In addition to light source innovation, there were two distinct themes evident throughout the annual show that underscored where manufacturers are placing an emphasis.
With lighting and controls technology evolving so rapidly, having an annual exposition showcasing the latest innovation has become increasingly important as manufacturers release improvements in all areas: efficacy and longevity, lumen output, color-tuning capability, smaller fixture sizes, and updates to smart controls.
There were more lighting showroom visitors than in years past, most likely due to the increase in light commercial/architectural business at the distributor level as well as the need to stay abreast of improved lighting technology for residential applications as it becomes available. Since this was a year in which the major international lighting technology show Light+Building in Germany was not held, there was an impressive amount of European and South American attendees at Lightfair.
One of the pervasive themes at the show was “human-centric lighting,” and what that means exactly differs from one manufacturer to another (see page 60 for one interpretation). The term “human-centric lighting” has no universally accepted scientific definition or standard, with some exhibiting companies linking it to user preference in choosing color temperature for comfort and others ascribing circadian rhythm benefits.
Lutron demonstrated its HXL “holistic approach to human-centric lighting” through an immersive, private room experience center that hit the following criteria: Quality Light, Natural Light, Connection to the Outdoors, plus Adaptive and Personalized Control. Visitors were ushered into a realistic office setting that simulated one day – from dawn (when an early shift employee comes in) to a high noon client presentation in the conference room to nighttime (when the last employee working late leaves). The demonstration covered not only illumination levels of overhead, decorative, and task lighting throughout the office, but motorized shades on the exterior windows that mechanically lower (based on an astronomical or otherwise timed setting or by the manual push of a button) to reduce unwanted heat and glare from sunlight without obscuring the outdoor view, which was deemed influential in workers’ well-being.
Crestron’s Lightfair booth focused on its commercial product line and featured additions to its award-winning Zūm™ wireless lighting control platform, which operates on a DALI® network-based system. With all the focus on “human-centric” lighting in the industry, however, attendees were still very much interested in the company’s SolarSync daylight sensor with correlated color temperature (CCT) and luminous intensity meter, which were introduced last year at Lightfair.
“Tunable white has many benefits that have been directly linked to our health and productivity, and the idea of having an artificial light source to re-create the natural light has proven effects,” explains Bill Schafer, Executive Sales Director, Crestron Commercial Lighting Control.
Crestron’s SolarSync analyzes the color temperature of the ambient light outdoors and directs the indoor lighting to automatically match it. One of the examples demonstrated was of a classroom, where the natural daylight from the exterior windows can seamlessly match the interior lighting to promote student alertness while enhancing visual comfort levels. The sensor can direct the indoor lighting to match the color and intensity of the sunlight throughout the day, or it can be used to create artistic lighting scenes. Cloudy days are not a problem as the SolarSync has an inclement weather setting to maximize the best lighting effect at all times.
The positive “human-centric” effect that seeing natural daylight has on one’s psyche was very much top-of-mind among exhibiting manufacturers. For those windowless environments where exposure to natural light is not possible due to construction limitations or other factors, Cree’s new architectural-grade Cadiant™ dynamic skylight luminaire realistically recreates the experience of being under a skylight virtually anywhere.
“Since we first introduced the Cadiant concept, it has been met with enthusiasm from across the industry,” comments Kathryn Caspar, VP/Indoor Product Marketing. “Cadiant is a remarkable breakthrough lighting experience that enhances architectural designs with visual impact and dramatic scene-setting, allowing people to feel a real connection to the outdoors. We are excited to announce that it will be available to order this summer.”
So how does it work? Cadiant uses advanced lighting controls in combination with multi-dimensional LED panels and color-changing technology to simulate the natural dawn to dusk, east-to-west arc of the sun. The Cadiant™ skylight is a stand-alone system that uses Cree’s SmartCast® Technology advanced lighting controls to interact and connect with other fixtures in a space. There is an intuitive SmartCast® wall-mounted touchscreen that provides easy control over multiple Cadiant™ dynamic skylights with both automatic presets and manual control to personalize the lighting experience.
Similarly, USAI® Lighting debuted color-tuning capability through its Color Select® Tunable White LED series. The company notes, “Lighting can improve the quality of life of the human beings who use it. Color Select® tunable white light LED downlights from USAI can change color from daylight to candlelight and everything in between, and can recreate the feel of natural daylight for circadian rhythm lighting needs.”
Meanwhile, WAC Lighting unveiled its 2-inch Volta LED recessed die-cast aluminum downlight, which boasts many features and superior glare control for optimal specification. The ultra-compact luminaire can be ordered in six architectural-grade finishes (White, Haze, Haze/White, Black/White, Black, and the new Copper Bronze), selectable outputs up to 1,600 lumens, four beam angles, and a choice of trims. Trim assembly includes a light engine, optics, and lensed trims. Among the highlights are universal voltage with reverse phase and 0-10V dimming included, tool-less serviceability of the driver, and replaceable LEDs.
Lotus LED held a private event off-site, where Lightfair attendees could view the product line up close. In addition to its ultra-slim recessed lighting fixtures in a variety of trims, the company displayed a deeply recessed fixture for maximum light cut-off.
In next month’s highlights from Lightfair, the latest in controls and bulbs will be covered.