Beyond the Build


Illuminating Sustainable Light Systems

BelvedereThis past week, I attended ICSC ReCon in Las Vegas, where I always enjoy visiting with longtime friends and meeting new ones.

I had the pleasure of being introduced to Clark Johnson of Johnson Light Studio and EVOKE on the last day of the conference. He and his team have designed lighting for an impressive array of clients including the New York Public Library, Gucci and the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.

Mr. Johnson is known for expertly combining artistic integrity with function. In our conversation, I asked him what the game changers have been in his industry over the last few years. Here is what he shared:

LED lighting. Early versions of these semiconductors were limited by the color light they could produce, and we saw them mostly in signage and wristwatches. The creation of the blue LED has been a game changer, likened to swapping a rotary telephone to smartphone.

Control systems. Lighting control systems can be linked to individual remote touchpads like an iPad and also include occupancy sensors to turn lights on or off. This translates to energy savings one moment and a warm welcome the next.

Sustainability. To avoid “dead space,” lights are actually turned up when it’s bright outside. HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs provide more light than incandescents or halogens of the same wattage. When used for the largest fixtures in a lighting design, these bulbs can greatly lower energy usage. ASHRAE 90.1 energy conservation standards are a guideline.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.