Nancy Gross 2015-04-20 15:47:09
When I was a kid, one of my science fair projects was a model of a human eye. My father—a mechanical engineer who specialized in optics, and who had worked on a lens that went to the moon on the Lunar Module—helped my friend and I. (It just occurred to me that I may have been an odd kid, seeing that the words “lunar module” were part of my very early vocabulary.) I recall lessons on reflection, refraction, and getting to work with my dad’s collection of lenses, so we had quite the setup, though the prize we won should have gone to him; the end result was a little bit over my head. What does stick with me was my father’s ingenuity in letting us use the plastic globe from a 1970s basket-style hanging lamp for the eyeball. We even had the green light to draw red lines on it to simulate the blood supply, with a water-based marker, of course. I can’t help but think that an eyeball made from a lamp is very fitting. You can’t talk about lighting without considering the impact on the eye. Light levels, color temperature, and containment of light can be important factors that affect the comfort of employees, patrons, and others, both in and out doors. Lighting, and whether it is pleasant and optimal for the tasks at hand, plays a part in worker productivity, too. Safety doesn’t always mean maximum lighting because glare is a big concern when it comes to protecting against crime, road hazards, and general light pollution. The light spectrum affects circadian rhythms too, which can either disrupt or aid in sleep and ultimately in health. Outdoor lighting impacts animals sleep cycles as well. The ways of light and eyes are truly “more than meets the eye.” You also can’t talk about lighting and talk only about eyes. Lighting interacts with the heating and cooling of buildings, so it affects other kinds of comfort, convenience, and efficiencies. Sophisticated controls can allow for integration with HVAC, and also simplify the tasks of workers and users of buildings. Longer-life fixtures result in less maintenance, which can also mean fewer safety hazards when it comes to changing out ceiling lights, in particular in auditoriums and other large spaces. Plug-and-play technologies have become available, but it is important to know what you are doing when replacing older kinds of lights with LEDs. There are many aspects of lighting experiencing technological upgrades. In all, facilitating electricity savings while driving other bottomline cost reductions is a big win for energy managers, and is something they can get behind. It is also a win for the environment. Lighting is more than how it appears in the eye of the beholder. It is more than simple lamps with globes as round as eyeballs. A discussion about light may start from these humble beginnings; in the end, light touches on everything. BE
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