LIGHTING PRACTICE: SUSTAINABLE LIGHTING – AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF LIGHTING
|Publication Date:||23 August 2019|
Many lighting design professionals associate environmental impacts only with energy use, primarily because energy considerations are so dominant in lighting. The life cycle of a lighting system is comprised of stages or phases, beginning with the extraction of raw materials and including all stages of material processing, equipment and component production, transportation, use, maintenance, and end of life. Therefore, it is important to consider impacts from all phases of a product's life cycle when assessing environmental impact. For example, what are the impacts of sourcing materials for and producing luminaire housings, reflectors, lenses, and packaging? Is producing a low-iridescent specular coating more environmentally harmful than a simple diffuse white coating? Are the manufacturing processes used to produce an LED more or less harmful to the environment than those for producing an incandescent lamp? What happens to the product at end of life?
This Lighting Practice document is structured into two major sections. Sections 2 through 4 address lighting topics. The annexes address applications of sustainable lighting in a life cycle context.
Section 2 introduces sustainable design and lighting impacts. Section 3 is an overview of sustainable lighting design and describes nine elements that address the central issues facing the lighting practitioner today. Section 4 is a brief summary.
The annexes address assessment and life cycle stages of lighting. Annex A introduces various assessment and rating systems that are used in North America and abroad to understand environmental impacts ranging from extraction of raw materials to the benefits of high performance lighting. Annex B is relevant to the manufacturing process and all those who specify, sell, design, build, and install lighting equipment. Annex C looks at the final stage in the life cycle, when lighting products have the opportunity to be diverted from the waste stream into new resources that can be returned to the "cradle" instead of the "grave" (see Section 2.0 Definitions).
This document can either be read top to bottom as a basic text on sustainable lighting or consulted section by section for specific insights and guidance. This LP is not intended as an exhaustive treatment of the subject of sustainability, which is too broad and dynamic a topic to address completely in one document. Therefore, this document should be viewed as a general guide that introduces the elements that need to be considered when implementing sustainable lighting practices, not a "how to" guide for specific measures.
Sustainability is, in part, about design and technology, but it is also about the process of fundamentally shifting the way designers think about their roles and responsibilities in the world. This document is organized around that shift and is directed to those who are part of the specifications, construction, and operations team. The shift is one of moving away from the perspective that the design team is only responsible for what happens on site to an understanding that their responsibilities span the entire spectrum of the project life cycle.