End of Year Message – December 2021 Newsletter

It is incredible to think that this is the December 2021 newsletter when only the other day it was the first newsletter for 2021.  How time flashes by!

The year 2021 has been an interesting one.  Whilst it was not our best year ever, due to the slow rate of recovery of existing and new projects, we have had excellent growth in student numbers.  This is extremely encouraging.

More and more professional arhitects and consulting electrical engineers are realising that the use of LED in different applications for projects, is not as easy as many first thought.  Many professionals appreciated that it was essential to become qualified in all aspects of lighting including the new 4IR technologies, an area where surprisingly few are properly qualified to include in projects. I applaud those who enrolled for our course for their honesty, courage and clear demonstration of their integrity in their field.

Failure to offer clients access to these amazing technologies, is denying them the ability to be super efficient, up to date and most of all energy efficient in times of frequent load-shedding imposed by the power utility.  I am of the firm opinion that the lack of knowledge about the new technologies, is the reason for the lack or slow adoption of the technologies in projects.  Read what one of our students, herself a top sales executive has to say elsewhere in this newsletter.

It is so exciting to receive enrolments from students from every “corner” of the world (no I am not a member of the flat earth society 😃).  They are from Honolulu, Hawaii where the time delay is a full 12 hours behind South Africa through 30 other countries to Sydney, Australia where they are 9 hours ahead of South Africa.  When students from these distant countries request to schedule a virtual private lesson or a virtual group session, it takes considerable flexibility on my part to try to accommodate everyone at a reasonable time when they would normally be awake.  I enjoy the challenges and love helping and mentoring our students to achieve their goals and objectives.

Enrolment for the Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course is gathering momentum with two new enrolments and a further two enrolments to start in January 2022 that are pending. This post-graduate course that is equivalent to an Honours degree, is presented online at a high level and during which students learn to master the most complex practical lighting designs for a full spectrum of lighting applications including outdoor, street and road lighting and sport field lighting to international sporting code standards for 4K and 8K television coverage. Graduation from the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course is a precondition to enrolment for the Master Diploma course.

We are fast approaching a time of goodwill and festivity irrespective of one’s individual faith and beliefs.

To our Christian students we wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas, to our Jewish students we wish you happy Hanukkah. to our Muslim students, we wish you well as you reflect and give praise during Jumada al-Awwal and finally, to our Indian students we hope that you will have a happy and blessed Bada Din.

I am sure that every one of our students and readers will enjoy this time to celebrate being with their family and loved ones over the festive season holidays.  May you all return to your occupations feeling revitalised, fresh to take on the world with renewed vigour whilst being appreciative for what we HAVE rather than what we DESIRE.

I hope and pray that students and readers alike will have a very blessed time together as families, that you will stay well, stay safe and remember to keep practising the COVID-19 protocols to return safely for 2022.

With best wishes

We would like to welcome the following new students to BHA School of Lighting

  • Matthew Dietrich, Dietrich Signs, Somerset West – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Yogandren Perumal (Deon) Govender, Matla Consulting, Durban: BHASL005C21: Emergency Lighting Course
  • Charne Gunning, Sydney, Australia: BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Nicole Townsend, NTA Projects, Rynfield, Benoni: BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Imraan Moosa, 1World Consultants, Greenside Johannesburg: BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Dean Boyce, Cape Town: BHASL009C21: Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Erin Jones, Cape Town: BHASL009C21: Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course

Happy Birthday to the following past & present students celebrating their Birthdays this month of December! We hope you all have a memorable day!

  • Imraan Moosa, Johannesburg – 1 December
  • George Piek, Johannesburg – 2 December
  • Buntu Kalembe, Cape Town – 3 December
  • Acir Daniel Urban Guimaraes, Curitaba, Parana, Brazil – 4 December
  • Kathrine Stead, Durban – 9 December
  • Themshan Thatiah, Durban 14 December
  • Gregory Olivier, Somerset West – 23 December

The following students are preparing to write their first year examinations.  We wish you success!

  • Oriana Abigail Govindasamy, Cape Town-  as you prepare for your first year final practical examination
  • Ross Sharp, Cape Town – as you prepare for the first year practical examination
  • Kubeshan Gopaul, Lenasia, Johannesburg – as you prepare for your first year Theory 2 examination
  • Nicole Farman, Chicago, Illinois, USA – as you prepare for the 2 theory and 1 practical examination

Congrats to Beth Maina, Nairobi, Kenya on passing your First Year examinations! We hope you enjoy your the 2nd year of the Advanced Diploma course!

Join lighting professionals from around the world at the upcoming Institute of Lighting Professionals events

For more info or to register visit the link here

BHA School of Lighting offers a variety of short courses which include the Foundation & Primary Lighting courses, Emergency Lighting & Relux Lighting Design Software courses and more…


BHA School of Lighting’s Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering (NQ7/EQ7) course is regarded by build environment professionals as the premiere e-learning lighting course in Southern Africa and the world.


BHA School of Lighting’s Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering (NQ8/EQ8) is only available to students who have completed the Advanced Diploma (NQ7/EQ7) course.



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

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bhaschooloflighting/

Igor Pushes PoE Solid State Lighting Technology into energy-centric hotels

Hotels combine centralized low-voltage power distribution for lighting along with other renewable energy technologies to win energy-related industry recognition.

Hotel Marcel in New Haven, CT, is being retrofitted by Sinclair Digital with Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology from connectivity specialist Igor to deliver low-voltage power and controls capability to lighting and building systems in the hospitality space. (Photo credit: Image courtesy of Kim Johnson, Igor, Inc.)
Igor, a technology vendor in the smart-building and Internet of Things (IoT) sector, has released the details of three sustainable hotel solid-state lighting (SSL) projects where the low-voltage Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard played a key role. The company’s Nexos system enables luminaire-level control while also powering LED lighting and other DC-centric systems. The latest announcement involves The Sinclair hotel in Fort Worth, TX; Hotel Marcel in New Haven, CT; and the Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas, CA.

Nexos enables builders, architects, and lighting designers to easily combine luminaires from Igor and Nexos partners with the low-voltage PoE systems and a variety of controls. “We’ve come to think of Nexos like a Lego set,” said Dwight Stewart, Igor cofounder and CEO. “All the components you need come in one box. You know what you’re going to get. But, after the build is complete, you begin to see new things. Imagination takes over and you envision greater possibilities. The incredible ideas that architects, designers, and engineers dream up for Nexos continue to amaze and inspire us.”

LEDs Magazine has covered PoE technology going back several years. Industry stalwart Signify has even teamed up with Cisco to deliver major PoE projects. We have proclaimed PoE to be a major disrupter in the Solid State Lighting space. We later questioned whether the Solid State Lighting sector had moved on from PoE. All the while Igor has matriculated the technology with select partners and customers.

The hotel projects provide good examples of what can be accomplished with PoE. The technology provides a baseline energy-efficiency advantage through centralized conversion to DC distribution. At the same time, PoE connects lighting to the centralized IT network for control, monitoring, and more.
In the case of The Sinclair project, PoE simplified rewiring of a 1929 historic building with the low-voltage wiring. PoE delivered 40% savings on utility bills and also enabled automated actions in the individual hotel rooms. For example, PoE technology can enable autonomous shade control, handle actions to a TV in an unoccupied space, and can adjust the thermostat when required. Igor has published a pdf on The Sinclair project.

In the case of Hotel Marcel, PoE was again used in a historic building, the old Pirelli Tire Building near Yale University. The unique architecture includes a two-floor open space that separates upper and lower floors of the building. But the unique design goes much further. The PoE system enabled a convenient approach for connection to a solar system including to extensive DC charging systems for electric vehicles. A Forbes posting waxes somewhat poetically on the design.

Still, it is the page of system design information from Becker + Becker, the architect and developer behind the building, that explains how PoE enabled the historic rehabilitation that ultimately should yield LEED Platinum status. The project uses near 100% PoE-connected SSL throughout the facility (as seen above). The firm said that the PoE system delivers 34 kBTU/ft2 in energy rating, which is 80% better than median for hotels in the United States.

The third project that Igor revealed is in a way completely opposite from the first two. The Alila Marea Beach Resort near San Diego is a completely new design that could have used any technology. It is notable that the two historic-building projects were complete retrofits and not partial-floor projects. And PoE has been known as a technology best used in complete retrofit or new projects.

For the beach-centric project, Igor released a link to a YouTube videpo from the developers and architects. The video suggests that the flexibility remained key throughout the project. For example, a late decision to place a key switch near the headboard of the bed as opposed to on the wall near the door was easily handled in the PoE scenario. “In addition to having one of the best locations you could possibly ask for, Alila Marea will be one of the most technologically astute hotels,” said Joshua Montana, executive vice president of Paladin Technologies, a system integrator that worked on the PoE project. Montana suggested that guests will enjoy the automated control of lighting levels in the rooms.

The State of Human Centric Lighting in South Africa

This is published with permission from Lorraine De Bruyn, a Second Year student.  This outstanding submission on this extremely important subject sums up the present day situation in South Africa

Frankly, humancentric lighting in South Africa is not taken seriously enough especially in the construction and electrical engineering industry, as per my extended experience in the lighting industry. South Africa needs to be educated, nay, statistically proven to, that the health complications of just slapping any old cost-effective fitting into a building and running it 24/7, can be just as dire as smoking, or an unhealthy lifestyle. Even if there is an illumination engineer involved in the planning of the lighting, the automation part often gets neglected as the quantity surveyors are not sufficiently educated on lighting automation, and even if it gets implemented, nobody in the actual company occupying the building wants to take the responsibility of going through the training on the software to make optimum use of the system. With the latest employment statistics in South Africa and companies employing one person to handle the workload of 4 employees, there is simply nobody who can dedicate their time to handle and monitor lighting automation. Hence, even automated lighting gets set to the most overcompensated brightness levels, to delay maintenance, and because of sheer ignorance – Doing inexplicable harm to the occupants in the long run. Then companies wonder why their absentee rate and staff turnaround is so high.

If Illumination engineers are acknowledged more in South Africa, we can campaign human-centric lighting  more effectively, and more buildings would implement it. Illumination engineers must also have the freedom and knowledge to train building occupants on the use of the automation software, and do regular follow-up visits to ensure that the humancentric lighting systems are used to its full potential.

It is funny that fenestration seems to be the go-to solution for humancentric lighting in South Africa – oh yes, it’s because of the cost. Glass is probably less expensive than brick and mortar, hence engineers promote it for the “humancentric properties” when actually it has more to do with energy saving capabilities, and rands and cents when it comes to building material procurement and budget constraints. Lighting is often left for last and has to make do with the left-over change from the entire project budget.

Schools, hospitals, office buildings, and care facilities, all get built and are promoted for the extras such as fully equipped gymnasiums, heated swimming pools for water yoga, cafeterias serving up nothing more than almonds, lettuce, kale smoothies and green tea, all in the name of “healthier living”. But the 6500K LED panels shine bright like diamonds, and the glass panelled walls offer no privacy and are applied to such an extent that you risk sunburn indoors in any given room in the facility.

The lighting retail industry – of which I can write books about – is doing everything but promote humancentric lighting. However, their are those of us passionate retail sales staff, who, even if human-centric lighting was the lowest profitable lighting products to promote, we’d still advocate it. But, it never gets accepted as it is deemed unnecessary extra costs. LED panels had been used for years, with “no disastrous effects” so the electrical engineers (who have VERY little, if any, lighting training) simply keep specifying standard lighting albeit LED panels throughout, because it’s simple, quick and uncomplicated and saves them the effort of explaining the theory and real justification to their clients.

If I had time, and could afford to take a year off work, I would embark on a serious investigation of buildings with 6500K LED panels, their staff health, their staff absentee rates, their staff turnaround, etc. I’d also go deeper into older buildings that used fluorescent lighting over the years, and research how many of staff who worked there for long periods, are now suffering from depression, Alzheimer’s and even cancer, and make the link. I would investigate the mining industry – with it’s extremely bright lights only every 4-5 meters, with dark spots in-between, and the effect it had on the Hypothalamus, causing other health issues.  I would draw the records of deceased and possibly prove that more of them died of longer-onset complications caused by poor lighting conditions underground, rather than underground accidents. Mines proudly boasts their fatality rates per-so-many shifts on big signage boards outside the shaft gates “10 000 shifts – Zero fatalities”. But what about the longer-term effects? Do they ever put on signage what the general health or life span is of a long term, retired mine worker? Even though lighting people try to educate them that lighting products underground must be continuous, must have zero toxic emissions when burned, must be humancentric and follow natural lighting colour temperatures throughout shift – they still slap in cheap 5 foot fittings every 5 meters and slap torches on their helmets, linked to toxic, harmful battery packs that they must wear on their hips throughout the day, for the dark spots in between the light fittings.

It’s funny how the health industry marks cigarettes as the main cause of cancer – I know of several people who’s never had a single cigarette in their life, die of cancer, and even lung cancer, at age 40. Still there is a warning printed on every pack of cigarettes. I know of people with no family history of heart disease, fit as fiddles, competing in triathlons weekly, competing in the Comrades annually, lived off almonds, lettuce, kale smoothies and green tea, their entire adult life, though died of heart failure at the age of 39. When investigating the cause, the doctors simply say “Mmmmm, at some point in his life he must have eaten at least one cheeseburger… probably what caused this.”

Once my research is done, it would be necessary to put a warning label on every single non-dimmable light fitting with only one Kelvin setting.
Humancentric lighting is extremely important, and while many efforts are made by the ILS, Illumination engineers, and lighting manufacturers and suppliers alike – it is simply not taken seriously enough in South Africa.

Few if any engineers appreciate that they have an obligation in terms of standards, directives and even WELL Building Standards to light buildings for the health and well being of the occupants.

BHA SCHOOL OF LIGHTING – 30 November 2021
Copyright © 2021 BHA School of Lighting, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

BHA School of Lighting

20 Arena North, Grand National Blvd

Royal Ascot

Cape Town, Western Cape

South Africa