How a City in Sweden Made Their Children Healthier

Uppsala a city in Sweden has found an innovative way to improve the health (both physical and mental) of the children in the city while they endure the dark winters, light the playground.

With the installation of adjustable LED lighting the park found that during a two week period before the installation of the lighting children on average played outside for an average of 72 minutes a day while after the lights had been installed children were playing outside for 99 minutes this is a 37% increase in time that children would play outside for.

The children who participated in the study were aged between five and six, it was found that with the increase of time spent outdoors that the time the children spent watching television and playing on gadgets such as tablets, games consoles and phones decreased by 15% to 61 minutes a day compared to the 72 minutes they had previously spent. Another observation was that the children spent more time with their parents as they were also playing with their children in the playground.

Parents of the children involved in the study found that there was an improvement in the mood, appetites and sleeping patterns of their children once the lights had been installed in the playground. After playing outside 57% of parents noticed a positive change in their child’s mood, 28% also noticed that their child’s appetite was better after being outside playing and 43% of parents claimed that their child’s sleeping pattern was impacted in a positive way.

Phillips who carried out the study made the point of saying that having a good night of sleep can have positive effects on a persons health including reducing the risk of obesity and depression, they also stated that memory and brain development could be improved through a good nights sleep. During the winter months there are only six hours of daylight each day so with children sending more time outside playing rather than playing on gadgets means that the circadian rhythm can be reset.

The Mayer of Uppsala who has two children made the comment that children are benefiting from the playground and the lights that have been installed in it as the winter months are so dark.


Sharing our Information with LEDs

Research carried out by lighting giant GE has found that we are more than willing to share our personal information including the location of our phones with retailers, this is much higher than originally predicted and there is in fact a desire for this form of connectivity.

Out of those who participated in the survey there were only 21% of people who were not comfortable sharing information with retailers, making it look as if the fear over privacy is over estimated. There were 1000 participants involved in the survey ranging across many ages who were asked about how they felt about Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS). IPS works by using technology including Bluetooth, cameras and Visible Light Communication (VLC) and is integrated into existing light fittings and other forms of infrastructure to communicate with customers technology including mobile phones. IPS can pinpoint the customer’s location to within two meters of where they are positioned.

Of the 79% of participants who were willing to share their information with retailers 75% of these felt that the retailers would then be able to provide support in terms of navigation around their stores. On top of this 59% felt that they would be more likely to visit the stores if they had offers and promotions tailored to their interests.

When analyzing the results the researchers found that there was a split between age groups, those aged between 18 and 24 were a lot less concerned about privacy with just 8% saying that they did not trust retailers with their personal information including location, compared to 28% of those aged over 55. Continuing with this 59% of people felt that the option to opt in to services that can track their location.

39% of consumers are said to have used their mobiles while in stores to compare and check prices of products within that store and of other stores that sell the same product. It was also discovered that 66% of those surveyed felt that their experience of visiting stores where you can interact with them would improve their overall experience of the store.


New Energy Rules for UK Businesses

In July of 2014 all large businesses with over 250 employees have to comply wit the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESoS). This scheme requires large organisations to confront how much energy is being consumed and trying to find ways to reduce their consumption. The scheme gives businesses the opportunity to make changes but they are under no legal obligation to make any changes to their energy consumption at all.

With the scheme in full flow those who registered their eligibility in December 2014 are now trying to make sure that the essential audit is carried out by December of this year.

There are however always some companies and organisations that feel that the ESoS is just another box checking exercise that dose not necessarily need to be payed attention to or completed. there are however companies that are using this as an opportunity to save energy and money.  However with the audits being compulsory companies do have to stand up and face reality in terms of how much energy they are using annually, this could give those businesses who are dragging their heels the motivation to change their ways saving up to £1.6 billion for UK companies.

When asked how important prioritizing energy efficiency is by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 91% of those businesses asked stated that it was ‘high’ or ‘quite high’ importance.

Businesses can make changes in lighting to save energy in a prompt manner with fairly little cost compared to other energy saving methods, the return on investment (ROI) is a major incentive as it is usually repaid quickly in less than five years in many cases.

up to 40% of a buildings electricity use comes from lighting alone so it is no wonder that the guidance from ESoS surrounding lighting suggests LED lighting, Occupancy Sensors, daylight sensors and effective management as a way to reduce the cost of lighting and energy savings within a building. It is clear to see that the government is still investing time into improving lighting and reducing the energy emitted from lights.

Many people see changing lighting as an obvious way to reduce energy and energy costs lighting has come a long way in recent years and has the ability to change further in the next decade possibly becoming more cost effective. Customers will however need guidance on what products are available and that best suit them and their business.

CFL’s were once seen as highly energy efficient and while they still are compared to LEDs they don’t emit the same brightness, have a higher energy consumption and produce excess heat that LED does not, LEDs are capable of saving a consumer up to 75% energy use and this proves to be hugely popular. It is also claimed by the Carbon Trust that new LED fittings prove to be even more effective at saving energy and reducing energy bills than LED retro fit lamps.

LED Lighting in 2030

A report that has been released by the US department of energy has predicted that by 2030 74% of the lighting market will be white LED light sources.The study focused on four areas of lighting throughout their research including residential, commercial, industrial and outdoor stationary lighting. The report that is named energy Savings Potential of Solid-state Lighting in General Illumination Applications, has made the prediction that  the worlds need and reliance on LED light forms will save us 2.7 trillion Kilowatt hours of energy over the next two decades. With these savings being made 1.8 billion tones of carbon in the form of green house gasses will also be reduced. By 2020 it is predicted that 36% of the lighting market will be penetrated with LED lighting with the level of penetration reaching 74% by 2030. With this in mind the electricity consumed by lighting could reduce to as much as 46%.

Though this study focuses on the US market and energy uses the savings made could also be reflected in other parts of the world including the UK and Europe as a whole. But with 2030 being 15 years away there is always the possibility that further advancements in LED’s occur or the possibility that more developments in lighting could steer us away from LED lighting and onto other ways to light our buildings for a fraction of the price.


Hospitality’s Lighting Trends

Lighting trends come and go within the hospitality setting, but what is in fashion right now, here are ten of the most current trends taking hold within hospitality.

1. Currently old style bulbs including incandescent are proving very popular from a decorative view point to the annoyance of the government. ‘Squirrel cages’ are proving to be seriously popular in bars, restaurants and hotels where they create a certain atmosphere in a decorative manner. LED manufacturers including UKLED are increasingly becoming aware that hospitality settings are wanting decorative fittings and are creating these fittings using LED filament technology so that the atmosphere is there as well as energy cost savings.

2. Halogen fittings are increasingly becoming less popular making room for LED retro-fits to squeeze into their market instead. GU10’s and MR16’s are now commonly being replaced with their LED counterpart in pubs hotels and restaurants saving maintenance and energy costs much to the delight of the hospitality sector. The pay back time on investment is getting shorter and shorter now as LED’s are becoming cheaper and of higher quality, they also come with warranty periods the same lengths as TV’s.

3. Hospitals are now becoming aware that lighting has a huge effect on their patients and recovery, it also has a mayor impact on our body clock or circadian rhythm. Hotels have also picked up on the effect lighting has on their customers circadian rhythm with Hotel Rafayel in London having special rooms with lighting that can help to reduce jet lag in some of their customers who have been on long haul flights.

4. One technology that is becoming ever more popular to work with alongside LED lighting are lighting controls, they can be used to create atmosphere, turn lights off when its bright outside and dim lights without disturbing customers. The one issues with control systems is that they can sometimes become confusing despite what the manufacturers tell us, their appearance is also something yet to be desired as they can appear clunky.

5. Lighting can be used to emphasize the architecture of a building and create an ambiance, architects who are designing buildings feel that lighting needs to be considered while the building is being designed to make it a focal point in the design, as well as creating a warm inviting atmosphere inside.

6.  Many hospitality settings use colored lighting whether internal or external, there has been a divide in opinion on whether it is used well, some settings use it effectively and in a complementary manner whereas other settings overload the building with unnecessary and garish colors. It is now of an opinion that colored lighting is now being used in more effective and flattering ways.

7. As lights are becoming more energy efficient the hospitality industry are starting to overuse and increase the number of lights within their facilities so despite the fact that the energy consumption is less for each lamp when they are installing more lights the energy consumption actually becomes greater than originally, this has been referred to as the Jevons paradox.

8. Standing out from the crowd for those in the hotel and dining can sometimes be a challenge, to make themselves more noticeable branded lighting within their facilities is becoming more popular.

9. The first wave of LEDs that  were put onto the market were not all that great at times, they glared and were unflattering at the best of times but now that many improvements and advancements have been made LEDs are now more effective in efficiently lighting the hospitality industries bars, hotels and restaurants giving it a whole new atmosphere.

10. The advancement in LED technology means that they are now capable of more than just lighting a room they are able to track our movements with amazing accuracy through our mobile phones, this would make walking round large venues easier if there were interactive maps available through phone apps.



Breaking News!

Yesterday UKLED’s new T8 eco tubes reached 130lm per watt, and the T8 standard and HB tubes reached 140lm per watt. This is a 30 percent light increase for eco tubes and 28 percent on standard and HB tubes.

Fighting Diseases with LEDs

In many developing countries around the world catching diseases spread by insects is a common occurrence, for those who have light bulbs of any form the light emitted from them is attractive to the insects. With so many insects being attracted to the light emitted from bulbs the type being used by an individual could be having a negative effect on their health in terms of contracting vector-borne diseases.

Across the world around six million people (a high percentage of these being in Latin America) have been infected with Chagas disease which is transferred to people from a bug that is drawn towards light. The same goes for sand flies which transfer a parasite that is responsible for killing over 200,000 each year and mosquitoes that carry malaria.

A study that has been conducted and published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B found that it’s not all light that these bugs and insects are attracted to but certain wavelengths emitted from the light.

It is possible that LED bulbs could be tailored to wavelengths that the bugs are not attracted to in a bid to reduce the amount of insects that are attracted to the light.

Certain light colours including violet, ultraviolet and blue are attractive for insects including moths but these wavelengths affect the circadian rhythm of humans affecting their ability to sleep. Because of this Students from UCLA undertook a project with Philips to see if changing the colour of the light would reduce the number of insects attracted to the  LED light while still having it bright enough for use indoors. A one off prototype was created that emitted different wavelengths than a shop bought LED lamp.

The prototype and the shop bought bulb were tested in two areas one rural and the other in an urban area and left for one month. After the month was over 5,579 insects had been collected in all the traps with over 67% of the insects belonging to the mosquito family. It was also discovered that the customised LED lamp attracted 20% less insects that the shop bought lamp meaning that if more of these prototypes were to be installed in countries where houses don’t all have screen doors or windows in houses the amount of people who contract diseases due to insects could be reduced. More research is needed to provide evidence that changing the colour wavelengths in lighting could reduce the amount of insects attracted to lights within homes and buildings.

Watch Out For Cheap LEDs

LEDs are becoming increasingly popular within businesses, councils as well as our own homes but buyers are being warned to keep an eye out for products that may not necessarily meet EU standards. The prices of LEDs are dropping sue to competition between suppliers but some suppliers may unknowingly be supplying dangerous lamps to unsuspecting customers.

LEDs are known to save money on a long term basis, as well as increased longevity and consuming less energy. But now with dangerous and faulty lamps making it onto the British market the reputation of LEDs is being tarnished.

A recent episode of BBC 1 program Fake Britain highlighted the concerns surrounding imported LED lamps. The program showed a shipment of around 1000 lamps that had been imported from china into the east coast of the UK, when samples from this shipment were tested it was found that there was an inadequate amount of insulation as well as live elements that were exposed.

When the samples had been tested it was found that the voltage running through the lamp was much higher that the 60 vaults outlined in the European Safety Standards. What seemed to cause real concern in this shipment was the fact that all lamps had been marked with the CE mark that all products should have to show it complies with the regulations set out for products within Europe.

Advice given to consumers who want to buy LED products is that when buying stay away from products that are in plain unbranded boxes and buy from reputable retailers as tests will have already been carried out to assure the safety of the product.

Eradicating Age Difference in the Office

Offices tend to have a wide range of ages within their company from late teens to mid sixties, it is obvious that a wide range of ages means that the needs of employees are different, this is also true wen it comes to levels of lighting. Phillips are now saying that employees should have control of their own lighting.

The Dutch company have tried to introduce the concept of ‘Connected Lighting for Offices’ which was first introduced a year ago. It involves employees having access to a smartphone app that is connected to the lighting that is above each individual  which they can adjust to their needs, each of the lights would have their own internet address that is connected to an Ethernet network.

During a press release Philips mentioned that a person aged forty-five or over tends to need twice as much light than a person who are in their twenties for even everyday tasks and jobs. They also said that the workforce is slowly aging with up to fifty percent of office workers being over the age of forty-five and as they need up to twice as much light having the ability to adjust this to their preferred settings would have the potential to increase productivity of the workforce for the older and younger.

Philips also suggested that the wrong lighting within the office could affect a persons health and the ability to work productively. One of the scientists who works for Philips stated that many people will phone into work with sickness due to headaches and fatigue, it is suggested that maybe eyestrain over a prolonged period could be an underlying cause of their complaints. Poor lighting has the ability to cause eye-strain, headaches, neck pain and possibly prolonged sick leave.

Carried out in 2013 a survey by Philips found that 90% of people who had the ability to change their own lighting levels for their desk had many positive side effects such as ‘sharper vision’ the ability to see fine detail and ‘optimum eye comfort’.

Philips also think that government should introduce regulations for individualized lighting for employees, as up to 20% of the time spent indoors is working. If the employees are comfortable their performance on the job should be effected in a positive way.

LEDs to Guide You?

Imagine a world where your lights don’t just brighten up dark areas and light up our streets at night, but help to guide you around a shop to find what you need as quick as possible. This is now a very possible reality with the help of Visible Light Communication (VLC), this technology has encoded data embedded within the LED light. though this sounds complicated in actual fact all LEDs flicker but the human eye is not capable of picking this up whereas the cameras inbuilt into our Smart phones are, turning this slight flicker into a digital flicker means that our phones would be capable of picking it up while still not having an effect on the human eye. The cost of this would not be much as it is as simple as installing a driver that has been programmed in a way to emit these signaling flickers.

This concept it currently being aimed at being used within indoor spaces such as shops and museums. VCL has the ability to be even more precise that GPS with a 10cm dependency for accuracy. To make it work each Lamp needs to emit a unique signal continually so when the phone picks up the signal it pinpoints where you are within the shop.

to retailers the use of VCL seems like a logical one because many of their customers already use mobile devices within their stores, some stores also have a digital layout of the shop ready to be used within this system, to guide their customers to the item that they are looking for and also advertise any special offers or promotions. this could have a large difference on larger stores, supermarkets, department stores and shopping centers where its not always easy to find what you are looking for.

A trial of a similar system has recently been installed by Philips in a museum in the Netherlands and it is hoped that this system could be adapted for use in retail settings.