LEDs are now the go-to thing when it comes to lighting of interior spaces
The lighting technology has brought together efficiency and aesthetics in one holistic package
LEDs have overtaken conventional lighting in the illumination segment of the market in India for a variety of reasons, most notably their extended lifespans, reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance requirements. Increasing demand for energy-efficient lighting systems across commercial, residential and industrial sectors is driving the continuous growth of the LED lighting market.
Explaining the latest trends in LEDs, Sumit Padmakar Joshi, chief executive officer, Signify Innovations India Limited (erstwhile Philips Lighting), states, “While LED penetration will further increase across interior, exterior and industrial lighting spaces, we also foresee the emergence of connected and intelligent lighting. With the world becoming increasingly digital and the IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem expanding, we anticipate a shift towards a fully integrated lighting system in urban spaces, across buildings, retail spaces, hotels and stadiums. We recently announced our new Interact IoT platform for our professional lighting customers, which offers a customisable and tech-enabled lighting experience across industry, retail, sports, urban and office sectors. It delivers new insights to help customers drive operational efficiencies and take effective decisions.”
With organisations focusing on creating an optimum environment for employees to enable both higher productivity and operational excellence, intelligent lighting systems are now invading industrial and office spaces as well. These systems can create a personalised lighting experience for employees and, at the same time, enable building managers to monitor energy consumption and occupancy levels. Furthermore, as modern design sensibilities flow towards simple and clean lines, there is an emergence of new shapes and forms in the LED bulb category – such as the Philips T Bulb and Philips CeilingSecure LED downlighter that were launched in India last year.
Shalini Joshi, assistant product manager, Lighting, Häfele, observes that lighting has always been an important and integral part of any architecture or design. “Lighting, today, is not just restricted to its functional benefit of providing a level of illumination. The trend is moving towards selecting the right lighting for a particular space keeping in view the purpose of illumination. There are three broad dimensions of room illumination: ambient lighting that simply illuminates a particular space; task lighting, which lights up a dedicated space for a specific task; and accent lighting which accentuates a particular space to create an effect or drama.”
Commensurate with the simplicity and ‘cleanliness’ of modern interior design, lighting design in 2019 will be seamless and unobtrusive, with a trend towards ‘feeling’ rather than seeing the light, unless the purpose is to decorate. Ranbir Mehra, director, Jaquar Lighting, believes that lighting a room can be one of the more demanding facets of interior design and decoration. The lighting requirement for different spaces is selected as per the requirement and use of that space. Each space has its purpose, and lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing function, he maintains. “In the case of office and industrial lighting, poor lighting can hamper performance of employees/workers; hence it is crucial to choose the right lighting for them to ensure effective work and performance throughout each day.”
Energy-efficient LED lights are a good option for offices, he adds. “For retail and commercial lighting, it is critical to choose the right lighting in the store/commercial space depending on what kind of atmosphere you want to create for the customers walking in,” informs Mehra. LED lighting can even make a space look larger and spacious. In stores, lighting with LEDs becomes particularly important as all corners and shelves can be well lit with concealed lights. As this type of lighting does not emit UV rays or a noticeable amount of heat, it does away with the damage wrought by these factors on products.
LED adoption at the mainstream level means easier and more affordable green lighting options that promote the health of all of its users, especially because they can be adjusted in terms of brightness and colour, to mimic a more natural shade of light. Rambo Zhang, country head - India, Opple, says, “The amalgamation of technology, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity with LED lighting, has turned out to be the current trend and has become common in the corporate sector. Similarly, residential and industrial sectors are getting more inclined towards flicker-free and anti-glare lighting solutions.”
Future of LED Lighting
The market for LED luminaires is predominantly driven by new installations. It includes lights used in streets, high bays, ceilings, tracks, troffers, and pendants for various applications. LED luminaires deliver more light per output power. They are easier to control, and permit optic designers to use them more proficiently and use less light to illuminate the same area. The introduction of LED lighting has been one of the most significant developments in the lighting industry over the past few years, as LEDs have transformed lighting from analog to digital, enabling users to remotely control and monitor them. The digital capabilities of LEDs enable tremendous customisation in terms of light output and applications.
“We at Signify have been pioneering new technologies in LED, connected and conventional lighting over the past 127 years,” says Sumit Joshi. “We anticipate the demand for LED bulbs to grow exponentially in future owing to rapid urbanisation. Its penetration in India has increased substantially over the past three to four years due to enhanced awareness among consumers about its advantages, such as high durability and lower power consumption, in addition to increased availability and reduced prices. We anticipate this trend to continue. LEDs are fast replacing conventional lighting at workplaces, public infrastructure, industries and homes.”
The digital nature of LED technology has also brought illumination and IoT together, allowing lighting systems to participate in the Internet of Things. This has led to the emergence of connected lighting, marking a significant shift and transforming lighting from a commodity product to a fully integrated lighting system that can seamlessly connect with a wireless network or Ethernet, allowing users to remotely control and monitor their lighting systems.
Shalini Joshi observes, “The innovation in LED technology is being focused on human beings and their increased interaction with lights. The LED technology will replace other types of lighting available in the market, as they have numerous advantages over the other lighting options.” Some of the advantages like energy efficiency, durability, safety, eco-friendliness, choice of colour options and workability even in low voltage, make LEDs a preferred choice with customers.
As an aside, with the target to replace 77 crore incandescent bulbs in India with LEDs, there will be a humongous production of LED bulbs in the coming years. This will create great employment opportunities across different states of India, boosting the ‘Make in India’ campaign. This will also have a great impact on the economy, as LEDs will save India $5.9 billion in bills and result in an annual savings of 100 million kwH of energy. Mehra feels, “Although the Indian LED lighting market is at a nascent stage, there are innumerable opportunities for growth over the next few decades. As India represents one of the biggest lighting markets, it offers a lucrative option for LED manufacturers to set up their facilities in the region. Skilled labour, ease of doing business and demographic advantages provide a sustainable environment for the LED industry.”
Selecting the right LED
As with every new technology, LED lighting has its own set of options and pitfalls. Whether you are hoping to make a home look beautiful or improve the appearance of a business interior, lighting may be the solution – but beware, it can just as easily do the opposite. Mehra states, “There are a series of common mistakes that have been observed while choosing LED lighting for offices and homes. It is important to know a few things that need to be avoided while deciding on the lighting for different spaces.” Sumit Joshi echoes this statement, saying, “LED bulbs come with a host of advantages... However, while switching from conventional lighting solutions to LED bulbs, consumers have to keep certain things in mind.” The first of these factors, naturally for the price-sensitive Indian market, is how much outlay is required for the switch. “It’s important to understand the features and benefits of the LED bulb, rather than focusing on the cheapest bulb. For example, LED bulbs that have less flicker and glare are more comfortable and safer for our eyes in the long term,” he elucidates.
Next on the check-list is buying a product that fulfills compliances. “The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, have prescribed and mandated consumer safety standards for lighting products,” Sumit Joshi points out. However, spurious products available in the market flout these safety norms and can be harmful for consumers. Hence, it’s important to look for the BIS mark while purchasing lighting products. After that comes application – there are different kinds of LED products available in the market for various applications, such as downlighters, T Bulb, LED strips, etc. Consumers should choose products based on the end-application. Then come lumen output and colour temperature. “We require different lumen outputs and colour temperatures for different tasks and time of the day,” says Sumit Joshi. “For instance, we need bright cool white light for high concentration tasks like working, reading and warm yellow light at night while we are relaxing in bed.”
Shalini Joshi sheds light on other aspects connected to selecting the right LED: “There are many similarities in terms of selecting lighting for commercial and residential spaces, but one needs to be aware of the desired mood of the room (kitchen, living, bathrooms, etc) that you intend to create. Functionality of lights is very important, as the customer interacts a lot more with the lighting solution (ambient, task or accent lighting concept); the lighting controls (use of right sensors and dimmers) and the focus on creating a relaxed environment.”
Not enough lighting: While it is obvious that you need enough light to fill a room, it is a lot harder to make it happen. For example; you may be used to a dull lamp in your room or office; because you are used to it, it doesn’t seem all that important. The square footage of your room and the type of room it is, will help determine how many lumens are needed to light it.
Too much light overhead: This is a very common problem with interior lighting. People think that the best solution is to put even light above the room; but it is not always the case. Several interior lighting designers suggest “thinking in layers,” meaning that you use different styles of lighting for each room. This will help tone down areas that are too bright and bring a grander balance to the lighting.
Installing lights at the wrong height: Often, little things like height slip our minds. As the lights illuminate the room, we are good to go – but think; why are we using the light. Is it a lamp by our desk or an accessory for our kitchen? When we take that into account, it becomes easy to decide how high up the lights should be installed.
Not using lampshades or dimmers: We understand that lampshades and dimmers aren’t for everyone. But it’s important to realise that they could make a large difference in how a room looks. They are particularly useful when one is having down-time or expecting company; the former is best enjoyed in cosy lighting, and the latter surrounded by brighter bulbs. These tools can quickly change the atmosphere.
Zhang feels that compromising on the quality of light and not choosing the right lumen capacity as per the demand of the space, are the biggest mistakes people make. “A home space requires less lumen LED as compared to corporate spaces. For instance, using less lumen light in an office space makes the space dull and decreases productivity. People also don’t realise the importance of flicker-free and anti-glare features in LED, and end up buying cheap LEDs which, later on, put strain on their eyesight and cause headaches.”
The new LED lighting systems available in the market can already connect and interact seamlessly with smart controls, networks, devices as well as apps, to offer a customisable and tech-enabled lighting experience – paving the way for a digital world. “We’ve recently introduced Light Fidelity (LiFi), a technology in which high-quality LED lighting provides a broadband internet connection through light waves,” says Sumit Joshi. “As the lighting company for the Internet of Things, we are the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from our existing office lighting portfolio. This technology will offer a safer and secure alternative to Wi-Fi, for applications such as hospitals, government offices and schools. “The power to control lights and appliances digitally has the potential to transform our lifestyles,” he continues. “In the home of 2030, lighting will be able to synchronise with everything from the doorbell to the television and music, and will be fully adjustable to individual preferences. It will pre-empt the user’s needs and complement his/her wellbeing, energise, relax and keep all users safe.”
Remote-controlled lighting makes it easier for users to turn off lights when not in use, without the trouble of doing it manually. Combining digital show controllers with colour-changing and tunable white light LED luminaires allows users to transform environments. Sophisticated lighting software offers centralised, remote ‘lightpoint’ management. Shalini Joshi states that the concept of controlling the lighting digitally from a remote location is increasingly gaining traction and everyone wants to experience this technology first-hand. The popularity that this concept has gained is not only due to the benefits the customers enjoy in terms of functionality, but also because of the wow factor that is attached to it.
The popularity of having digital control over lights is very limited right now, but it is definitely increasing. Currently, it’s mostly used by offices and high-end homes. Zhang states, “For residences, a few of our products like JBL ceiling light and Smart O have gained popularity amongst consumers, where they can listen to music and control lighting through our app/ Bluetooth.”
Residences and LEDs
Though most LED lighting fixtures are considered low-voltage – meaning they either have a transformer built in, or require an external transformer -- the good news is that it is not necessary to rewire a house to use LEDs. All the wiring that is commonly used in houses is perfectly fine for use with LEDs. Sumit Joshi states: “Owing to the high number of advantages, LED lights are gradually replacing conventional lights, both in residential and office spaces. As the initial prices of LEDs was much higher than conventional products, their penetration was restricted to the upper end of the segment only. However, post government initiatives like UJALA, the prices of LEDs have come down drastically – and this has led to a significant penetration of the product in the market.”
LEDs are now available at multiple price points and for diverse applications. At the high end of the spectrum, there’s a range of connected LEDs that can be remotely controlled and monitored as well. Shalini Joshi observes, “Increased adoption of LED lighting is being witnessed in the residential sector due to greater awareness of the various benefits that LED technology has over the older ones. The acceptance of LED lighting has been extended to all segments of the market because of technological innovations, favourable government initiatives to provide LED lights at subsidised cost, rising consumer awareness about cost effectiveness and eco-friendliness of LED lights.”
hen it comes to residential lighting, the requirement of each room is different. For example, the living room lighting needs to be warm and welcoming, while bedrooms have to be soothing and peaceful, without any harsh colours. “LEDs, which are available in different colours and options, can fulfill the requirement and make a house look more attractive and homely,” explains Mehra.
The lighting market in India has evolved gradually over the years, and there is a visible shift from functional lighting to aesthetic lighting. Indian industry players believe that intelligent lighting solutions that perform intuitively are, indeed, the future of LED lighting.
CASE STUDY: One Avighna Park, Mumbai
One of Mumbai’s luxury residential projects - the 61-storeyed One Avighna Park at Lower Parel - has an entrance lobby that reflects the sheer scale of the project. Transcendence, the stunning creation of 54,450 imported crystals lit with LED lights, has made it to the 2017 edition of Limca Book of Records - which has lauded the fantastic feature as the “Largest art installation made of crystals in the lobby of a residential tower.”
A striking detail of the LED-powered art installation is that the Egyptian crystals, each with a diameter of 40mm, add up to a length of 2.6km. The creation weighs over 5,000kg and is fixed at a height of more than 12ft, lending a majestic look to the lobby. “Transcendence is one of the fine details that define this iconic building,” says Nishant Agarwal, managing director, Avighna India, adding that every effort has been made in terms of architecture, construction and amenities to give the residents a truly luxurious lifestyle - and an extensive use of LED lights through the tower is part of that vision.
Project architect Carl Bhesania explains, “The main reasons for choosing LED lighting at One Avighna Park was because of its energy efficiency. Since LED lights use less power per unit of light as compared to the light bulb or CFL, and also considering the comparatively longer lifespan of LED lights, the power consumption - as well as the electricity bill - is significantly reduced. The design elements were also enhanced because of LED lights in indoor as well as outdoor areas like the main lobby, lift lobby, club house and the landscaped outdoor areas.”
For instance, the luxury project used very high-end LED lights from iGuzzini to highlight the crystal chandelier installed in the main lobby. While COB (chips on board) LED fittings were used for most of the indoor areas, the multi-purpose sports hall saw the use of LED flood-lights. Similarly, LED spike lights were used for illumination of the landscape; LED task lights highlighted specific design elements; and LED tubes illuminated the entire car park. Significant energy savings of 50-55% resulted because of the 8,000 to 10,000 LED lights used across the property within areas like the lift lobbies and podiums. “While LED lights generally tend to be a bit more expensive than regular CFL light fittings, more so when it comes to dimmable LED lights, they deliver huge savings over their lifespan. The pros of using LED lights far outweigh the cost factor, and the use of LED lighting is highly recommended,” maintains Bhesania.