“There has never been a better time to be a part of the IES…” that was the opening remarks from IES President, Lance Bennet from Eaton, at the IES Annual Conference held in Boston, MA on August 8-11, 2018. This remark alone set a tone for a very positive multiple day event in which multiple speakers discussed the plan that IES set in motion back in 2014 for the future of IES. Since IES was founded in 1906 the Industry has never moved forward more quickly and as Lance quoted from Tony Fadell (Co-Creator of the Apple iPod) “today is the slowest we will ever go”. This could not be any more true.
I personally, on my first job interview in lighting was asked what I thought about LED lighting. My naive response at that time was “you mean those terrible little landscape solar powered lights that don’t work?” The room full of professionals looked at me with smirks on their faces and the company owner simply replied “Its’ going to change the world”. To think that we have evolved from a world of high pressure sodium, halogen and fluorescent lamps to now a world that is no longer in lighting but rather in the electronics industry and just happens to create light has moved in such an enormously alarming pace, that this as result was the main topic of discussion for the speakers at the IES Annual Conference.
The Open Plenary session was a main topic event in which Naomi Miller (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) was the moderator and George Brainard (Thomas Jefferson University), Mariana Figueiro (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Katherine Stekr (Horton Lees Brogden), and Jennifer Veitch (National Research Council) were the speakers. Jennifer Veitch introduced a new term “integrative lighting” (not to be confused with integrated lighting which refers to embedded controls within fixtures). Integrative lighting is defined as “lighting specifically designed to produce a beneficial physiological and/or psychological effect upon humans”. This term is commonly and unfortunately loosely referred to as human centric or circadian lighting, but Veitch explained that after years of research they have determined there are 5 photoreceptors that need to all be studied with equal importance for human health.
Katherine Stekr (HLB), warned that circadian lighting has become a “buzz” word and right now clients think they need it but it’s just too early to implement any of these systems that are really in their infancy. Going forward, the new term, integrative lighting, is what we should all be commonly using as we are not doctors and are not giving “doses” of light to patients. George Brainard showed a picture of the 51 solid state lighting (SSL) modules installed on the International Space Station (ISS) on August 10, 2018 by Kate Rubens, PH.D. This is the beginning of the inflight study on how SSL will actually affect circadian rhythm. Brainard urged the audience during his presentation to choose “evidence based lighting, not opinion based” until we’ve completed more research.
Aside from the speaker presentations, IES Sections around the world were brought together to attend the leadership forum, which typically is held the day before the annual conference each year. Megan Carroll (IES Conference Chair) gave a moving welcome in which she stated that the reason why we come to the conference each year is for “Learning. Growing. Networking. Being part of something bigger than yourself.” While there are actual people that work for IES, 90% of everyone involved are all volunteers for sections and the many committees within IES. We do this for no other reason than we simply love lighting. The actual mission statement of IES is “the IES seeks to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public”.
I hold the honor of being the District 5 chair for IES. District 5 consists 12 sections in the western United States (AZ, CA, CO, HI, NV & UT). By getting together annually at the leadership forum and in district specific meetings we all grow and become more united as groups within IES as opposed to being more focused on just our sections. It’s so great to hear about all the wonderful and amazing events sections all over are holding. It is also incredibly humbling to be reminded that no matter how much you think you may know and understand, how many brilliant professionals work in our industry and have unique perspectives and knowledge. IES is and will always be relevant for that reason alone. It’s the only organization in our industry in which everyone can come together and is always encouraged to move forward towards a brighter future.