It usually goes something like this: reducing energy consumption is a sustainable thing to do Ã¯Â¿Â½ low-energy light bulbs reduce the use of energy Ã¯Â¿Â½ therefore low-energy light bulbs are sustainable. Sounds reasonable, but as all you aficionados of Aristotle will know, thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s just a plain old syllogism Ã¯Â¿Â½ an inference Ã¯Â¿Â½ itÃ¯Â¿Â½s faulty logic. Which is a pity, because it seems as though an entire industry is either fooling itself or trying to fool the rest of us into believing thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s itÃ¯Â¿Â½s true.
Making a low-energy light fitting does not take a genius as we can see from the fact that everyone and their ancient relatives are doing it. And it doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t take too much extra effort to make a low-energy light fitting that complies with the regulations (Building Regs. Part L, for those of you sitting at the back). And it doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t really help when the powers (that be) loosen the requirements for compliance to something so meaningless as to be downright foolish.
Sorry - ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s an opinion, and its all mine.
Perhaps this is all perfectly understandable. WeÃ¯Â¿Â½re in the direct path of a major resource crisis, but its all been wrapped up in the old-fashioned trappings of an energy crisis, so perhaps we choose not to see it as it is, only as weÃ¯Â¿Â½d prefer it to be. But this is probably the big one, so weÃ¯Â¿Â½d be better off setting out some ground rules for where we ought to be heading from here.
Ideally, Sustainable production means taking nothing that canÃ¯Â¿Â½t easily be replaced and replaced within a reasonable span of time. A barrel of oil cannot be replaced in a reasonable span of time. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s extraction simply takes away and leaves future generation (our children and grandchildren and those who come after them) with less and that is not a sustainable situation. At the same time Ã¯Â¿Â½ and being very topical Ã¯Â¿Â½ replacing oil-based fuel with plant-based biomass fuel is no more sustainable if the land being used was originally growing food. It might be good for business, but itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a bit rough on the communities that were relying on the food. Waste is another issue. The conventional view is that waste is Ã¯Â¿Â½someone elseÃ¯Â¿Â½s problemÃ¯Â¿Â½, although the someone in question is rarely identified. Throwing stuff away doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t work any more. The global community has shown us that Ã¯Â¿Â½awayÃ¯Â¿Â½ has gone away. Its all our own backyard. We can no longer afford to do business this way. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s been called Ã¯Â¿Â½mortgaging the futureÃ¯Â¿Â½. Others have called it what it really is: stealing from our kids.
Of course, sustainability in practice is a bit more rough and ready than just waving a magic wand or expecting a non-existent world government to save us; we are where we are and all we can hope for is to shift things along in the direction that we need to go in.
For now, I want the UK lighting industry to think about a shopping list of what all this sustainability malarkey will mean for the board of directors:
* product design that embraces the closed cycle of use and re-use rather than the old take-make-waste practices of old.
* manufacturing management that identify and then reduce material and resource usage.
* waste management that roots out inefficient practices and reduces the amount of stuff that we throw away (there is no Ã¯Â¿Â½awayÃ¯Â¿Â½).
* distribution management that seeks to reduce packaging and distribution costs.
* corporate management that identifies the ways that energy is wasted as a consequence of business decisions
ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s an awful lot of Ã¯Â¿Â½managementÃ¯Â¿Â½ being look for, donÃ¯Â¿Â½t you think?
Anything else: oh yes Ã¯Â¿Â½ and make really good quality light fittings that use as little material and energy resources as possible. And all the time, remembering that the most Sustainable light fitting is the one that doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t get switched on, so educating the wider community on its own management of resources.
Greenwashing: a guidline for good behaviour
The elephant box in the room
What Lighting Designers Should be Looking For . . . and Asking For
The Children's Fire
Products That Last - Redux
Products That Last - Review No.3
Products That Last - Review No.2
Products That Last - Review No.1
Products That Last
Talking about Waste - as we were . . .
Sustainability - They Seek it Here, They Seek it There . . .
Sustainability - the core message
The Life and Times of the LED - a series in ten parts
Sustainability: They Seek it Here; They Seek it There . . .
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room