Circular Lighting Report

Circular lighting initiatives recognised

Build Back Better Award

A SLEW of circular lighting initiatives and projects have been recognised in the latest lighting category of the Build Back Better Awards.

Speirs Major’s lighting design for the Our Time on Earth exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London was awarded both a Build Back Better Platinum and a Build Back Better Gold for the its sustainable credentials.

Speirs Major’s team, led by senior lighting designer Benz Roos, devised four key principles for the project: Use as much existing equipment as possible; design with a minimal number of luminaires; specify light fittings suitable for the circular economy; and ensure the visitor experience is excellent. A full life cycle assessment was carried out on all the lighting equipment used in the project.

Swedish company Brighteco was awarded both a Build Back Better Awards Gold and a Build Back Better Awards Green rating for its Lighting as a Service programme. The company makes panel luminaires from discarded computer screens sourced from waste and recycling centres.  The fully serviceable light panels are sold on a subscription, lighting-as-a-service model and the company also takes responsibility for upgrading if necessary, as well as the reuse or recycling of the products at the end of their life. The firm already has a number of installations under its belt, including a number of schools for which they pay a monthly fee.

LumiAdd took a Build Back Better Awards Green for its Sustainable Design Freedom strategy. The company describes it as a ‘complete rethink of the way luminaires are designed and manufactured’. The concept uses bio plastics – in this case poly lactic acid – to 3D print each luminaire to order.

It produces 97.5 per cent less Co2 emissions than aluminium from the Far East and 92.7 per cent less that from the EU. It can also be recycled or composted in industrial conditions. LumiAdd even offers a buy back scheme to support the return its luminaires at the end of their first use.

A Strange Form (Xenomorph) from design house Matt Black –  a concept to create the most circular downlight possible – was awarded a Build Back Better Gold rating.  The bespoke components are all recyclable and can be manufactured from recycled materials. The product can be dismantled with just one tool. To help maintain the luminaire, it is essential that the main components are easily accessible. This is supported by an absence of springs and mechanical fixings, magnets which create a stress free installation and de-mounting process, damage-free removal from the ceiling on de-mounting, a quick installation guide pad printed on the heatsink.

There is a small component count, an efficient assembly process and the components are easy to procure with minimal secondary processing. Each component has been designed with transportation in mind and are therefore stackable and space saving. Where possible, the components are procured in the same country as where the luminaire is manufactured.

The Vitality Relight programme from Whitecroft Lighting was awarded a Build Back Better Awards Green rating. The guiding principle behind Whitecroft’s Vitality ReLight is simple: During a lighting refurb, why throw away what you don’t need to? By retaining and reusing as much of the lighting components as possible, Whitecroft will cut down on the manufacture of new materials and reduce embodied carbon impacts.Whitecroft uses Cradle to Cradle Certified materials wherever possible.  In addition, it is the only UK lighting manufacturer with a luminaire regeneration process certified by British Standards Institute Kitemark.

The RENEW : REUSE : REBEL initiative from Scandinavian lighting distributer Rebel Light also took a Build Back Better Awards Green rating. This offers designers, clients and end users the opportunity to specify, purchase or rent technical lighting products according to circular terms and conditions.  By including a 20-year service for circularity with each product, Rebel Light is releasing the owner and the end user of the issue that piles of products would normally become. The company offers cash buy-backs on any product that was sold from the circular collection.
And by including a service agreement for both design and technology with delivered projects Rebel Light can proactively work towards extending the lifetime of its lights.  It is changing the terms of purchasing and selling light fixtures, and establishing Rebel Light as a service and repair centre for architectural lighting. All products can be renewed 20 years from date of manufacture. Renewed products are sold with a warranty of five years.  Rebel Light is authorised by the manufacturer of the product to perform all service and repair jobs. In many cases including on-site repairs via Rebel Light’s mobile workshop.

The refurbishment of the Building Research Establishment in Watford, UK by Silent Design and Tridonic UK was awarded a Build Back Better Green. The team reused all its existing light fittings in the project. The fluorescent-to-LED refurbishment project saved 252 kilograms of luminaires’ bodies from removal and resulted in energy savings of up to 45 per cent and increases of light output to up to 35 per cent.

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.