A Look Back from 2038

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

A Look Back from 2038

Our local Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) section just celebrated its 75th anniversary. Seventy-five years ago when our section began, GE was producing the first commercially available 4’ fluorescent tubes. We asked members of our IES section to predict what lighting would be like in 25 years on our 100th anniversary.

So…it's 2038.

Scenario 1
LEDs, supported by the U.S. DOE, have continued to incrementally improve and fill every socket in America and the world. The concept really caught on when medical research on health and lighting went mainstream. The connection between wavelength and cancer became indisputable, which made people more willing to pay a little extra for a technology with adjustable color temperature options. Circadian light is all the rage, and now dynamic, color-changing light throughout the day is common in both professional and residential applications.

Scenario 2
Integrated learning has sped the cross-pollination of industries allowing lighting as we know it to be integrated in to the fields of communication, information, and marketing. Lighting isn’t a fixture in the space, but it is a part of every appliance, door, piece of furniture, and wall covering. Wi-fi? That’s so 2015. Now we have Li-fi. What else is new? Lift a cereal box in the morning and it glows. Softly illuminated ceilings eliminate the need for separate light fixtures entirely. Essentially, everyday objects are our light fixtures now.

Scenario 3
Like a scene from a dystopian novel, the combination of polar ice caps melting, the ozone leaving, running out of natural resources, political unrest, and maybe a massive meteor encounter have left the planet in a post-apocalyptic state. Lack of infrastructure has rendered the technology of the past useless. We are starting over at square one with fire. Wood and oil light are the only available sources of man-made lighting. However, it won’t take long for the creative minds of the world to discover a new technology that harnesses the sun and saves its light for later use without the need for batteries...

When you envision the future of lighting, what do you see? What is happening today that makes you believe we are headed in that direction?

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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