Dork Alert! Liking the Techie Side of Lighting
March 30, 2012 - 4:16pm

For as much as we like to tout our fashion savvy at this publication, at times we can be complete nerds. I don’t know what potty-training issues we had in the distant past that have made us all organized to a fault in order to meet deadlines. But, I do know that lighting appreciation is inherently a balance of art and science. Just as the right brain is processing the elegant proportions of a fixture, the left brain is measuring its footcandles and monitoring the efficacy of the light source.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am completely fascinated by the inner workings of the products we cover. We have to be. That’s where the action is, no matter how beguiling the external surface or resulting effect appears to be.

The recent scrutiny that consumers and legislators have placed on a product’s energy consumption is enough to give a lamp or fixture performance anxiety. Thanks to media attention and, in some cases, government mandates, I’m sure most of your customers are quite familiar with the friendly spiral of CFLs and their benefits. Next up for fluorescent? The GU-24 lamp-and-ballast combination that is now eligible for an Energy Star rating under version 4.1 of the label’s Residential Light Fixture specification. 

While consumer tolerance for lighting’s former “F” word has certainly expanded, our industry has been more abuzz lately about another emerging light source: LEDs. Appropriate applications continue to grow, with mainstream manufacturers diving in the R&D deep end and a dedicated (and increasingly competitive) category in the annual Lighting for Tomorrow design competition. In our special supplement LEDs Now, Associate Editor Jennifer Pinto explores how LEDs work and why and how they make sense for today’s (or at least tomorrow’s) homes.

Tracking the transition from incandescent to fluorescent to LED may be kind of like watching the succession of James T. Kirk to Jean-Luc Picard to Jonathan Archer at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. Go ahead—pull me over, dweeb police. I can’t help myself. I’m enraptured by the moving target of modern technology.

Whether it incorporates a simple socket assembly or the latest in solid-state engineering, every product is powered by its inner geek. I can relate. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

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