If the amount of research and development currently underway in the lighting sector is any indication, the industry is continuing its recovery from the recession loaded with innovation. This year, we explored trends ranging from improved thermal management in luminaires to material innovations that integrate the light source with other building components, as well as our annual look at product development across the industry. See below for our top products and technology stories of 2015.

The Task at Hand: New Display Technologies Require a Re-Examination of Office Lighting Strategies” (From Jan/Feb 2015)
The increasingly digital nature of office work, along with new display technologies and every-more-stringent energy-efficiency criteria, are requiring changes in the way in which workspaces are illuminated. The shift has been gradual. In February, we explored how the evolution of computer screens over the last four decades has caused a parallel shift in what designers and building occupants alike consider an ideal office lighting plan. Read more.

Tang Yau Hoong

New Materials in Solid-State Lighting” (From March/April 2015)
Advances in lighting material technologies are putting the focus on the light, rather than its source, creating luminaires that can be integrated with other building components. That possibility has come about thanks to developments in novel components such as remote phosphors, moldable silicone optics, gallium nitride substrates, and more. Read more.

Keeping It Cool with Innovative Heat Sink Designs” (From Sept/Oct 2015)
Heat sinks have come a long way in form, materiality, and overall performance since the first LED luminaires came onto the market, lacking effective means of thermal management. Today’s heat sinks are smaller and more efficient than their predecessors, and in some cases are made part of the lamp or fixture’s aesthetic. In this article we explore how that element of the luminaire continues to evolve. Read more.

Fran Parente

Light Manufacturing: Then and Now” (From May/June 2015)
The rise of solid-state lighting technology (SSL), together with that of digital manufacturing, has changed the competitive landscape for lighting manufacturers of all sizes. We check in with a handful of new and legacy manufacturers to see how they’re responding to changes that require them to be more adept in electronics while also affording new ways to meet client needs. Read more.

Original photo: Keith Allison via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Evolution of White Light” (From July/Aug 2015)
New metrics for color-rendering are helping to improve the quality of LEDs, specifically with regards to producing uniform white light. Today, manufacturers use a number of metrics and standards to do just that, while industry research groups are continually finessing them and developing new ones. Read more.


Plugging In to BIM” (From Nov/Dec 2015)
Better integration and compatibility among software programs, specifically around computing and design modeling, is on many a lighting designer’s wish list. And while developers are working to improve integration, many designers say they’d like to see more work—and faster—done to boost coordination among lighting-design programs and BIM. Read more.

Image courtesy Flickr user Michael Hicks via a Creative Commons license.

Lighting Manufacturers Share Tips on Specifying Fixtures for Multi-Year Projects” (From May/June 2015)
Continual evolution of LEDs in lighting coupled with protracted project timelines has added a measure of uncertainty to the traditional specification process. As a result, it can be difficult for designers to know whether a luminaire they specify today will be available—or even just perform the same—when the project is completed a handful of years later. We asked manufacturers what they’re doing to help designers manage the gap. Read more.


Solid-State Lighting Technology Adds New Functions to LED Luminaires(From May/June 2015)
The electronic nature of solid-state lighting is bringing new functionality to conventional luminaires, including the integration of sensors for occupancy and daylight, video surveillance cameras, and more. This raises critical questions as to whether the fixtures are solid like hardware, software, or both, requiring to some extent a re-training among lighting manufacturer sales reps, as well as more information for both the client and manufacturer on how the fixtures are protected against tampering in the field or remotely. Read more.

USAI Lighting

Color Tunability Joins Manufacturers' Product Offering” (From May/June 2015)
New luminaires make use of solid-state lighting’s color-tuning capabilities, giving specifiers more control over how they light a space and suggesting a future where such functionality is the norm. Read more


Smart Lamps Join Lighting Manufacturers' Product Portfolios(From May/June 2015)
Most leading lighting manufacturers offer Internet-connected replacement lamps as well as large-scale systems, and say they hope consumer familiarity with the former will breed commercial interest in the latter. Read more.

2015 Products Issue(From May/June 2015)
From the nearly 400 products submitted to our Annual Product Issue, the following luminaires and components evidence the continual evolution in solid-state lighting as the industry addresses technical concerns including controls, color, dimming, and flicker. Read more.