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Circularity is a key priority for the lighting industry, say global experts speaking at Light + Intelligent Building Middle East

17 Jan 2024

Leaders in the global lighting sector have convened at THINKLIGHT, a three-day industry gathering at Light + Intelligent Building Middle East

Experts suggest that circularity is not just a choice but a shared responsibility

Responsibility is a key theme at the 2024 edition of Light + Intelligent Building Middle East, which continues until 18 January 

Captured by Lights In Motion

Dubai, UAE: Circularity was in focus at THINKLIGHT, one of the main industry discussion platforms at Light + Intelligent Building Middle East. Linking with the overarching exhibition theme of ‘Enlightened Futures: How Responsibility Will Guide the Future of Light and Buildings’, experts from lighting design companies in the UK, Europe, China and India shared insights on how the lighting sector is working towards a circular economy.

A 'circular economy' or 'circularity' refers to the practice of reusing or regenerating products, services, or resources instead of wasting them. This concept is becoming increasingly popular in the lighting industry as professionals such as designers, specifiers, and engineers are starting to prioritise environmental responsibility and adopt more sustainable and eco-friendly products to reduce their impact on the environment.

Florence Lam, Global Lighting Design Director of Arup, UK, who opened the THINKLIGHT session on circularity, said: “Circularity is not just about a product. To achieve circularity, there needs to be a shift in mindset across the entire lighting design industry. We need to look at what we have done wrong in the past as an industry and what we are able to do better.”

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Fellow speaker Paul Traynor, Founder of Light Bureau UK, agreed, saying: “At Light Bureau, we think that our approach is inherently sustainable due to the way we deliver projects. Being ‘responsible’ is one of our three basic values, and for us, responsibility is not just about standing behind a policy; it’s about people taking accountability for this principle as individuals.”

According to Lam, a circular lighting model covers the whole life cycle, from design to production, use and return. A recent project highlighted by Lam was the use of LED lighting throughout the new Abu Dhabi International Airport. As well as providing a vibrant, high-quality lighting effect, this LED lighting system provides a longer-lasting, more sustainable solution in the long term.

During the discussion, the speakers reached the unanimous conclusion that lighting companies need to prioritise the complete life cycle of their products. From the initial design to the final disposal, companies should take responsibility for their products and focus on developing lighting solutions that are durable, easy to repair, and recyclable. By doing so, they can not only reduce waste and promote sustainability but also contribute to the overall well-being of the environment.

THINKLIGHT continues tomorrow (18 January), delving into a wide range of topics including how light, art and immersive installations in public spaces are becoming more innovative, as well as the business of lighting design in the Middle East & North Africa.

Over 1,000 brands are featured at Light + Intelligent Building Middle East across six product categories, including: 'Technical Lighting', 'Electric Lamps and Components', 'Decorative Lighting', 'Architectural Lighting', 'Electrical Engineering', and 'Smart Home and Building Automation'. The exhibition takes place at Hall 1 and Za’abeel Halls 2-3 at Dubai World Trade Centre until 18 January.