A Focus on Street Lighting – August 2020 Newsletter

Many of you attended the webinar on 23 July 2020 which was presented by my friend and associate Nick Smith, a member of The Institution of Lighting Professionals and CIE on the subject of the new BS5489:2020 Streeting Lighting standard. I therefore thought that you would be interested to read more on the subject of street lighting in the world.  This article (With permission to reproduce) addresses this interesting and complex subject.

Decision makers let LEDs speak for themselves in outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is so much a part of our everyday lives that we don’t tend to pay much attention to it…unless it is lacking in areas, which makes us feel unsafe, or is so bright that it intrudes into our homes or impedes our vision. Many organizations have produced or weighed in on recommendations and guidance for implementing outdoor LED lighting, sometimes to the point that it generates conflict within and even beyond the lighting community. How should we balance safety and security with light intensity, output levels, and distribution?  What is considered “good” outdoor lighting design?  And where in all this do people’s prejudices and preferences fit in?  Is it possible that we think we know what kind of light we need, but we experience it differently when it is mapped out and installed in public areas?

I routinely experience poorly-lit roadways in a smaller New Hampshire town with widely-spaced sodium lamps. Let’s face it: We don’t have many sidewalks here, so the local authorities are not expecting lots of foot traffic. But even night driving can be hazardous when animals are crossing and the street lights don’t distribute even, quality illumination. (I brake for animals but as the laws of nature will dictate, not all of them make it.)

Last year, the nearby Nashua community decided to initiate an LED retrofit project for its street lights, which prompted the city officials to reach out to citizens to request feedback on whether 3000K or 4000K street lights were preferred.

On the left, 3000K and on the right 4000K Street Lights

I am impressed by this forethought and outreach on the trial installation. I do have a small issue with the linked Nashua Telegraph article, though:

The reporters wrote that “Residents are being asked whether they prefer the brighter 4000 Kelvin LED lighting or the warmer 3000 Kelvin LED bulbs as part the citywide conversion to energy- efficient LED streetlights.” People with some knowledge of lighting science understand that 3000K versus 4000K does not mean warmer versus brighter. These two adjectives, when describing light, are not related. The light is either brighter or dimmer in luminous output, cooler or warmer in correlated color temperature (CCT).  And there has been plenty of discussion as to whether cooler CCTs enable better visual acuity in the darker hours, or if that’s just conventional wisdom that has yet to be debunked. I don’t have the answer to that part myself.

What intrigued me was that the authorities were considering the feedback of the community to make a selection in light of the difference in efficiency as opposed to preference.  Horrible pun, okay, but you understand why I zeroed in on that, right? The Nashua Department of Public Works stated that the intent was to determine whether a potential preference for the warmer-CCT products (which had lower efficiency) would outweigh the higher efficiency of the 4000K-CCT models on trial. Meaning the community would have some input into whether to sacrifice some of the energy-related cost savings for the ability to have light that they preferred. I have contacted the DPW’s city engineer to find out the final word on the street(lights).

*Update: I spoke with Stephen Dookran, city engineer in Nashua, this afternoon and he reported that after the 10 LED lights were trialed in a local neighborhood (five 3000K on one side of the street and five 4000K on the other), it was “almost unanimous” that those who provided feedback preferred the 3000K LED street lights over the 4000K models. And in the Telegraph article, one resident had said he couldn’t tell a difference between the two sets, but commented that “brighter is better.”

When it comes to outdoor lighting, before we throw down gauntlets and state unequivocally that X is bad and Y is good, and Z is just plain compromise to keep the citizens from storming City Hall asking why taxes are higher this year, local planners and authorities — the people who need to justify the budget and make it work for the good of the entire community — can and should have a handle on all the lingo, specs, and metrics and have these details interpreted with common sense and good quality in mind when planning public lighting. In this case, it’s encouraging to see that the folks in charge offered the community a chance to become involved so they can provide quality municipal lighting that will secure the streets for years to come.

It is now 128 days since the COVID-19 began in South Africa.  I am sure that apart from those who were infected by the virus, virtually every South African and in fact every person in the world, has been impacted in some way or other by the pandemic.  In some cases, some have been severely affected which may even have resulted in them joing the ranks of the unemployed, experiencing immense hardship.

I would like to convey a positive message this month.  I have never been a person to get pulled down or dispair during difficult times.  I have always had a positive attitude and at times even had to display courage to overcome difficulties.

Now more than ever before, it is vital that you analyse the situation, the environment around you and your business strategy.  Determine what you need to do to survive and prosper in this Post-Lockdown era whilst the pandemic continues to ravage the planet.  What can you do differently?  Is there an area within your business or profession that you can specifically focus on in order to become a specialist in a niche area?  How can you promote yourself, your business or profession to stand out among the crowd?  What can you do to make your clients or consumers realise that you are the “Go To” person or business?

If you have been successful, remember that you will be the envy of others in your field.  It is important to make these timeous adjustments to maintain your position and to prevent others from eroding your share or position in the field.

Before concluding, I would like to share some good advice that I read which reinforces what most of us know and practice.  The lady, a dedicated nurse, who became infected at the hospital where she works despite taking all the required precautions including wearing PPE.  She relates her suffering during her treatment and the care that she received whilst in hospital herself.  She made this passionate plea:

“The public should know that not wearing a mask, not staying home and not keeping a distance from others “is not worth it”.

“Protect yourself and protect other people. Don’t be selfish, you don’t want someone else to get sick. You don’t want someone else to suffer and be in pain. After experiencing that, I would not wish it on my worst enemy.”

She said the rules were simple.

“Don’t put people through this pain. Just wear your mask, sanitise, stay at home and keep your distance. That is all you have been asked to do. Nothing else.”

My personal plea to each of you is, don’t let your guard down for a second.  You can still stand out from the crowd whilst social distancing and wearing a mask.

Stay well, stay safe and be successful.

It’s time to welcome new students

  • Andrew Marshall, Onsite Electrical, East London – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Azhar Essop, Standard Bank of SA Ltd, Johannesburg – BHASL001C20: Foundation Lighting Course
  • Mohammad AlMuhanna, Khobar, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Braulio Rocha, GRE, Luanda, Angola – BHASL001C20: New Foundation Lighting Course

Happy birthday to each of you.  Have a fantastic day!

  • Gareth Macdonald, Germiston – 1 August
  • Jan-Hendrik Verdoes, Windhoek, Namibia – 2 August
  • Guy Rouillard, Durban – 5 August
  • Pieter Meyer, Port Elizabeth – 17 August
  • Savas Seckin, Istanbul, Turkey – 20 August

Pieter Meyer, Nako Group, Electrical Technician, Port Elizabeth – Graduated on 14 July 2020, Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course

Henk Goris, REO Group, Durban – for passing from 1st Year to 2nd Year

Well done!  We wish you every success.

Join the BHA School of Lighting Alumni and Follow us on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/bha-school-of-lighting/

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EnLightened Community Meetings

Join us every Tuesday from 13:00 to 14:00 for an informal chat about any subject under the sun as long as it is positive.  Join us for moral support and networking.

Accreditted CPD Activity Webinars

  •  6 August 2020 at 18:00 SAST – Series 4 Episode 1: Emergency Escape Lighting.  A study of serious fires around the world, loss of life and clarifying the standards and regulations.
  • 13 August 2020 at 18:00 – Series 4 Episode 2: Lighting design mistakes, omissions and best practise.  An investigative look into common type mistakes made by professionals and lighting designers, omissions and rectification through best practise in lighting design.

NOTE:  In the event of load reduction or load shedding by Eskom, the electricity utiliity, on any of the scheduled dates, alternative dates for the affected presentations will be notified to all registrants.

For more info or to register click here – https://www.bhaschooloflighting.co.za/webinars


The Biolux HCL range provides ‘biologically optimised’ day-to-night lighting which the company says reflects natural circadian rhythms to benefit both patients and medical staff, improving sleep regularity, concentration and mood.

LEDVANCE has introduced a range of so-called human-centric lighting products which it claims will improve patient recovery in hospitals.

The Biolux HCL range provides ‘biologically optimised’ day-to-night lighting which  the company says reflects natural circadian rhythms to benefit both patients and medical staff, improving sleep regularity, concentration and mood.

‘It’s common for hospital patients to suffer from a loss of circadian synchronisation, especially in intensive care units, which are often without significant quantities of daylight. Dieter Lang, human centric lighting expert at Ledvance, told Lux.

‘A stable circadian rhythm can support good sleep and, therefore, good recovery.

‘The Biolux HCL follows the natural rhythm of day and night by providing brighter, bluer light during the day which reduces in brightness and blue content in the evening.

‘As a result, a healthy day-night rhythm for the patients is supported.’

Besides supporting the sleep rhythms of patients, the lighting can also improve the wellbeing and productivity of hospital staff, especially in rooms which are often without natural daylight such as X-Ray or MRI rooms, says Lang.

Furthermore, specific lighting designed for night shifts keeps staff active and alert at the late hour without desynchronising their body clock.
The range consists of a control unit, panel and downlight which communicate wirelessly with each other.

The control unit, operated via a smartphone app, enables healthcare providers to select appropriate light modes for their facilities, with five pre-programmed lighting modes available.


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