IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Willem Dammers and Eric Heutinck
The future of light in five statements: trends
By: Jessica Merkens
There has to be a transition from sustainable design to sustainable use
There has been a rapid development in the field of lighting in the last twenty years, partly because of the rise of LED-lighting. What revolutionary ideas can we expect in the near future? We discuss five trends and statements to lighting experts Willem Dammers and Eric Heutinck.
1. In twenty years no-one will ‘own’ light
Willem: When looking back, the development of light has taken an incredible step forward. As an end user, you actually shouldn’t want to own light anymore.
Eric: There are many advantages to a model in which a manufacturer remains an owner of his products and a consumer only pays for use. You will get a better product design and also the materials would be used more carefully, since the product would always return to its manufacturer. The user doesn’t have to make a substantial initial investment of buying a product anymore. It’s a great concept. In my opinion, the switch to a pay-for-use model could not go fast enough. Realistically, I hope we will see it within the next twenty years or so.
What you’d want is to think about the light at the beginning so that it can really support the design
2. Pay-for-use is the solution for excessive use of energy
Eric: Lighting uses power. When the manufacturer is also the one paying the energy bill, he’ll make sure he is installing the most energy-efficient lighting. He might install a smart system. Lighting that automatically switches off when the room is empty, for instance. If he wouldn’t be the one paying the energy bill, then who cares about energy use? That’s the strength of this model.
Willem: There has to be a transition from sustainable design to sustainable use, there is a big difference between the two. You can design a sustainable building, but the user might use rooms in a functionally different way, maybe open some windows here and there.
3. It’s better to have an ordinary building with an intelligent lighting plan than a poorly lit state of the art building
Willem: Lighting enables you to make your building stand out. Architecture and energy-efficiency can go really well together, they’re not opposites. The Green House in Utrecht is a lovely example. A beautiful building, a real architectural highlight and also extremely sustainable. In the end, it’s also about creating a pleasant ambience.
Eric: Sometimes you see that a lot of money has been pumped into the architectural or interior design while the decisions about lighting are made at the end of the construction process. What you’d want is to think about the light at the beginning so that it can really support the design.
You have to work closely together with the architect, the installer and the advisor to create the most optimal building for the client
4. Lighting is a creative profession
Eric: Absolutely. You really have to look closely at the application and creativity is a big part of that. Are we talking about a restaurant or office and what kind of lighting would fit best?
Willem: It is also dependent on the function of the area in a building. An entrance can stand out by using special lighting, as compared to an office room that has to be functionally lit to create a comfortable working environment.
5 There’s too much conservative thinking in the construction industry about lighting
Willem: Definitely. A client has an image in his head of the perfect building. Where it usually goes wrong is when his plan is passed on to the different parties, who all have to compromise somewhere. In the end, the client stands in front of his building questioning whether this was what he had in mind.
Eric: There’s an essential difference between the owner and end user of a building, which complicates things. It’s easiest when the owner and end user are the same person, for instance in private housing. But in a lot of buildings, such as offices, that’s not the case. The owner invests, the user pays rent and the energy bill. Is the owner really going to invest in energy efficient lighting when he doesn’t have to pay the bills?
Willem: The most important way to get a proper lighting design in a building is to talk to the client. What does he want, does he want his building to stand out and how? You have to work closely together with the architect, the installer and the advisor to create the most optimal building for the client.