A review of Circular Lighting Live 2023
Circular Lighting Live 2023 brought together 290 registered delegates for the most comprehensive review of circular economy progress in the lighting industry. 35 speakers and panellists provided a fully comprehensive review of the legislation, and actions that companies in the UK and elsewhere are taking to drive forward the circular economy. Presentation after presentation made it very clear that remanufactured lighting products are no longer the preserve of just a few companies: instead, many are now getting involved.
A number of key themes emerged from the manufacturers track of this year’s Circular Lighting Live:
- The EU is preparing multiple waves of legislation focused on sustainability, carbon reduction, green claims, metrics to demonstrate compliance with environmental requirements, and waste.
- The reuse of lighting fixtures is becoming much more commonplace. Many specifiers are now actively seeking out reused luminaires as a way of reducing the embedded carbon of lighting schemes. Lighting
- Manufacturers are responding by offering refurbishment and remanufacturing services. Systems are being set up to encourage the reuse and remanufacture of lighting.
- Manufacturers are competing, and differentiating their products based on sustainability metrics that go way beyond simple lumens/watt data.
- With the much greater level of action on sustainability in the industry, there is also a greater sense of urgency that we need to move much further, and faster.
A separate track for Lighting Designers, chaired by Leela Shanker, of Borealis Lighting Studio, discussed how best to embed circularity and sustainability within lighting projects. That includes the use of metrics such as TM66 (for circularity) and TM65 (for embedded carbon), as well as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs).
Sustainability legislation for lighting
The keynote presentation on legislation was delivered by Maurice Maes, Head of Standards and Regulation at Signify, and President of Lighting Europe. His message was very simple: the EU is unleashing wave after wave of sustainability legislation, as it seeks to urgently decarbonise. That legislation will affect all in the lighting industry, its supply chain, and its customers. And he noted that the Commission is increasingly using regulations rather than directives, as a way of speeding up the adoption, and ensuring greater harmonisation of the new requirements.
And although there is precious little green legislation on the radar in the UK, the EU Green Deal umbrella, with its 153 legislative acts, has set the pace for a global trend of green regulations that are coming at an unprecedented speed.
Maurice described explosion of green label initiatives, third-party certification programs, and customers demanding proof of sustainability. He also focused on the work done at Lighting Europe in seeking to harmonise EPDs and LCAs via new Product Specific Rules (PSR14) that should allow realistic side-by-side sustainability comparison of different fittings.
Reuse of lighting equipment
Conference attendees heard multiple examples of projects in which luminaires are reused and remanufactured. Most were upgrades of existing lighting equipment, in the same building, that are retrofitted (usually moving from fluorescent to LED). In many cases, these upgrades were undertaken onsite, rather than by returning products to a factory. That speeds up the process, and should also reduce the carbon footprint of transport and distribution.
But John Bowden of Silent Design gave a great example of what he considered could be the UK’s lowest carbon footprint lighting upgrade project. Luminaires were taken out of a building following a cat A refit. These were upgraded at his facility, before being installed at the client’s premises. Cracking this approach – being able to take luminaires from one site and to reuse them in another location – is one of the vital keys to further increasing the sustainability of the lighting industry.
Francesca Cameron of Recolight gave an overview of a new website, the Recolight Reuse Hub, that is available, free of charge, to help link donors of new or used lighting products, with potential recipients.
Bob Bohannon, Head of Policy and Sustainability at the LIA gave an overview of planned changes to the CIBSE circularity specification, TM66, and also talked through the way in which National Highways are tackling carbon reduction and setting a minimum TM66 rating as part of their purchasing criteria.
Tim Bowes, Head of Lighting Application at Whitecroft Lighting discussed the strategies lighting manufacturers could adopt to gather environmental information such as EPDs and LCAs, and ways in which administrative and certification costs could be minimised.
What was very clear throughout the day, was that new environmental metrics are here to stay. What many customers are now starting to include in their purchasing criteria today, may well be included in mandatory legislation tomorrow.
It was clear that the event was a hit, here’s a snippet of the feedback received:
“Circular Lighting Live is one of the most inspiring conferences I have been to. It is bringing together experts to show the route to Carbon Net Zero 2050 and how we should be adapting to the future and helping reduce carbon. This is THE place to learn about lighting and its impact on the climate.”
Marcus Steffen, Director, MS Lighting Design
“A great event with so much relevance to the lighting and building industry. Some excellent examples of remanufacture and success stories of how end users, architects and lighting designers are implementing the ideas of improved sustainability. More action is needed!”
Lewis Smith, Founder, Smith Dixon Associates
“The event itself was invaluable for us as a business to benefit from exposure to specifiers, end users and knowledgeable/influential people in lighting.”
Justine Walmsley, Signify
“Circular Lighting Live brought together a great mix of people committed to doing better for the planet. It is great to see so much enthusiasm. This event gave people the knowledge and inspiration to go out there and take better actions and make better choices.”
Jess Galacher, ASD lighting
“There is huge progress in the industry on remanufacturing, increased acceptance of the model and more of a focus on delivering it rather than debating whether it ‘can work’. CLL has been a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences as we all transition to circular models.”
Tom Ruddell of EGG Lighting
“Circular Lighting Live delivers an absolute treasure trove of sustainability knowledge, expertise, and wisdom from all areas of the lighting industry.”
Jago Wickers, LUMINO Distribution Ltd
The need for urgent action on sustainability has never been clearer
The timing of Circular Lighting Live 2023 was remarkably poignant. It came the day after Rishi Sunak announced a controversial roll-back of a number of planned UK legislation changes, intended to tackle the climate crisis. And so it was heartening to hear that overwhelmingly, all in the lighting supply chain remained absolutely committed to engaging on and enhancing sustainability.
One of the urgent issues discussed was the appalling practice of fitting out new offices (Cat A fit-outs), only for those luminaires to be removed and discarded out once a tenant takes the space (and installs Cat B fittings).
Sponsors and Exhibitors of Circular Lighting Live 23
Platinum Sponsor: Signify
Gold Sponsors: ASD Lighting PLC, Bell Lighting, Casambi , Commercial Lighting Systems, EGG Lighting, Feilo Sylvania UK Ltd, FutureDesigns, Glamox Luxonic, Helvar, Holophane Europe Ltd, Llumarlite, The Regen Initiative, Silent Design, Smart Systems UK, Synergy Commercial Lighting, Trilux, TRT Lighting, Urbis Schreder.
Silver Sponsor: Applelec Lighting