Perth 1st July 2013
Back in wintery Perth…cold at night but glorious weather (sunny and blue skies) during the day! While (whistle blower) Edward Snowdon is still holed up in Moscow awaiting his asylum request into Equador, US president Obama tours Africa amidst news that Nelson Mandela is in critical condition and intensive care…today’s world news is one sentence for you…what is the link to lighting you will ask? Well what made me choose this subject for today’s blog is Obama’s announcement that the US will initiate a U$ 9 billion program to help bring electricity to the poor regions of the continent. While we may take electricity for granted, most of Africa as I understand is without (much) electricity!!
In this day and age in the developed world without disrespect, it is hard to understand life without electricity. Certainly my profession as lighting designer would be under serious threat! Hence Obama’s announcement, even though probably politically motivated and under pressure of having to offer “something” in terms of goodies during his visit in these impoverished nations, struck me and made me stand still on how blessed we are working on an environment that has electricity in abundance. Some of the more remote regions we have projects may suffer some black or brown outs but generally there is electricity.
It puts our work in perspective and makes our task of minimising electricity use for lighting even more relevant. We have always done that as part of our professional skills and though we first called it energy saving and nowadays sustainability, the drive to maximise lighting output and minimise energy consumption has always been one of our key design considerations. When I hear these kind of announcements it does (it should!) remind you again when engaging in your next design on how to treasure our resources and not take everything for granted!
Light Watch 4-117: Here are some images showing all that is involved and connected to electricity, the generation of power, the distribution of power, the control of power the actual conversion into light! While we as lighting designers deal with the more glamorous and visible side of lighting we would not be able to do it without the invisible engineering behind it!