‘Systemic change’ needed in lighting industry to adopt circular economy

circular economy

The lighting industry needs a systemic change if it is to fully adopt circular principles and practices.

That was the conclusion of a gathering of lighting designers and industry executives in a special webinar on ‘The specifier’s role in the circular economy’ organised by the WEEE compliance body Recolight.

Manufacturers will have to reassess their business models for a time when reuse of products is normalised; designers will have to reconcile the inherent conflicts in creating a high quality interior that’s demountable and reusable; and clients will have to challenge the traditional take-make-waste consumption of building and refurbishment projects.

New business models – such as specialist ‘remanufacturing’ firms which upgrade, test, sell and warranty reused lighting products – will also be created.

Chaired by Ray Molony, head of content at the Build Back Better Awards, the panel included Bob Bohannon, head of policy and academy of the Lighting Industry Federation; Kristina Allison, senior lighting designer at Atkins and chair of the SLL’s education committee; Mark Ridler, head of lighting at BDP; Sophie O’Rourke, Intermediate lighting designer at Nulty+ and founding member of the Green Light Alliance; Bruce Weil, co-owner of the independent practice Lighting Design Studio; and Nigel Harvey, the CEO of Recolight.

Weil said the retail lighting sector especially needed to reconsider its lighting practices.

“It’s a real outlier” he told the audience. “It’s wedded to extremely high illuminance levels and energy use and when we come to offset the carbon in our projects, it’s a real standout.

“As the climate crisis evolves our role as lighting designers will potentially become even more critical but I think we are far from any kind of standardised approach.”

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