Value your luminaire other than for its light

So you think you have designed the best performing, most efficient, longest lasting and most desirable luminaire in the world, but once left to fend for itself in the consumer jungle, who knows what will happen! More than likely it will never realise its true potential in all these areas.

More opportunities than just lighting

The non-lighting aspects of Solid State Lighting technologies such as LEDs has given rise to previously unseen opportunities for lighting companies to intervene in their products life story. This intervention bringing with it value to the company through redefining the relationships between their products and customers.

The Philips 'Pay-per-lux'-initiative demonstrates the potential for an alternate business customer transaction based on servicing the performance of light, rather than just the technical performance of the product. Although a move to a service based transaction with customers may seem a big step for many companies, the products themselves are making it a common-sense transition.

The evolution of light fittings

Think of what a luminaire can do now, which would have been impossible a few years ago: 

  • Manage its energy efficiency through smart monitoring & automated control capabilities
  • Manage its life through thermal protection, power optimisation, use controls and maintenance diagnostics
  • Manage its extended life or next life through modular upgradable components and flexible performance to fit user requirements
  • Manage its resources through designed-in refurbishment, remanufacture and ultimately manage its end of life through designed-in recyclability 

All of these product attributes can bring huge environmental benefits in extended product life, diverting luminaires from premature obsolescence and an early trip to the landfill site. They also bring huge opportunities to support your client to realise these benefits.

Market support

Beyond the product, the market place too is supporting this transition, with sectors such as street lighting and large commercial/industrial clients looking to align their procurement choices with corporate social responsibility ambitions. The companies that proactively offer this environmental and social performance benefits are undoubtedly stepping ahead of the followers when vying for these large contracts. However the customer benefits still resonate at a smaller scale, with clients not wanting the responsibility of maintenance, while always desiring the best performing lighting.

This places a dual responsibility for any company manufacturing luminaires in today’s marketplace; do your products maximise the potential to perform in this new era, and does your company maximise the opportunities to benefit from this enhanced performance?

Oriented towards service

The moment you start to consider the opportunities for servicing the performance of your products there is a need to redefine what performance means for your company. The technical attributes of light qualities that are defined in the thermal, optical, mechanical and electrical design specification; now have to be considered in parallel with the stewardship of energy, resources and relationships. These service orientated performance aspects become just as important for customer ‘performance satisfaction’ as the physical product.

The bottom line is that leaving your products unprepared to work for you throughout their life seems a little crazy! The hardest thing is to secure a client and maintain a relationship with them, so why not let the newfound intelligence of your product be your greatest ambassador?

The author of this article is Philip Harfield, Senior Project Officer at Ecodesign Centrepart of the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research in Cardiff, UK. Ecodesign Centre is a contributor to the cycLED collaborative project.

During the workshop How to truly eco-innovate in the lighting industry?on 11 February he will run the following Workshop: Exploring values and strategies'.

During this cycLED workshop there are also two contributions from the Lighting for People project. There will be discussions concerning examples of value creation with light, specifically about how lighting contributes towards comfort and a sense of well-being. In the following Techniline article (login required) you will find a number of examples of how lighting products can increase the quality of life through using light.