energy management, a fundamental module for the reorientation of the power-supply system. And this makes it the world’s leading trade fair for energy efficiency,” says Wolfgang Marzin, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt. Energy savings of up to 70 percent could be achieved through the use of LED lighting and up to 30 percent through intelligent networking, smart homes, and building automation.
Look for more reports from Light + Building in upcoming editions of enLIGHTenment Magazine.