2015 – The International Year of Light

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

2015 Is The International Year of Light

Have you heard? The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2015 The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

As a self-proclaimed lighting geek, this makes me absolutely giddy with excitement! This year, the world’s attention will be focused on my world, my work. THEY – not just little old me, but the powers that be – have noticed and declared that lighting is important. We’ve known this all along, but the legitimacy that this offers the profession of lighting design is unprecedented.

From the light2015.org website: “The International Year of Light is a global initiative, which will highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society. It is a unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale.”

There’s no doubt that I’ll be doing my part to inspire, educate, and connect around the medium of light more than ever during this special year. How about you?


What kind of light inspires you? Firelight? Candlelight? Sunset? A rainbow? Perhaps the Astronomy Picture of the Day would be an inspiration? For twenty years, NASA has posted a daily cosmic photo, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Take a look.


There will be many opportunities to educate and be educated on the topic of light throughout this special year. Look for the Twitter hashtag #IYL2015, and watch your local Illuminating Engineering Society Section or International Association of Lighting Designers Chapter for on-topic meetings. For a complete list of official IYL2015 events, see the Event tab on the International Year of Light website.


The International Year of Light is about so much more than what is happening in the United States. Light, as an ingredient in photosynthesis, is fundamental to life. Light is also critical for education. For about a quarter of the world’s population, sunset means no more light until morning. With the falling price of LED and photovoltaic technology, the opportunity for solar off-grid lighting grows. Providing clean light to developing communities brings opportunities for better education and health care. At the same time, we need to be aware of the importance of dark skies for our connection to the cosmos.

What does the United Nations hope to achieve with this year of light? They have outlined the following five goals:

  1. To promote light technologies for improved quality of life in the developed and developing world.
  2. To reduce light pollution and energy waste.
  3. To promote women’s empowerment in science.
  4. To promote education amongst young people.
  5. To promote sustainable development.

Those are goals that I can truly get behind, because they align with my own goals. How about you?

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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