Calling lighting “unique, because it is an energy affective building system,” National Lighting Bureau Communications Director John Bachner cautioned that designers “need to consider lighting’s interrelationships with other building systems to achieve the overall energy consumption and lighting quality goals established for earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits.” The Bureau is an independent, not-for-profit lighting education organization established in 1976. It is sponsored by professional societies, trade associations, manufacturers, utilities, and agencies of the U.S. government.
Mr. Bachner noted that the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED program awards credits to lighting systems that meet or exceed ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-1999 or the local energy code, whichever is more stringent. It also encourages use of controls and architectural daylighting. “That’s exactly as it should be,” Bachner says, “but designing a code-compliant lighting system that also provides high-quality illumination is not a simple task. We also need to recognize that codes are not designed to consider lighting’s energy affective nature, in other words, the degree to which lighting influences how much energy other building systems consume. The LEED program counteracts some of these weaknesses and can serve as an important spur to design excellence.”
Bachner disagrees with the notion that LEED-compliant outdoor lighting cannot provide as much safety and security as other outdoor lighting, because of LEED criteria’s emphasis on energy conservation and the prevention of night sky glow. He said, “Without question, energy efficient, night sky friendly, LEED compliant outdoor lighting can provide high levels of safety and security, but it takes skilled, thoughtful design. By creating rewards for that kind of design, the LEED concept benefits us all, because, at night, electric illumination defines the visual environment. We should all want that to be a good environment. LEED can help make it happen.”