While Paris may be the “City of Lights,” anyone who’s approached Las Vegas at night knows that the casino strip could give that European capital a run for its money. Approaching from the desert after the sun is set, you can see the first pale glow of this metropolis from miles away, and once you begin to descend into the city’s valley floor, the lights are all around you—not just the suburban sprawl that spreads out from the glowing center, but the multitude of blinking, flashing signs that promise all sorts of adventures and profits inside. It’s always a bit of a shock, really, to see all that activity churning in the middle of a pool of desert sand—all that energy, all that illumination, how can it even be possible?
Last week, I made the long haul from the West Coast to Las Vegas to attend the 23rd annual Lightfair International (LFI). With hundreds of attendees flowing in and out of sessions and mingling on the show floor, for three days LFI plays host to facilities managers, OEMS, consultants, and lighting experts. Considered the “world’s largest annual trade show and conference for the architectural and commercial lighting industry,” LFI is both a forum for lighting technologies and products, and a comprehensive lighting conference (with over 70 educational sessions).
The exhibit hall was divided into five pavilions: Building Integration, Daylighting, Design, Global Light and Design, and the New Exhibitor Pavilion. Many of the exhibitors designed their exhibits to demonstrate both lighting quality and new available technologies. Speaking with attendees and exhibitors, I learned about the latest lighting updates and the most common lighting concerns and challenges. Overall, it was an “enlightening” expereience.
While the most efficient light bulb—from an energy standpoint—is the one that stays turned off, those of us concerned with energy efficiency and reliability know that lighting can account for a vast portion of any facilities energy costs. While cruising along the exhibit floor, I kept an eye out for all of the latest and greatest energy-efficient lighting, and what I learned proved invaluable.
Significantly, from LFI, I became aware, with a new understanding, of the relationship between fixtures and energy management, and also between lighting quality and energy use. And probably the most important realization I came away with was that, as lighting technology continues to improve and innovate, the future of energy efficiency lighting lies less in the ballast and more in the power to micromanage the quality, intensity, and duration of indoor and outdoor lighting in commercial, industrial, and residential settings.