The Time Is Right for Resilient Lighting

Natural disasters that damage infrastructures, plus the documented increase in power outages over the past five years, are all good reasons to move quickly on developing disaster-proof lighting.

[dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#1e73be”]N[/dropcap]ot that long ago, the term “resilient lighting” would conjure up the idea of hardy fixtures ideal for hazardous environments fraught with equipment vibration and other industrial considerations. While ruggedness is still a necessary trait, the term has broadened beyond construction zones to mean providing illumination for extended periods of time (i.e. days, weeks) in residential areas. “It is rugged lighting designed to continue operating when other lighting cannot,” explained Terry McGowan. “Resilient lighting has the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.”

In addition to providing illumination for critical applications such as hospitals in natural disaster areas, resilient lighting is being looked at for residential use in cases of shelter in place (seeking safety within the building one already occupies, rather than to evacuate the area or seek a community emergency shelter).

McGowan noted that there is an IES Design Guide currently in draft form as developed by a Resilient Lighting Committee, and there is an existing British Standard (BSI) published called, “Illumination for Continued Activity” that the North American group can reference and/or build upon.

With The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) having launched a Zero Net Energy Action Plan for all new homes to be Net Zero Energy by 2020, McGowan said Resilient Lighting would complement that effort. [Zero Net Energy buildings produce as much energy as they consume.]

Of growing concern are the statistics that point to an increase in the amount of [large] power failures occurring in the U.S. Having battery- and solar-powered lighting that provides illumination for up to 8 hours on a single charge would help alleviate some of those difficulties. “Photo-voltaic charging systems are ripe for investment,” McGowan remarked. 

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