“What to expect from BHA School of Lighting” by graduate student Leonel Esteban Garcia Nunez (Mexico) – September 2021 Newsletter


A TESTIMONIAL BY LEONEL ESTEBAN GARCIA NUNEZ (Electromechanical Engineer, Adv Dip Ilum Eng) 

Once you get involved in enlightenment, you always want to keep learning, it is an insatiable thirst for knowledge that I am sure everyone who is reading this has or has had.

In 2019, I remember that I was looking to study the subject, I wanted to start with lighting standards, but I did not have the ability to understand them clearly, I started looking for other means but mostly I came across short courses that did not delve beyond the basic concepts at an excessive price, besides that, my possibilities to study in another country were practically nil and my English is not good enough. It was then that I found BHA School of Lighting.

It is always important not to get carried away by the name of the school or the course, so I checked the syllabus, I still remember the feeling of “I found just what I was looking for at last”. It is a complete program that covers from the most basic concepts to the conclusion of a lighting project in Relux. What really caught me was seeing that it contained an exclusive module for analysis by manual calculation, with this I knew that the school gave you the basis not only to empty the information into a software and wait for the result, but it made me understand all variables for the result but using software as complementary to the manual calculations and for greater precision. It wasn’t long before I finally chose to sign up, which was a great decision.

The school is quite strict and demanding, so Philip is not joking when he says that it maintains the best quality for the students, which is excellent because it guarantees that there will be a “before and after” at the end of the diploma.

Each module requires an assignment to be completed if you want to pass to the next module. After each evaluation, the teachers give you feedback in case you have made errors at any point.  They are always attentive and answer any questions about the course and respond as soon as possible.

I can say that it is an excellent school, it gave me the possibility of training with very high-level professionals despite having fairly-basic English (translating the texts through google), with teachers who are on the other side of the world, even under the circumstances in which we find ourselves due to the pandemic.

I am very grateful to the school, to its collaborators and to Philip, who in addition to being a great teacher, always keeps an eye on his students and in addition to solving many doubts, he motivated me to continue learning and studying. I have finished the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering, it has given me many tools to develop professionally, I am pleased with the course and in a few days I will start with the Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering course, I am sure that it will be of equally high quality.

If you want to learn lighting in a simple, basic and fast way, “only the essentials”, the Advanced Diploma from BHA School of Lighting is NOT for you.

BUT, if you want to delve deep into the topics, have a better understanding of light and are willing to be disciplined in your study to cover a wide range of subjects, then the Advanced Diploma is an excellent option.

I have always encouraged audiences, at the more than 150 workshops that I have presented over the years from 2012 to date, that it is so very important to read, study, enrol for courses and remain curious if you regard yourself as a professional in the lighting environment.

It has been a very busy year for me so far.  New material was written and new courses were prepared & launched.  Some were short courses but the major project was the complete “re-invention” of the content for the Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering course which was launched on 1 August 2021.  The content is exciting, is presented in realistic form with each of the project assignments being actual projects that BHA Lighting Design & Consulting have completed.  The Master Diploma students participate in simulated meetings with “clients, architects, consulting engineers and project managers” in the same that we did during each of the projects.  The students have to resolve problems that actually arose during some of the projects.  Students will graduate with the Master Diploma which is equivalent to an Honours Degree, being fully equipped and proficient to deal with their own projects as they move forward in their careers with professionalism and success.

To date, I have presented no less than 97 webinars since the first webinar which I presented on 27 August 2019.  Initially, they were intended to supplement the knowledge of our students that they had acquired during the course irrespective of their individual point in the course curriculum.

We then decided to begin discussions with SAIA, CESA and SAIAT to obtain accreditation and validation for their members to qualify for CPD (Continued Professional Development) credits when attending our webinars.  We were successful and members continue to qualify for CPD credits when they attend the webinars.  In fact, even attendees from overseas countries are able to claim CPD or equivalent points/credits as well.

The webinars began with around 25 attendees and has now grown to under 100 per webinar. Foreign attendees come from 25 countries plus from the Americas to Australasia and all countries in between.  This excludes South Africa and the neighbouring countries in our region. I quite frankly have been blown away by the support for our webinars!

The popularity of the webinars has been boosted by expert guest presenters such as Terry John, a lighting designer and expert in the field of Light nutrition form London, UK and a fellow member of The Institution of Lighting Professionals (The ILP);  Nick Smith, an expert and CIE committee member on Street Lighting from Chesterfield, UK and a fellow member of The ILP; David Gilbey, a renowned international lighting designer originally from the UK and now living in Italy, a fellow member of the ILP and of course Greg Segal, an expert in the field of landscape lighting from Cape Town, South Africa and a Fellow of the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) of which I am also a member.  We are extremely grateful for the valuable contribution that these gentlemen have made to the webinar programme.

We have two exciting and extremely important webinars planned for September 2021.  Registrations for these webinars are already streaming in and we encourage you to register early as our webinar platform is limited to 100 participants.

Planning for some exciting webinars together with my good friend David Gilbey from Italy is well advanced.  Watch this space for further news.

I am also extremely excited as I am going to be presenting two webinars for The Institution of lighting Professionals in the UK.  The first is in support of women in lighting and I will be co-presenting with Abinaya Jevaraju, she is one of my second year students from Kuwait City.  We urge our Student Members of the ILP to register for these events which will be promoted by the ILP and on their website too.  See the Institution news at the end of this newsletter for the links to be able to register.

Finally, the task of revising and updating the content of the modules for the Advanced Diploma Course was completed at the end of July 2021.  It was a mammoth task.  Of course, the task is perpetual because there is always new content to add or new video resources to embed on our e-learning platform as the lighting industry continues to evolve.

Stay well, stay safe.  Until next month, cheers!

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

  • Liam Abrahams, Cape Town – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Babacar Ndiaye, Dakar, Senegal – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Leonel Esteban Garcia Nunez, Ensenada, Mexico – BHASL0009C21: Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course

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

  • Rhydian Smith, Cape Town – 8 September
  • Bevan Rose, Port Elizabeth – 19 September
  • Max Guldenpfennig, Perth, Australia – 20 September
  • Dean Boyce, Cape Town – 22 September

Our congratulations go out to Cindy Kim Montague, who recently graduated from the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course on 28 August 2021.

We wish you every success as a qualified illumination engineer and lighting designer.

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

  • Mohammad Al Muhanna, Khobar, Saudi Arabia
  • Kubeshan Gopaul, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Ross Sharp, Cape Town, South Africa

Join BHA School of Lighting’s “enLightened Community”

Our series of industry accredited live webinars have been developed to share lighting industry knowledge with build environment professionals which cover a vast range of interesting topics from the world of lighting.

September Webinar Schedule

  • 2 September: Standards & Compliance – Why the Hype? REGISTER HERE
  • 23 September: Emergency Lighting – The Full Ramifications: M & V, Testing, Recovery & Commissioning REGISTER HERE


Events from the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) – ILP Members and Student Members

  • 24 September 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm  BST: How To Be Brilliant explores London’s Illuminated River Thames REGISTER HERE

A visual journey along the Thames River to look at the many bridges that cross it to see how they have been illuminated.

  • 27 September 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm  BST: Hi Lights – welcoming online session for all in lighting REGISTER HERE

A really fun event where we meet and chat about any subject, about our projects, courses, etc.  Use the opportunity to meet and get to know some top experts in their field.

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/

This Spring BHA School of Lighting is offering 20% off selected course fees when you enrol for any of our specialised short courses or the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering course.

  • For more info about our short courses click HERE
  • For more info about the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering click HERE

To qualify for this offer, simply select the course you’d like to study, download our enrolment form & quote “SPRING SPECIAL” on the form where the discount code can be inserted.

Please forward your completed course enrolment form to phil@bhalighting.co.za before 30 September to qualify for this discount offer.

Additional Terms & Conditions: 

  • All course fees are non-refundable
  • Payment plans available for the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course & if students overrun their 2 year study period to complete the course material and final exams, the cost per additional month of study is R2000.00.


Artificial intelligence promises to infuse lighting control with automation to save money and reduce energy consumption and waste, while improving service quality and customer satisfaction.

FIG. 1. The future of smart LED lighting employs AI to emulate human behaviour and learn how to operate autonomously. Image credit: Graphic by Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com.

“Turn off the lights!” How many times were you told that when growing up? Even as adults, some bad habits are hard to break.

Today, many lighting engineers are focused on LED lighting control in smart buildings. With the advent of LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) and its ability to be interconnected into electronic systems, we no longer need to be reminded to turn off the lights when we leave the room.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting almost every field and application space in our society. This includes the areas and rooms in which we live and work. Smart cities, where intelligent sensing and processing networks, and AI and machine learning (ML), are endeavoring to transform our surroundings by thinking entirely for themselves.

In its Annual Energy Outlook 2021, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that US residential and commercial sectors combined to use about 219 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity for lighting in 2020. This was about 8% of total electricity consumption by both of these sectors and about 6% of total US electricity consumption. It adds up to a lot of electricity. Just consider what it might mean if we really could more effectively turn out the lights.

The arrival of AI promises the commissioning of building lighting control and automation to save money.  It will also reduce energy consumption and waste, and improve service quality and customer satisfaction. AI will act as an unseen intelligence that stands in for us, going around and physically turning off the lights. AI will engage its decision making capabilities to help provision future smart buildings. Let’s examine how AI and LEDs together will enable the next generation of advancement in lighting control.

Smart lighting control

Smart lighting control systems comprise LED lighting systems that have communication and controls integrated into them. This integration permits greater automation and flexibility. Not limited by fixed-wired connections, wireless communication aids in covering vast distances. Control flexibility increases because the overall lighting response can get tuned at three critical levels:

  • Overall (macro level)
  • Edge (local level)
  • Particular (device level)

In such systems, smartphones, computer systems, or wall-fixed devices can function as control and switching stations. The LED lighting systems’ overall color or white levels can receive adjustment by manipulating red, green, blue, and white combinations. Their adjustments will provide the specific wavelengths and correlated color temperature (CCT) desired by the user. Output light levels, measured in lumens, can be adjusted to control the amount of optical power delivered to specific locations.

One single system can be coordinated in a way that all lamps, recessed lights, architectural (indoor/outdoor), signage, and landscape lighting function in a unified manner.

AI learns faster than you and I

I attended school for many years to learn all sorts of things. Some things, such as various historical facts, I nailed down quickly. In contrast, other things, such as quantum physics and handling Laplace transforms as easily as basic mathematics, took me many years to achieve some form of mastery (slowly, over time, much of that has started to erode).

AI is a significant technology disruptor. One of the characteristics that AI brings to smart lighting is learning. AI is a faster learner than you and I. AI allows smart lighting systems to improve their performance in a manner analogous to feedback in an electronic circuit. This learning and refinement function is called machine learning.
ML requires the successful handling of large amounts of data by computers. As this vast assemblage of data is analyzed, the computer is allowed to make decisions. These decisions are called inferences, which are conclusions reached based on evidence and logical reasoning. This type of processing is well-suited to a computer. AI is like a version of the fictional private detective Sherlock Holmes on computational deductive steroids.
The computer system learns by one of three methods:

  • Supervised learning
  • Unsupervised learning
  • Reinforcement learning

Supervised learning works by providing and comparing the desired best correct answer response (output). Unsupervised learning is supervised learning’s complement. In contrast to supervised learning, it does not contain any information regarding the desired, best correct answer response (output). Reinforcement learning provides appropriate positive or negative feedback based on the best correct response (output). Because computers have high data processing capabilities, they can make dramatic jumps in their reinforcement learning performance rather quickly. This comparison of quickness is relative to humans, who do so without the aid of computers.

FIG. 2. AI-enhanced smart LED lighting and controls can handle functions from executing color-changing lighting schemes to more sophisticated building management operations that integrate safety and security measures, networked sensors, HVAC, and scheduled lighting to supplement natural daylight — all by using machine learning to automate programming, reduce human intervention where needed, and decrease energy consumption. Photo credit: Image by MarchCattle/Stutterstock.com.

Here, there, everywhere

A plethora of industries are now incorporating AI.

Banking, retail, automotive, and medical are all sectors that have taken a significant leap in employing AI. Although AI will be pervasive, it will likely be adopted across various sectors at different paces. Over time, knowledge and lessons learned in these fields will flow over into the industrial and lighting control application space.
The breadth and scope of the industrial control sector, including smart LED lighting, is enormous. Organizations with particular and specific knowledge of their smart lighting control and automation parameters will adapt faster than those who have farmed this duty to outside firms.

AI and ML implementation are easier for organizations that have initial conceptions of how they should address learning algorithms to tackle the specifics of their organizational challenges and goals. Understanding the existing system’s limitations and interrelations will provide specific areas for focusing and applying AI in building lighting control and automation solutions. AI can be tailored to address application-specific areas that the organization desires to control and automate. It is a tool that has many uses. Like a handyperson with a well-equipped tool belt, it has at its disposal a wide variety of contexts and applications.

Because of the diverse activities within the industrial space, standard higher-level functions will yield the primary market entry points with the greatest level of return on investment. Areas where human safety, overall security concerns, and risks represent large financial exposures will likely be the first industrial areas employing large amounts of AI. Also, industrial AI applications such as smart LED lighting, where relatively similar high-level systems can be quickly adapted and modified, represent areas for adoption. Organizations should be looking at and strategizing how AI offers the possibility of increasing efficiency and efficacy.

Reducing human intervention

AI enables systems and devices to operate while requiring little or no direct human supervision or control. Successful building automation leads naturally to better building LED lighting control that can save money by reducing energy consumption and waste. All this provides an improved level of service quality and customer satisfaction.

A fine example of AI in an office setting would be building LED lighting control and automation changes that respond to the sun’s location changes throughout the day. This adjustment is made through proper synchronization with the measured amount of illumination being received from the sun and then adjusting for various locational and output illumination requirements needed by multiple consumers.


AI will enable the commissioning of building lighting control and automation. That’s not to mention how AI will help society move in a positive direction to save money, reduce energy consumption and waste, improve service quality, and increase customer satisfaction because of further advancements in lighting control. Now, if kids would only listen to their parents and remember to turn off the lights when they leave an empty room.

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