Why you benefit by becoming a BHA School of Lighting student – July 2021 Newsletter


A TESTIMONIAL BY CORRIE PRINSLOO (Pr Eng Elec, Adv Dip Ilum Eng) Spoormaker & Partners

“In February 2019 I enrolled for the Advanced Diploma Course at BHA School of lighting, which is a two-year course and I recently graduated. What an amazing journey and experience it was, but it was not easy. At first, I asked Philip Hammond if it would be possible to get the course done in less time, but he assured me that this will not be possible, and I soon realised that he was right. The volume of the information included in the study material is such that two years are almost not enough, especially if one has a full-time job.

The first couple of modules provides one with insight into the production, control and colour of light, then the it goes on to describe how one sees. The eye is a very interesting subject and it is, as one continues through the journey, very important to understand how the eye perceives light when doing lighting design.

The next couple of modules explain how the old technology of lamps came into being and how the light is produced by each of these lamps. Of course, LEDs are fast replacing all the old type of lamps, but again it is important to understand how the technology evolved to what it is today.

The parts I enjoyed the most were the lighting design calculations which included the manual calculations in the first year and then the software calculations using Relux in the second year. This software is a wonderful and powerful tool for lighting designers, but one needs to first understand and know, how much light is required for each application, which one gets from the standards and regulations. For the Illumination engineer these standards provide the basis for the requirements of each design.

In the second year the we studied the 4th industrial revolution or 4IR and how the LED technology and the control of lighting is changing how we can use these technologies to create environments with lighting that is both pleasing and beneficial to the well-being of the occupants of the environment.

I am very privileged to have had opportunity to complete the course and learn from Philip Hammond. The course has opened up a whole new world for me as electrical consulting engineer and provided me with the knowledge and tools to provide the best possible lighting solution for our clients.”

As we start the second half of 2021 and the run down towards the festive season for many, I have been reflecting on my journey and experience since my first encounter with LED lighting way back in 2007.

I can clearly remember going to a meeting at a client on that day.  The client invited me into his showroom and proudly boasted that he had installed the latest lighting technology.  it was called Light Emitting Diodes.  On entering the showroom, it was so dark and the little LED downlights were so blue it was almost creepy.  He asked me what I thought of it?  I responded that the light was so poor that I could hardly see.  He promptly told me to be patient and my eyes would adjust to the light.  Of course, no matter how long we waited, our eyes simply do not adjust to poor light.

That was the prompt for me to do some serious research into this “New” form of lighting.

I soon learnt that LED lighting was not really new and that the history of LED lighting dated as far back as 1927!

Having said that, it was Nick Holonyak, an American engineer and educator who invented the visible red light LED whilst working at General Electric’s research laboratory in Syracuse, New York.  He demonstrated the red LED light on 9 October 1962.  This created more interest in LED technology which eventually led to the Japanese gentlemen Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura inventing te now familiar blue LED which led to the emergence of the white LED light in the 1990s.  Around 20 years later the three were awarded Nobel Prizes for Physics in the 2014 awards.

The LED has advanced to such an extent today that there is no lighting application where LED lighting cannot be used.

Of course, it is important to remember that not all LEDs are created equal!  There is still an incredible number of poor quality with equally poor performance on the market in South Africa and around the world.  Far too often, we hear it being said that it is easy to get LED product from suppliers in the East.  Those who think that seldom have any knowledge about LEDs, how they are manufactured, what quality characteristics should be met and that price is not the most important issue when it comes to LED lighting.

I have on several occasions been commissioned by consulting electrical engineers and very big clients to investigate sites where sub-standard lighting design has been completed and sub-standard LED lighting has been supplied.  It is always and most likely will always be an extremely difficult task to report the true facts after thoroughly investigating the issues.  As a result, I developed a short course on the subject “Specifying LED lighting in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for lighting design and for LED lighting in tender documents.”

A sample document was prepared which Consulting Electrical Engineering practices can freely use in their own RFPs or Tender documentation.  The main purpose is also to ensure that any business or person offering LED lighting products would have to meet the requirements contained in that sample document.  It includes certified copies of all of the various test reports for each of the products being offered.  It is also to ensure that any attempts to “value engineer” when making product offerings will be eliminated.  “Value engineering” is where a supplier offers an alternative product in answer to the old phrase “similar or equal to……” where the lowest price is paid to make the highest profit margin whilst still submitting relatively low pricing.

There are a few expressions that drive the point home: “The bitterness of disappointment and distress far exceeds the sweetness of bargain pricing.”  Another is “penny wise, pound foolish” and of course the Afrikaans expression “goedkoop is duurkoop” meaning buying cheap is buying expensive, says it all.

When the Return on Investment (ROI) for LED lighting is presented, the aim is to understate the lifespan rather than overstate it.  However, if low quality LED products are supplied, the ROI is seldom if ever achieved.

Reputation, integrity and respect as illumination engineers and good lighting designers is hard earned over many years.  All of that can be shattered and lost in an instant if one succumbs to poor quality for the sake of low price.

I trust that this will have been of interest to many, but will inspire others to pay closer attention to safeguarding themselves against “Value engineering”.

All BHA School of Lighting students are taught the correct way to specify LED Lighting, they are taught how to build trust, integrity and respect.

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

  • Bjorn Smidt-Hart, Benoni – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Limithemba Justice Bhengu, SMEC SA, Durban – BHASL003C19: Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Jim Koshy, Triocon Consulting Engineers, Cape Town – BHASL2005C21: Emergency Lighting Course

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

  • Renske Snyman, Cape Town – 1 July
  • Hardus Pieters, Centurion – 2 July
  • Tammy De Oliveira, Cape Town – 4 July
  • Jovan van Dyk, United Kingdom – 5 July
  • Sharron Burger, Cape Town – 18 July
  • Travis Booth, New Zealand – 22 July
  • Leonel Esteban Garcia Nunez, Mexico – 23 July
  • Lynette Jeppe, Bloemfontein – 24 July
  • Kubeshen Gopaul, Johannesburg – 28 July

The following students are preparing to write their final theory and practical examinations before graduating as Illumination Engineers.  We wish you success!

  • Leonel, Esteban Garcia Nunez, Mexico City. Mexico – as you prepare for your final parctical examination as soon as you have completed your electrical engineering specialisation at university.
  • Henk Goris, Durban – as you prepare for your final examinations before graduating.

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.

Webinar Schedule

  • 8 July @ 6pm SAST – Hospitality Lighting Design REGISTER HERE
  • 20 July @ 3pm SAST – Live demo of the new Relux Desktop version HOSTED BY RELUX REGISTER HERE

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/


The Institution of Lighting Professionals UK (The ILP)

Highlights virtual session on Monday 26 July from 13:00 BST or 14:00 SAST.  Student Members can REGISTER here https://theilp.org.uk/event/hi-lights-welcoming-online-session-for-all-in-lighting-26-july/

If you are a BHA School of Lighting student and have not yet signed up through us to become a student member, you are encouraged to join The ILP.  Student membership is absolutely free as long as you are a student of the school and start enjoying all of the benefits including the high quality Lighting Journal, the official ILP monthly glossy magazine which you can read online as well as all back issues too!

The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD)

Einblick – Lighting Designers Outside the Box: What is Your Home Office Story?

Join IALD Germany on 7 July on Instagram Live. A panel of four speakers are talking about their home office time and how the current situation has changed and influenced their work.

WHEN: 16.30 MESZ

HOW TO ATTEND: Join IALD Germany on Instagram Live

MORE INFO: For questions, please email germany@iald.me

This event is being presented on Instagram live and all IALD Student Members are encouraged to attend.



Xicato, known for architectural-quality LED sources, supplied only network connectivity and controls in an installation covering 14 warehouses in Grand Sud Logistique.

Intelligent sensor modules with Bluetooth connectivity bring Xicato controls to a busy logistics facility in France. Surprisingly, the company, known for its high-light-quality SSL, did not provide any LED light engines to the project. (Photo credit: Image courtesy of Xicato.)

Xicato has announced details of what it called an eco-friendly solid-state lighting (SSL) project within a French business park called Grand Sud Logistique. The LED lighting project near Tarn-et-Garonne in the southwest of France was planned as a sustainable development from an energy perspective. The Xicato announcement didn’t mention LED lighting products specifically but focused on Xicato Bluetooth products, and indeed, the company only supplied the connectivity and controls.

The French business park is largely focused on e-commerce and logistics, so it’s no surprise that warehouse applications dominate the 450 acres. Design Lighting Systems (DLS) was commissioned to design the space and had to walk the tightrope between French regulatory policy on light-level requirements and the customer’s wishes for a low-energy, sustainable development.

It’s not just connectivity that pays a return on investment (ROI) in a warehouse application — sensors and autonomous control are paramount. We first covered connected SSL back in 2010 and that Digital Lumens (now an Osram company) story was specifically focused on warehouse applications and the promise of 90% energy savings. In the warehouse application, a given aisle is vacant much of the time and needs little more than minimum light levels for safety.

The installation in France utilized network-enabled Xicato XIS sensors mounted independently from the luminaires. The 5-in-1 Bluetooth mesh sensor modules can detect temperature, humidity, motion, light level, and acceleration. The sensors allow nodes in each aisle to react autonomously to activity in the aisle, natural light from sources such as skylights, and more.

“The Xicato intelligent sensors were just the solution we were searching for to provide smart control over an extensive amount of space,” David Stanojevic, sales manager at Design Lighting Systems. “It was amazing how much coverage each sensor, with the Xicato relay nodes, delivered along with the many functionalities. Additionally, the cost savings were a substantial added benefit.”

The relay nodes mentioned by Stanojevic are essentially range extenders that might not be needed in a dense office environment, but that come into play in a cavernous warehouse. The aggregate area of the warehouses measured 53,800 ft2. The project utilized 1000 luminaires, 328 XIS sensors, and 143 of the Xicato relay nodes (XRN).

There were two other Xicato Bluetooth-connected SSL products utilized in the project. Manual override of the autonomous control scenario is available via locally-mounted switches. Those switches use the XSW Xicato Switch module to capture a switch activation and convert it into a Bluetooth command sequence. Also, the Xicato GalaXi Card (XCG) modules were utilized with each of the luminaires. The luminaires are not native Bluetooth devices but have drivers with 0–10V controls. DLS specified Eulum Design TRAN products for integration into the luminaires to translate Bluetooth commands to 0–10V settings and those translators each use the XGC.

The choice of Bluetooth mesh afforded a number of advantages for the French warehouses.  Morover, Bluetooth-based connectivity does not require a central management system for autonomous operation, reducing upfront costs. And finally the Bluetooth standard ensures the potential of over the air (OTA) software updates, minimizing the pain of down-the-road updates as a one of the key plus factors.


In the past decade, the lighting industry has been bamboozled by visions of fully automated “smart” buildings and cities driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that magically optimizes energy and resource use and most other outcomes. This has been driven by a number of factors, including a persistent and reflexive reliance on technology to solve problems that are better solved by design, economics, and politics. It’s also a result of the fast-paced, relentless tech industry trying to own the slow, entrenched building industry. The lighting industry has not quite known what to make of this assault in the past, but there are now signs that the early marketing hype promulgated chiefly by larger companies and illumination engineers. is starting to show signs of feasibility. Now we might say that smart buildings are in fact the future of lighting, and that integrated controls are what make them smart. Despite being far from the accepted mainstream practice, integrated controls are increasingly being implemented in a growing number of projects.

The smart building technology stack brings together many layers of devices and controls into a self-contained system. (Image credit: Graphic developed by Clifton Stanley Lemon)

The self-running building fantasy narratives of the last decade or so haven’t given us a useful definition of what actually makes a building smart. Faced with monumental challenges to our climate, economy, and energy system, we can now say that a smart building is one that produces, uses, and transmits electricity; sends and receives data on energy use, building occupancy, and much more; and has integrated controls that make all of this possible.

Integrated building controls – where lighting, HVAC and other systems work together to optimise building performance— are essential to building an equitable, resilient, decarbonized power infrastructure and meeting the challenges of climate change. To manage the recent and growing influx of renewable energy sources, balance the load on the grid, building systems and equipment must be able to collect and report data, respond to dynamic price signals, and talk to each other in a much more robust way than they currently do today. As one of the most important building systems, lighting plays a key role in the transition to a sustainable, resilient future.

The reasons that lighting systems are an ideal vehicle for smart building systems are well understood — they’re typically evenly distributed, powered, and are steadily becoming smarter. Another important behavioural reason that lighting plays a key role is that it is the first and most visible use of energy. A building that uses light efficiently and well sends a positive signal to occupants.

A more important reason that lighting controls play a lead role in the evolution of smart buildings is that they rely more on occupancy-based controls than HVAC systems, which are largely schedule based. Schedules are typically set once and then generally ignored. It’s quite common to find schedule-based systems running when no one is in the building, wasting much energy. There are compelling reasons to use a lighting occupancy-sensor system to control many other building services, especially HVAC, as real-time data is a much better basis for managing energy. And actual real-time building energy use data enables many things, including load management, decarbonization, and outcome-based code.

Control systems have long been a weak link in the building industry, and as they become more complex, the challenges will only increase. But the main hurdles we face are not technological: They’re economic, behavioural, and cultural. Contracting business models in particular must evolve and adapt to face the reality of the enormous challenges we face today.

The entire value chain must understand how the evolving future of smart buildings can have a decisive impact on product roadmaps, strategic planning, and ability to adapt to the challenges of the lighting industry today.

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