The Basics of Efficient Lighting: An Introduction

I like to consider a number of sources when researching and writing my blogs. I believe this benefits my audience by giving them views from several perspectives. It also saves time as I do the leg work up front and cherry pick the information to get the discussion started. As always, I encourage audience feedback rather than shove material at you in an authoritative manner. Today however, I’m going to focus on a single document that I consider a bible on lighting, “The Basics of Lighting Efficiency”. This work was so informative that I had “high-lighted” enough for a blog by page eleven. The work is 150 pages long so obviously there is a wealth of information to present. I may do so over several blogs.

It’s not often that you come across a free document that is all inclusive. In my world of patenting there are books ranging from just south of fifty bucks”target=”new”>just south of fifty bucks to up in the six or seven hundred dollar range. Notice I only referenced the lowered priced book. Far be it for me to bolster greedy lawyers. I have already contributed twice, once to overpriced text books in college and the second time to lawyers and judges twisting the law in my divorce. As a frugal engineer, I tend to get my training material free from the USPTO and WIPO.

Here’s a little side story on publishing greed. I’m currently in the throes of publishing a series of books I want to extend into hard cover versions. For a 32 page children’s book I would have to charge 18 bucks to reap a return of 47 cents. This along with my disdain for advertising on behalf of lawyers has me pondering whether or not a blog titled “Giving the Middle Man the Middle Finger” would be welcomed by Planet Analog readers. Do respond with your thoughts.

Back to the subject at hand, lighting. “The Basics of Efficient Lighting” was written in Australia in 2009. Although a lot of the standards and lighting design hints are Aussie oriented, this work is extremely informative as it covers many aspects of lighting. Also, the technology is rapidly expanding yet the 2009 date is not discouraging. In fact, many of the existing technologies are covered providing a nice retrospect of history as well a reasoning for where lighting is currently and why it is focused on LEDs. Read it for yourself in this excerpt, “All lamps except LEDs give out more energy as infrared than they do as visible light.” That thar oughta be enough to entice you further.

When I began writing about LEDs, I wanted to keep the focus on analog engineering. However, it’s very difficult not to write about this subject without turning an analog engineer into an optical engineer. For younger readers, it’s been beneficial for me to learn outside of my area of expertise. Although I do recall my younger years tended to keep from doing this due to the overwhelming amount of knowledge that was required in a slither of the engineering discipline. At that point I was glad I focused and burned my fingers a few times as the concepts went from foreign to snap of the wrist. Of course now that I’m over 50 I’ve probably forgotten more than I learned. Still, the opportunity to freelance and write columns such as this has expanded my knowledge far beyond that of rearranging the four basic SMPS (switched mode power supplies)* components of an inductor, a capacitor, a transistor, and a diode. As a marketer my running joke about these components was that the same components arranged differently can invoke totally different results as demonstrated in the following two sentences.

Accidents are a result of children in the back seat.

Children are a result of accidents in the back seat.

Not only are you possibly blushing right now, you also went from that tense moment most parents have experienced back to the morning after trepidation from a night of high school escapades. Shame, shame (scraping one index finger axially along the other oriented perpendicularly). Ah the spillover of patent writing. I think the business majors and Kool-Aid drinking managers just left. Wait, come back! Here’s a tidbit for you from “The Basics of Efficient Lighting”.

“HEADS UP: Selling Efficiency”

”The trend toward energy efficiency has taken a quantum leap in recent years, with the demand for energy efficient equipment and appliances being largely consumer driven. The objective of this manual is to give electricians, salespeople and anyone involved in lighting, a range of tools to specify and install efficient, high quality lighting systems. The benefits to consumers are lower running costs, reduced environmental impact and often improved lighting quality which comes from thoughtful lighting design, rather than adherence to outdated (yet easy) lighting practices.”

Sorry to bore the more technical readers. I’ll throw you a technical bone here by providing a useful org chart.

Beats the monkeys in the trees org chart as far as I’m concerned.

There is so much information in “The Basics of Efficient Lighting” that I would recommend reading it several ways. First and foremost, this work is a much better use of time than watching a reality show of idiots “chooting” alligators or Facebooking away your time. Bide your time during these cold, dark winter months by cranking up some candelas and improving your efficiency knowledge of efficacy. Yes we eventually will be addressing the cool terminology of lighting that extends from the creativity of engineering naming conventions.

In addition to fireside reading, having “The Basics of Lighting Efficiency” handy for a plane flight or as a reference while studying a job just might land you a position in one of the fastest growing areas of analog engineering, lighting. I think I myself might be positioned in more of a marketing role than engineering role due to my advertising tactics of waiting until the last paragraph before providing a hyperlink for When it Comes to Naming, Engineers Have No Lack of Creativity. How else am I going to get you to hang in there for the duration of my spew?

* Don’t ya hate it when people use acronyms that they don’t explain. Don’t ya hate it even more when people distract you to a reference by using an asterisk *?


  • Patent It Yourself” New Edition! David Pressman, Attorney and Thomas J. Tuytschaevers, Attorney July 2016, 18th Edition

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