LED and consumerism

Singapore, 14th May 2012

Some contractual project negotiations, a supplier’s follow up visit (we get that a lot after L&B Frankfurt), some project planning, a client meeting, a few design and specification issues to resolve and lots of emails and skype communications…  and that was Monday gone….

In one of the LinkedIn groups some-one introduce an integrated continuous glass media wall. Looks like a great concept (but really what’s new?) the difference being that it is already pre-sandwiched in laminated glass and allows continuous mounting without any visual interruption. That in itself is great and may reduce a lot of potential failures (but I don’t know the finer technical installation details), as with LED’s most of our issues are in the installation and proper maintenance.

This brings me to one of my frequent worries with LED’s. How do we deal with maintenance and the potential need for replacement? No product is perfect, there is always some initial failure or installation problem. This is something that somehow gets lost in the sales story, maybe even in the product development story! In the case of this glass window it looks like you would have to replace the complete glass window if one or more of the lights are failing. Besides the amount of work it is (imagine it a few stories high up a building façade) and the cost of replacing the window (material and labour), a cost generally not accounted for in any ROI calculation, it is also an example of consumerism.

Nowadays when you have a little scratch on the bumper of your car they make you replace the complete bumper instead of just making good the bumper area. Or if you blow a build-in fuse in a cable plug, you have to buy a complete cable plug set. We now see the same happening with LED lighting, certainly with the integrated systems. If the LED does not work you are more or less forced to replace the whole window, while there is nothing wrong with the widow itself. This consumerism is a worrying trend and it seems the LED technology is somehow encouraging manufacturers to develop their systems such as to force consumers to spend more. I think it is time for the manufacturers to take a serious look at this.

Light Watch 3-66: The glass window media wall

14. May 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and the economy, lighting design | Leave a comment

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