The 2015 International Year of Light (2015 IYL) is a global initiative to 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 this year.
On the most fundamental level through photosynthesis, light is necessary to the existence of life itself, and the many applications of light have revolutionised society through industry, medicine, communications, entertainment and culture. Light and photonics are poised to become key enabling technologies of the future.
Lighting represents almost 20% of global electricity consumption. The future development of society in both developed countries and emerging economies around the world are intimately tied up with the ability to effectively light our cities, businesses, homes, schools and recreation areas.
Lighting provides safety and security, provides access to education, enhances architecture, and improves quality of life.
“We take light for granted and often notice it only by its absence, particularly of late due to load shedding activities nationally” commented Karel Steyn of the SAEE.
As cities worldwide develop, however, it becomes essential to employ new and innovative lighting design techniques and technologies that improve energy efficiency cost and control.
A major focus of the year’s IYL activities is light in the Built Environment. The theme of “Light in the Built Environment” addresses both indoor and outdoor environments. The goals of good lighting are to put light where it is needed, when it is needed, while simultaneously minimising energy use and light pollution. Addressing issues of light pollution is essential for many reasons – from reducing energy waste to allowing everyone to appreciate the beauty of the night sky.
Practitioners of many disciplines, from engineering to architecture, deal with light in the built environment. Lighting designers specialise in applying insights from both science and art to optimise lighting installations, improving human comfort and productivity while also highlighting architectural impact.
John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL Steering Committee explains: “Raising awareness of the importance of the interdisciplinary theme of Light in the Built Environment will be a key goal of the International Year of Light in 2015.”
In 1917, Albert Einstein remarked, “For the rest of my life, I will reflect on what light is.”