From the Principal: “I have learnt so much during Lockdown” – May 2020 Newsletter

Yes, I know that lockdown has not been easy for many of you.  I know that many of you may have found it very tough.

Nevertheless, my family and I consciously made sure that we made the most of the lockdown.  In fact we continue to do that.

One of the steps that I decided to take was to create an opportunity, using the best software of its kind in the world, to facilitate a group meeting where like-minded people from a variety of professions and work environments meet to chat about almost any subject under the sun in positive ways.  In this way it would provide much-needed support for one-another, an opportunity to network with each other and one to learn from each other.  This group meeting is known as the enLightened Community.

Some of the discussion topics that have been discussed have been:

a.  Manufacturing primary methods.
b.  The challenges of working from home as a professional with other professionals remotely, particularly as part of a design team.
c.  Great wines
d.  Great books to read
e.  The work environment will never be the same again.  There will be much more “working from home”.  Less office space will be needed.  How to deal with social distancing in the workplace
f.  and many other discussions.

I encourage every student to attend our webinars.  They will compliment the knowledge that you will gain on the course and allow you to meet other like-minded people.

I have good news for all students from the USA, Central and South Americas, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.  Look out for an e-mail to learn more about this excellent news for you.

Did you seize the opportunity to grow, to learn new skills as you work from home and grow your relationship with your family without the usual daily hustle and bustle.

I have personally learnt so much during this time.  I have always been passionate about the students, but in this time, I realised that some students were troubled and required more nuturing to get them through.  I also learnt to be even more patient than I had always been.

I also became aware that from time to time students may find that they experience a point during the course that they struggle with which stands in their way to progress further.  I introduced the option to arrange a private lesson an a very low hourly rate.  A number of students have taken advantage of this new option.  Of course, this will never replace the ongoing mentorship that both Robby and I have provided which is always at no cost to students.

Perhaps the most successful feature that was introduced is to require students to demonstrate that they have mastered mind-mapping and to produce their own Study Plan before being able to proceed to Module 1.

All study plans are maintained in the individual students course file, their individual plans are uploaded to my own monitor system.  Each student is then reminded when they are due to submit a completed examination paper according to their own Study Plan.  If they fall behind, they receive weekly reminders to make a bigger effort to get back on track.

I have continued to study, attend various webinars including those offered by The Institution of Lighting Professionals (The ILP UK), the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD – Chicago, Illinois, USA), the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) and various others including How to overcome the Objection in selling.  One is never too old to learn.

As we move towards Stage 4 on 1 May, most of us will still be in lockdown.  Take full advantage of the time to learn, study and master working from home.

Stay Safe, Stay at Home

We welcome the following new students to BHA School of Lighting:

        • Vongai Pasirayi, Von Design Group, Johannesburg – BHASL001C20: Foundation Lighting Course
        • Natasha Mahonde, Kwekwe, Zimbabwe – BHASL001C20: Foundation Lighting Course
        • Tammy Maharaj, Stanger, Kwazulu- Natal – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Jacky Gravett, Eurolux Group, Hilton, Kwazulu-Natal – BHASL020: Eurolux Group Exclusive Foundation Course
        • Irish Frederick, Eurolux Group, Cape Town – BHASL020: Eurolux Group Exclusive Foundation Course
        • Arno Thiart, Eurolux Group, Cape Town – BHASL020: Eurolux Group Exclusive Foundation Course
        • Natasha Stroebel, Eurolux Group, Plettenberg Bay – BHASL020: Eurolux Group Exclusive Foundation Course: Part 2
        • Jennifer Harpe, San Mateo, California, USA – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Vongai Pasirayi, Von Design Group, Johannesburg – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Natasha Mahonde, Kwekwe, Zimbabwe – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Savas Seckin, Istanbul, Turkey – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Bertus Esterhuysen, EnProtec, Witbank – BHASL018: Online RELUX High Level Standard Course
        • Stuart Culerwell, Just Pave & Outdoor Lighting, Cape Town – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
        • Paul Nel, Lighting Innovations, Cape Town – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course

This May we wish the following students a very happy birthday:

                      • Vongai Pasirayi, Johannesburg – 3 May
                      • Daniel Banfield, Cape Town – 5 May
                      • Gosiame Montle, Johannesburg – 9 May
                      • Willem Venter, Johannesburg – 9 May
                      • Martin Zuhlsdorff, Pretoria – 12 May
                      • Ronald Mabote, Johannesburg – 15 May
                      • Ziggy Karolus, Cape Town – 18 May
                      • Gideon Richter, Centurion – 24 May
                      • Gillian Thom, Cape Town – 27 May
                      • Melissa Gouws, Vredendal – 27 May

Robby Cohen, BHA Teacher, Cape Town – I was thrilled to learn that you have been accepted for membership to the IALD (International Association of Lighting Designers).
Madhura Kotkar, Pune, India – Congratulations for being accepted as a Student Member of the IALD

The following students have passed first year and continue their journey as second year students:

                      • Renske Snyman, Cape Town
                      • Dean Boyce, Cape Town
                      • Corrie Prinsloo, Centurion
                      • Erin Jones, Cape Town


We invite all lighting industry professionals and all SAIA, SAIAT and CESA members (CPD credits available when you attend) to register for our live webinar series.

We also extend an invitation to anyone who would like to join the BHA School of Lighting “enLightened Community” meetings which take place every Tuesday at 12pm.

Register here free of charge –


With the rest of the world getting to grips with working in a world where Covid19 is an ever present reality and South Africa readying itself for level 4 lockdown and some industries getting back to work, employees and business owners alike are trying to figure out how to get productivity back to pre-covid19 levels.

Thanks to technologies like Zoom, Hangouts, Face time and the ever-evolving Microsoft 365 suite of apps such as Teams, Onedrive, Outlook Online, etc it is no longer required to be tied to a desk stuck in an office. In fact, companies are beginning to realise the benefits of having a work force, where possible, work remotely. Benefits include:

  • Saving time not having to commute to and from the office.
  • Saving money not having to pay for office space that is no longer required.
  • Having the flexibility to plan your own working hours

But to work effectively from home, companies need to put the correct technologies and policies in place to ensure staff can perform their responsibilities to the best of their abilities. From an IT point of view this may include video meetings, document sharing, email communications and cloud-based voice services all of which is included in Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription package called Microsoft 365.


With Teams, you can give your team built-in access to everything they need right in Office 365. Manage all your conversations, files, and tools in one workspace. Enjoy instant access to SharePoint, OneNote, Planner and Power BI. Create and edit documents right in Microsoft Teams. Speed employee onboarding with persistent conversations and instant access to files. Search across people, files, and chats within one hub for teamwork.
OneDrive for Business

OneDrive offers businesses access to enterprise-grade, helping you stay competitive in your market. It allows you to store, share and edit your documents and media quickly and easily. And, because it’s in the cloud, you can do that whenever and wherever you want. OneDrive becomes your “My Documents” in the cloud and it empowers you to choose which device you want to use to access your data instead of which device I must use.

Exchange Online

Email communications has become so integral to the way we do business, that it is vitally important that we, not only make it as seamless to operate but also protect the data that we keep within our email environment. Having the same inbox, calendar and contacts across all your devices allows you to focus on getting the work done as opposed to trying to remember on which device that email, or contact is stored.

SS Computers has assisted BHA School of Lighting since 2012 and helped us transition from on premise work to migrating to the cloud.

During this challenging time for people and businesses across the world, it’s crucial to stay connected. If you’re ready to learn how the modern workplace can help you control expenses in your business, please contact SS Computers at or visit today.


In contrast to previous studies, a New York trial in a public housing area shows an expected and dramatically significant correlation between crime at night and outdoor lighting.

In contrast to previous studies, a New York trial in a public housing area shows an expected and dramatically significant correlation between crime at night and outdoor lighting.

It’s long been thought that better street illumination can reduce offenses, but there’s never been any rigorous evidence —until now.

In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the New York City Police Department and the New York City Housing Authority, the scientific research team Crime Lab designed a six-month randomized controlled trial involving nearly 80 public housing developments, all of which had elevated levels of crime. About half of the developments received new, temporary street lights and half did not.

The study found that the developments that received the new lights experienced crime rates that were significantly lower than would have been the case without the new lights.

Among other findings, the study concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 7% overall reduction in so-called index crimes— a subset of serious offenses that includes murder, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as certain property crimes.

Specifically, at night there was a 39% reduction in index crimes. Previous reports into lighting and crime undertaken in the US and the UK over the last two decades show a mixed picture, with lighting reducing crime in about half the studies but, significantly, not at night. The New York study, by contrast, shows an expected and dramatically significant correlation with crime at night.

The results of the lights project have implications for both New York and cities around the world. Unlike many jurisdictions around the country, New York has shown that it is possible to reduce crime and, at the same time, lower its prison population.

Nearly 80 public housing developments in New York City participated in the six-month randomized controlled trial with new outdoor lighting.

The city’s success in this area is credited in large part to innovations in policing undertaken in recent years by the NYPD. The results demonstrate that not only can environmental design impact crime, but that investments in changes to the physical environment such as new street lights can augment efforts to promote public safety and help reduce citywide inequalities in crime reduction without having to resort to building new prisons or incarcerating more people.

The researchers said there is “evidence that residents appreciate the new resources introduced into communities during the lights project.” The survey results suggest that two-thirds of housing authority residents felt favourably about the new lights.


Outdoor LED lighting projects demand special considerations for visual acuity, uniformity, and environmental friendliness, and one-for-one replacement is not a given. David Etzler provides tips on photometrics for outdoor lighting design that, properly applied, will ensure customer satisfaction with the end results.

Outdoor LED lighting projects demand special considerations for visual acuity, uniformity, and environmental friendliness, and one-for-one replacement is not a given. DAVID ETZLER provides tips on photometrics for outdoor lighting design that, properly applied, will ensure customer satisfaction with the end results.

Too often, people involved in lighting retrofit projects make assumptions. One of the biggest is that a one-for-one replacement of an outdoor pole light will create an acceptable result. Unfortunately, this is not always straightforward.

In a new construction project, a photometric plan is typically drawn up. However, since many lighting contractors do not have the capability to handle photometric designs in-house, if they expect to replace fixtures on a one-for-one basis, they are unlikely to spend the time on photometrics. On those rare occasions they do incorporate the plan into a project, they rely heavily on lighting manufacturers to execute it for them. Lighting specifiers and installers are often pitched by LED lighting manufacturers claiming to provide this service as a value-add, but it can create delays with the project; or, depending on the experience level of the designer, photometrics can be rushed, resulting in a less-than-optimal design.

It’s well established that replacing a 400W metal-halide (MH) area light fixture with a 100–150W LED fixture will result in crisper and brighter illumination, so many contractors skip the photometric process and start installing as quickly as they can in order to move on to the next project. This mistake not only can negatively impact your bottom line but it can do the same to a customer’s overall satisfaction.

Before diving in to how delivering photometric plans can both enhance your business and improve customer relationships, it is important to understand some of the basic elements of a photometric design.

Foundations of photometrics

At its basic level, a photometric design is a simulation of a lighting plan that can give the user a 2D and/or 3D view of the illumination provided by installing new LED lighting. It gives installers and specifiers the ability to determine what configuration of lighting fixtures will produce the best illumination for the outdoor application. The photometric design involves calculating both horizontal and vertical illuminance (brightness). Think of the horizontal measurement as the amount of light that lands on a horizontal surface, such as across the parking lot. The vertical measurement is the amount of light measured on a vertical surface such as a building wall. The measure of illuminance that we all know and use each day is called foot candles (mainly in the US) or lux (outside the US). One foot candle is defined as 1 lm/ft2.

Other important elements of a proper photometric design include BUG ratings, foot-candle ratios, optics, CCT, tilt, orientation, and roll.

FIG. 1. The diagram above represents the various beam distributions that can be achieved by incorporating specialized optics into outdoor LED lighting designs during photometric planning. (Image credit: Deco Lighting)

BUG stands for backlight, uplight and glare. It is a rating system that is used to evaluate luminaire optical performance related to light trespass, sky glow, and high-angle brightness control (IES RP-20-14 Revised). This is especially important when you must take into account adjacent properties and light spilling over into them. Many municipal codes limit the amount of light that can spill over to the next property; if you avoid factoring this into your design, you may wind up re-installing the entire system, costing both you and your customer — perhaps municipal authorities — quite a bit of money.

One must be very careful with glare. If you are working on high mast poles, it is not much of an issue, but if the light source is located at a lower level, glare can be a major problem for pedestrians and drivers, especially if older customers frequent a parking lot, for instance. Remember, if your customer is unhappy because its customers are complaining, it will cost time and money to fix the problem. It may also cause you to lose future business from that customer.

Foot-candle ratios in outdoor parking lots usually refer to the max-to-min ratio. This indicates the proportion of the maximum foot-candle level to the minimum foot-candle level. 15:1 is the IES standard and if you go above that, the result is an unevenly-lit parking lot. In most cases, it is not feasible to install additional poles, leaving lighting designers stuck with the inherited layout. If the lot is a simple open rectangle, you probably will not encounter many problems using LED fixtures to achieve this 15:1 ratio. However, if the lot is oddly shaped and/or has obstructions, you will need to utilize one of the most important features of LED lighting — optics. Optics are lenses that direct LED light to achieve specific beam distribution patterns at particular angles. Fig. 1 shows examples of different LED optics patterns.

We recently completed a project for an REIT that owns a shopping centre. The company’s tenant was insisting on higher foot-candle levels in order to renew the lease. While it would have been easy to just increase the foot-candle levels, we brought to the customer’s attention that it also had a lot of shadowing and replacing fixtures one for one would not resolve that issue. Additionally, we explained that the lighting at the entrance to the centre was not designed correctly. After going through a few rounds of photometric plans, we were able to create a parking lot lighting plan that not only met the lease and REIT customers’ foot-candle requirements but virtually eliminated shadows and dark spots, improving the lot entrance dramatically (Fig. 2). Both the REIT client and its tenant were so happy with the outcome that we are now working on a portfolio of other shopping centre projects for the same client.

Another tactic that lighting designers employ to aid in keeping the optimal max-to-min ratio for uniform illumination is tilt, orientation, and roll.
If an LED fixture is facing down at the ground, there is zero-degree tilt. We can then adjust it so the fixture is anywhere between 0–180°. But we need to be mindful with tilt. Many municipalities also regulate the amount of light traveling up. This is known as the dark sky movement. The premise is that activists and municipal authorities want to minimize light pollution and do not want light traveling up at all. Lighting professionals should first check to see if there are any local regulations that may apply to the project they are working on. If there are none, tilting an LED fixture may be the only way to create more uniformity on the lot without adding more poles.

FIG. 2. The before and after photos show the previous outdoor lighting (top) versus a properly placed LED luminaire layout (bottom) achieved using proper photometrics, which resulted in fewer shadowy areas and a more uniformly-lit parking lot.

Orientation refers to the horizontal movement of the LED fixture on the pole. If we use a compass as an example, there are 360°. We can move the fixture anywhere within the 360° to maximize the lighting pattern.

Roll is similar to tilt, but instead of the fixture moving straight up or down, the fixture may be turned side to side with one edge going up and the other edge going down. So, in theory, the fixture can be positioned at 90°. Once again, this affects Dark Sky standards, so we need to be precise in planning and practice. Unless a proper photometric analysis is performed, you will be unable to optimize the layout and design for the project.

Let’s look at a case study as an example. For an outdoor LED lighting project in Tennessee, our team had a max-to-min ratio of 30:1 by just replacing fixtures one for one, using the same position as the current fixtures. When we adjusted the layout using tilt and orientation changes, we were able to bring the ratio down to 15:1, which is a dramatic improvement.

Consider colour quality and efficacy

There are some other lighting characteristics and metrics that impact light quality and luminaire performance: CCT, CRI, and efficacy.

Correlated colour temperature (CCT) has been a controversial topic in outdoor LED lighting, CCT describes the colour appearance of white light defined in degrees Kelvin. A simple way to look at CCT is the difference between warm and cool. Warm generally means yellowish and cool tends to be bluish white light. The lower range (e.g., 2700K) is warm and the higher range (e.g., 5000K) is cool.

In outdoor lighting, the conventional wisdom has been to implement fixtures that output light at a cool, 5000K+ CCT. The perception of the user is that a 5000K light source will seem brighter and crisper versus a warmer CCT. Therefore, the outdoor environment will be more visible, as would any occupants. But as stated, recently there has been quite a bit of controversy over using higher CCT in outdoor LED lighting. There has been much coverage about the negative health effects that higher CCT light may have on pople and the environment which includes fauna and flora.

In 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) published an article about this very subject. In response to the guidance by the AMA against the use of high-CCT LED lights, cities such as Phoenix, AZ; Lake Worth, FL; and 25 towns in Connecticut are now opting for street lamps with lower color temperatures, meaning less blue light emission.

Many researchers are studying the effects of blue-rich light. Many in the lighting world are waiting for IES to take a firm stand on this. My suspicion is that the trend will be moving toward warmer CCT in the future, whether the research is conclusive or not.

To add more complexity to the colour discussion, colour rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are desirable in colour-critical applications, such as neonatal care, art restoration, and high-end retail environments. For outdoor lighting, CRI does not play much of a critical role. Most LED outdoor luminaires have a CRI of 70 or better, which is fine for illuminating a general-use parking lot, for instance. The exception to this is a lot that displays items where colour is very important, such as an automotive dealership. In this scenario, there may be a need to show off vibrant colours and the customer and designer may opt for a higher CRI.

The disadvantage of a higher-CRI fixture is that the efficacy (lumens per watt) decreases. You can be losing 20% or more of the light level to achieve a higher CRI and the energy consumption is higher. Is this trade-off worthwhile? That depends on the project’s objectives and customer preference. We would want to see a photometric study with both high CRI and normal CRI in this situation so that we can evaluate the differences and present the options to the customer.

When a luminaire has higher efficacy, it consumes less energy and saves the customer more money on energy bills while achieving adequate light levels. When comparing light fixtures side by side, as long as you can achieve your goals for uniformity and light levels, the customer will be better off using an LED fixture with higher efficacy. In the short term, the fixture may be more expensive; therefore, it may be harder to sell the project.

Upfront cost is the dilemma many of us face when selling LED technology. Showing the customer the results of a before and after comparison on projects where LED retrofits were properly planned out with photometrics, designed for the intended use, and properly installed can be very persuasive. Providing information on payback from energy savings may also help to move the needle. Attention to these details will help to build better business relationships and ensure successful outdoor LED lighting projects.


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