The Mercer Zimmerman team was excited to attend Lightfair, the world’s largest annual architectural tradeshow and conference, this year to learn more about the biggest trends we are seeing right now, and that we will begin to see in 2016.
One of the biggest things we expected to learn about at this year’s Lightfair was how the rise of LED technology continues to transform every part of the commercial lighting industry. Users are wanting the most out of LED fixtures: energy efficiency, dimming compatibility, high CRI, a range of CCT options, and color temperature adjustments- dim to warm and dynamic white. LEDs can be used in virtually any application with greatly improved color quality and warm CCTs at high CRI levels.
Another big topic at this year’s Lightfair was the color-rendering index (CRI). The CRI has been used to compare fluorescent and HID lamps for over 50 years. But, it is now being argued that the eight basic color samples used to determine a general CRI number are not enough to truly represent good color rendering. A long-term research and development process is underway to develop a revised color quality metric that would be applicable to all white light sources.
2015 and 2016 is sure to bring many trends, but some that we are most excited for are…
1. The transformation of fixture design (new shapes and sizes) because of the small size of LEDs
2. The convergence of light fixtures and technology. The LED migration is stimulating a huge increase in the installation of intelligent lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, photosensors, individual fixture control, smart phone control, wireless controls, and the software and wireless networks that link them together. Many systems also have metering and reporting capabilities to track
3. The ability to have digitally controllable white light within a certain color temperature range (aka “dynamic white”, “intelligent white”, “tunable white”). This is especially attractive in the healthcare industry.
4. The opportunity for LED to mimic the dimming behavior of incandescent and halogen lighting. The color temperature of the light drops (becomes redder and “warmer”) as the light is dimmed (aka “warm dimming”, “dim to warm”, “sunset dimming”). This is especially attractive in the hospitality industry.
In previous years, we have seen the same large lamp sources rendered for the same fixture designs. Now, with the small size of LEDs, the potential for creative designs is limitless. LED technology has also pushed quality and efficacy to new levels that we have never seen before.
Everyone will be affected by these trends – agents, distributors, contractors, engineers, architects, lighting designers, and owners! We are excited to see how designers and owners respond to the ever evolving technology.