The Impact of Climate on Lighting Systems
Several of the rapidly developing parts of the world have substantially different climates than Europe and most parts of North America. Fixtures or lighting systems that have essentially been developed for the milder climes will not perform as well with the aggressive climate of the Middle-East, South Asia or South East Asia. The metrics of measurement and the standards must be updated. Further emphasis should also be given to the following factors:
Some areas have almost 90% humidity through several months of the year. The humidity in the air coupled with water in the ground means that all components of a lighting system need to be addressed as a complete system to ensure proper functioning. The water/ humidity finds the weakest link in the system and creeps through to the other parts via capillary action which has an adverse impact on the functioning and life of the components.
Choice of hardware must also be informed by whether the environment is near the ocean, as the salines will then have an adverse impact on the componentry.
Temperature and Ratings
When fixtures and lighting systems are tested under the IEC 60598, the ambient temperature is kept close to 25 degree centigrade and 65% relative humidity. After injecting the right voltage, the fixture is kept burning for four hours. In this time the temperature rise of the various components used in the fitting would have stabilized, and the temperature rise recorded through the help of thermocouples fixed to the various parts of the fitting. From this set of data, the release of the fitting is decided. If the fitting if found suitable for 25 deg. Ambient (Outdoor) and 35Deg. Ambient for indoor, it is cleared for sale, as the temperature in Europe never exceeds these temperatures. However, in other parts of the world, the temperatures are usually much higher.
Bugs, Mice and Birds
The bugs tend to live short lives and collect on light fixtures for their final resting place. The mice eat through wires and conduits. And the birds tend to use the light fixtures as a restroom. The deposits they leave are caustic and have a significantly detrimental effect on light fixtures and systems.
Dirt and Dust
This is another aspect of the environment which impacts efficiencies and longevity of lighting systems. However, this is more of a factor in how we design lighting for a space rather than a lamp technology issue. For light fixtures, the IP rating already focuses on this aspect and provides information that helps us in specifying the right fixtures.
This is an excerpt from Abhay Wadhwa’s Keynote speech at the World Lighting Congress 2012 titled The Impact of the Culture and Climate on Lighting Systems