What's bright about trends in lighting right now?

Published: 31 March 2020 - 6:27 a.m.
By: Shalaka Paradkar
We catch up on what's hot in the world of luminaires with Samer Moukalled, VP of Scientechnic one of the region's top integrated solution providers of electrical, mechanical, power, automation and mobility technologies.

Projects his company have provided lighting solutions for read like a must-see of UAE landmarks - including Dubai Water Canal, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Burj Khalifa.

What are noticeable directions and trends currently in lighting commercial spaces?

We are currently seeing an increased trend towards IoT (Internet of Things) with several projects in Dubai already under design based on IOT principals. Basically, IOT in the simplest terms is connecting all objects in a project (including lighting) via the same network where sensors are implemented and exchanging data continuously. Some of the main added benefits of IOT systems are energy savings, increased productivity and enhanced security.

Connection between natural light and wellbeing (or health) now is taking place in commercial spaces, incorporating Tunable White technology for Human Centric Lighting.

Human Centric Lighting, commonly known as HCL, in the lighting world, can benefit the biological, emotional, health, or wellbeing of people. Usually, this can be achieved by incorporating tunable white and dimming controlled smart light source, to mimic the levels of sunlight throughout the day. Studies have shown that poor lighting can have negative health effects—especially on our circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is the human biological 24-hour internal clock that “is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. Circadian rhythm responds to lightness and darkness. Too much or too little exposure to certain types of light can then affect the overall human behavior, personal health, and how well we sleep at night. Tunable white allows us to change the colour temperature of the light source while dimming the intensity at the same time, allowing to mimic sunrise and sunset environments.

Sustainability in terms of design, and more eco-friendly lighting: There is an increased demand to go green and a higher number of LEED-friendly projects are seen in the region. This is mainly achieved by efficient lighting control schemes incorporating more occupancy sensors where lights can be dimmed when not in use, which reduces the overall load and energy consumption. Together, with increased daylight systems, higher levels of LEEDs certification and eco-friendly designs can be achieved.

What are the challenges and opportunities ahead for the lighting industry?

The lighting industry was seeing a growth spurt since the introduction of LED technology and will continue to do so in the coming years as we see things moving more towards smart lighting. Smart lighting will incorporate all light source luminaries that can be controlled and connected as part of the IOT network. I see that consumers and stakeholders are now believing in the LED technology and it is upon us now to educate more on the benefits of smart lighting as we go forward.

The biggest challenge we see going forward will be the tendency to commercialise the lighting industry as we see more and more companies from the Far East introducing technologies that are so similar or in many cases copying the technologies introduced by the major lighting manufacturers in Europe and US. These companies are selling luminaires at much cheaper prices compared to the European and American brands as they are not investing heavily in the R&D sector.

Economic luminaires by such companies are tempting the contractors and developers in our region to push most of the ongoing and upcoming projects to the limits of value-engineering, which in turn is bringing the overall project quality down and deviating from the original design intent.

Tell us about some of your current projects

We are currently commissioning a comprehensive solution (in one of Dubai’s biggest developments) of lighting and control, which involves advanced lighting fixtures that communicate with sensors, detecting presence, absence, temperature, photo-sensing, air-quality, asset recognition, and on-premises geo-tracking. This helps the client to collect, monitor, correlate, and analyse data from the project with real-time monitoring and control of infrastructure.

Credit where's it's due

A couple of impressive projects [by other firms] executed recently:

Nulty+ Lighting design Dubai: Dewa HQ Building:

Great job by the Nulty + team to utilse eco-friendly design to help the project achieve the highest LEED certification in building design and construction.

- CD+M Lighting designers Dubai: Manar Mall, RAK - landscape & façade: Excellent use of the latest technologies available in today's market by incorporating responsive lighting design where lighting designers can plan, visualise, and sequence. In addition, system integrators can execute on site, and operators can manage using the same software package.

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