Illumination 200

“What hath night to do with sleep?” ― John Milton, 'Paradise Lost'


Illumination 200

March 21, 2023

Replacing oil and natural gas lighting, the first practical electric light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.  Joseph W. Swan filed a similar Electric Lamp Patent in 1880.  One of the first large-scale installations of electric lighting was at the Savoy Theatre in London in 1881, which was followed by the installation of electric lights in the Palace of Westminster in 1882. By the 1890s, electric lighting had become more widespread and affordable.

The widespread transition to LED lighting in buildings began in the early 2010s. While LED technology had been available since the 1960s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that the technology improved to the point where LED lighting was cost-effective and efficient enough to replace traditional lighting technologies like incandescent and fluorescent lighting.  In addition to their energy efficiency, LED lights also have a longer lifespan than traditional lighting technologies, which makes them more cost-effective over the long term.

Today we refresh our understanding of the moment in illumination technologies.  Illumination technology was the original inspiration for the electric utility industry; providing night-time security and transforming every sector of every economy on earth.  Lighting load remains the largest component of any building’s electric load — about 35 percent– making it a large target for energy regulations.

Our inquiry begins with selections from the following documents:

International Electrotechnical Commission TC 34 Lighting

IEC 60364 Electrical Installations in Buildings

2020 National Electrical Safety Code

IEEE P3001.9 – Recommended Practice for the Design of Power Systems Supplying Lighting Systems in Commercial and Industrial Facilities (under development)

Institution of Engineering and Technology: Recommendations for Energy-efficient Exterior Lighting Systems

2020 National Electrical Code: Article 410

2019 ASHRAE 90.1: Chapter 9 Lighting

Illumination Engineering Society: Various titles

ISO/TC 274 Light and lighting

…and about 20 other accredited, consortia or ad hoc standards developers and publishers aligned principally with vertical incumbents.  Illumination was the original inspiration (i.e. the first “killer app”) for the electrical power industry in every nation.  Its best practice literature reflects a fast-moving, shape-changing domain.

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Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation School District Yorkshire Dales


International Commission on Illumination

National Electrical Manufacturers Association

National Electrical Contractors Association

Representative Specifications

Sam Houston State University | Division 26500 Interior and Exterior Lighting

University of Delaware | Division 265100 Interior Lighting

Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo | Division 265100 Interior Lighting

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