The public landscape and gardens have been illuminated for as long as the interior structures have; for security, circulation, movement, and social occasions; since ancient times by firelight from wood, candles, and animal-plant oil fuels in torches, sconces, and lanterns. However, it is since the 19th century's introductions of new interior illumination fuels that the technology has been used in outdoors and in gardens. As municipal systems were developed for their power delivery; Gas lighting of the 19th century and electric light of the 20th century became part of exterior functioning and design.
Conventionally generated and sourced electricity remains the most used source for landscape lighting in the early twenty-first century. With the combination of energy costs from continuous escalating energy demands, increasing availability of sustainable design methods, global warming considerations, and aesthetic & safety concerns in garden and landscape design, the methods and equipment of outdoor illumination have been rapidly evolving. The increasing use of solar power, low voltage fixtures, energy-efficient lamps, and creative lighting design are examples of innovation in the field.
All this development has led us to believe on the power of LED. No doubt that the evolution in LED lights has transformed the face of landscape lighting across the world over. Most of these lights now come with inbuilt sensors, which can sense the movement and adjust their dimming or full light accordingly. These new-age lights consume much less power compared to the other conventional varieties. Going forward, lights coupled with solar panels have given all new dimensions to the changing facets of outdoor lighting thus opening up a new horizon for specifiers' fraternity to think beyond the existing ones.
According to Mr. Mukesh Manshani, Director with Hybec, "Lighting is an arena where we bring form and function together. We work closely with specifiers including architects, interior designers, and engineers to achieve a concept that compliments the design. We also strive to work closely with the installer to ensure a clean and satisfactory installation especially when it comes to bring functional aesthetics to the outlook." He adds that specialists at Hybec provide stylish and functional solutions to architect community for retail, restaurants, offices, hospitality, high-end residential, schools and institutions, besides having an exclusively dedicated team to take care of the landscape lighting.
Hybec has a special projects division, which is involved in carrying out complete project lighting, Illumination of monuments using computer-controlled and colour changer lighting systems, fibre optics lighting, etc. "We have setup outlets in Mumbai exclusively for the interior design and architect community and plan to replicate the same to other cities in India in the near future," says Mr. Manshani suggesting that the technological advances in the development of LED lights have been fast and furious, with manufacturers competing to design LED lighting products suitable for specific application.
Mr. Manshani believes that as energy demands increase, LED's will soon creep in to almost all the applications. "We, at Hybec, offer lighting solution right from the track on your ceiling to the landscape at your door. We can help you fit lighting into almost any aspect of any type of project and take pride in our ability to do so within a budget. The flexibility of LED light in application, utility, available colour-temperatures, and full spectrum light enables the broadest range of applications thus typically knowing no boundaries," he asserts adding that unlike many other sources used for landscaping, LED contains no environmentally-harmful element including the fragile filaments, the poisonous mercury, or the high pressure gases, but is totally recyclable.
Mr. Dhaval Shah, Director with Nessa Illumination Technologies Pvt. Ltd. opines that LED is a solid-state technology and does not rely on outdated inefficient technologies to create illumination. "Compared to the regular sodium and halogen lamps, the LED fixtures consume much less power, emit less heat, and are highly durable while still giving a similar light output. And when coupled with solar panels, the system becomes retrofit thus facilitates easy installation without the hassles of digging, laying down of cable wires, or need of transformer distribution points etc. They are ideal for illumination in the main roads/areas of societies, campuses, lighting up streets, gardens etc," says Mr. Shah, cautioning that these newly-developed streetlights are theft-prone owing to the attached battery.
Nessa Illumination Technologies has been founded by people with vast experience in the semiconductor and solar industry and belonging to institutes like IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Bombay. "From the very beginning, our focus has been on deriving greatest economic value from solar energy, which led to the adoption of LEDs and Solar technology. These technologies along with optimal design techniques have been the core strengths of the company," he says adding that it is the forward looking innovation streak that the company has developed a Lithium-ION (Li-ion) Solar LED Street Light, which saves up to 40% on cost when compared with the lead acid-based solution.
"Our NES-SL-LI models are state-of-art Solar LED Street lights in 9W to 18W illumination range with latest battery storage technology that offers long, hassle-free, and theft-proof lighting solution for rural as well as urban areas. With in-built proprietary "Fast charging" technology, these solar lights offer full charging even on cloudy days allowing us to significantly lower battery size and cost. The installed Li-ion battery allows up to 15 hrs of autonomy to the lighting system that comes housed in IP65 aluminium pressure die-cast fitting. It is designed to perform automatic dusk to dawn operation with power saving mode, besides being programmed for intelligent dimming modes for long life," he explains and adds that the company is continuously engaged in offering Solar LED Street Lights that are widely demanded in the market.
Nessa is a systems integrator in the energy efficient lighting business providing a range of products with Solar as well as 220V AC Supply-based LED lights and Solar Power Packs. As mentioned above, with a focus on LEDs, Solar and optimal design techniques, Nessa has been able to develop products which are highly reliable and elegant. "We offer complete range of LED lights from 8W to 200W. We can also provide different range and customize the solutions. These streetlights are used to ensure powerful illumination. Our products have an immediate 2x-3x cost advantage over conventional products of comparable quality and performance with payback periods now in the more reasonable duration of 1-3 years," he asserts.
Going forward, Photonics Watertech Pvt. Ltd. has developed its outdoor lighting system in special colour code. "The colour Blue, actually, is the theme of our company and so is the colour of our products. Besides, it helps us being differentiated from the herd," says Mr. Rakshit Shah, the company's General Manager. He opines that the ongoing switch over to LED lighting - be it indoor or outdoor - is inevitable for a country like India, which actually is energy-starved. "But this change, relatively forcible though, has actually given an aesthetic feel to the exterior," he quips adding that the company has supplied a whole lot of products recently to Ahmedabad to be used in changing the city's landscape.
Reinstating the energy-saving attributes of Photonics LED lights, Mr. Shah shares an incidence as how the Delhi's Red Fort has become the Archeological Survey of India's (ASI) model project for energy-efficiency. "The world heritage site's annual electricity bill has been set to reduce by approximately 70% from the guzzling Rs.3-4 crore, after Photonics supplied and installed its energy-efficient lighting system which also includes 300 LED light and 150 bulbs among others. ASI used these lighting systems for front illumination, garden lighting, and internal roads from Lahori Gate to Delhi Gate within the periphery of the monument," he informs adding that this 17th century-monument used to consume the most power of all ASI-protected buildings in India.
Established in 2008, Photonics Watertech Pvt. Ltd. manufactures and supplies a range of high-quality LED lights for all purposes including the ones go in landscape and streetlight at its facility in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. "We also develop GPRS-based controllers, which can be programmed to automatically operate the lights depending upon the requirements. Based on dedicated software, the controller can be used to monitor the functional attributes of lights installed as in case of any breakdown in the loop, it sends an sms to the control room indicating the point of failure for in-time rectification. These products are designed by our team of competent professionals who truly understand the requirements of clients and make sure that their specific needs get fulfilled. The entire range of products is manufactured in compliance with the international quality standards, using high-grade raw material. The advanced technology and machines available at our end, helps in the mass production of a quality-assured range of products," he assures.
Reportedly, India has 35 million street lights which generate a total demand of 3,400 MW. With LED, this can be brought down to 1,400 MW, saving 9,000 million kWh of electricity annually, worth over $850 million in the process. To put this into perspective, the electricity deficit in India during 2014-15 was 38,138 million kWh and 7,006 MW. Taking note of this, the National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting was launched by the centre in January 2015. At its inception, the plan was to cover 100 cities by March next year, and the remaining ones by March 2019, targeting 770 million bulbs and 35 million street lights. However, it seems street lights will be upgraded to LED ahead of schedule.
Nonetheless, with the objective of achieving government's target of 24X7 electricity supply, energy conservation is more crucial than equivalent quantum of energy generation. Research has proved that like halogen or MHL lights, the lighting ability of LED lights is very good, and hence, it is apt to be used in landscape lighting. Therefore, LED can play a great role here by controlling peak power demand in our country by 10,000 MW daily. If incandescent lamps are replaced by energy-efficient LED Bulbs, it can save almost 100 billion units of power annually, thereby saving up to $7 billion (approx. Rs.43,750 crore) per year. However, for all this to get materialsed in time to come, the stakeholders have to put more than normal stress on quality of the products and installations, in the absence of which these efforts may prove to be futile.
Stressing on quality issues, Mr. Abhijit Rai, Executive Director, Instapower Ltd, says that the power factor becomes vital in defining the actual consumption of power from a light source. Our LED lights are manufactured with power factor greater than 0.9 thus carry an assurance of saving in the process," he asserts adding that the company has, till date, filed more than 90 patents in India and abroad. "We are one of the oldest existing entities in the Indian LED lighting arena. Our R&D lab has been recognized by the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. We have a dedicated facility and team working on new and innovative products for energy conservation."
Mr. Rai informs that Instapower is accredited with 70 patents out of which 48 are in the LED lighting and energy efficiency domain. With more than 100 products in its portfolio, the company claims to have changed the landscape of many airports across the country and a few are in process including Kolkata, Dehradun, Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai, Chandigarh, Udaipur, etc. We have installed as many as 350 fittings of our LED lights in the India Gate compound during the commonwealth games, which has brought us many accolades and help us attract quite a few renowned projects for renovating and changing the landscape. We have recently bagged a landscape lighting project in Lucknow by Lucknow Development Authority for the Jeneshwar Park.
"Over the years, the company has supplied and installed its products at Rajpath, Pragati Maidan, Vigyan Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, and at other prestigious landmarks like Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Parliament House. Till date, Instapower claims to have supplied over 5,00,000 LED Lights to various customers in India & abroad. Products are being exported to over 30 countries in Africa, South-East Asia, Middle East, and South America besides UK, USA, and Australia," he says.
Instapower, a TUV-certified ISO 9001 & 14001 organisation, has been one of the leading names in LED lighting for over a decade. Promoted by an alumnus of IIT Delhi, Instapower is recognised as an R&D house by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. "The company has state-of-the-art testing equipment and conceives, designs and makes LED based products, including all electronics like led PCB's, LED drivers and fixtures. After final assembly, extensive in-house testing is done before supplying products to the market," assures Mr. Rai.
When it comes to system's evolution and adding value to the existing setup, the innovation in electronics and development of software becomes of the utmost importance. The new-age electronics are capable of putting cap on the ever mounting energy bills by monitoring the illumination of the installed lighting system irrespective of the light source. Pune-based Devtech M2M Limited is a research-driven organization that constantly uses innovative technology to manufacture products, aimed at energy-efficiency by lowering operational inefficiencies.
"We believe in creating smart products that are responsive to users' needs and demands, follow open standards, and encompass Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology allowing both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices. M2M is considered an integral part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and is known to bring several benefits to industry and business as it has a wide range of applications such as industrial automation, Smart Grid, Smart Cities, health, defense, etc., of course, by monitoring and control," asserts Mr. Snehal Parikh, the company's President.
He informs that at Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Devtech M2M has recently installed addressable electronic ballast, Devtech Fugen 250W (LonMark-Certified product) to be used with HID (HPSV) installations. It connects directly to Echelon iLon Smart server located on LT power line network feeder and intelligent streetlight control SCADA software (Standalone/Web-based server application) for remote monitoring, controlling, operational and data acquisitions of electrical parameters from offsite locations. This ballast meets CE & RoHS standards. Built-in metering engine captures and reports all the real time energy metering parameters as well as records the historical usage type data such as energy consumption and lamp burning hours. These apart, a remote energy monitoring and management software suite 'iStreet.network' was also installed at utility level for remote monitoring purpose.
"The installation is working successfully and municipal corporation authorities are satisfied about the performance of Devtech M2M products as through the smart scheduling, switch on/off & dimming at PMC site, considerable energy saving were actualised," asserts Mr. Parikh adding that with numerous patents under its belt, the company keeps on innovating for better sustainable tomorrow. "All the products and solutions at Devtech are based on open standards thus allowing users to protect their investment and infrastructure and enable heterogeneous communication modes and multi-vendor systems and products to be used alongside our ecosystem."
Above all, not only the renovation but the point to ponder is the announcement of 'Housing for All by 2022' scheme and the ambitious '100 Smart Cities' are the two most opportune propositions that almost all the stakeholders, irrespective of industries, are trying to be a part of, and lighting industry is no different. The Housing for All by 2022 scheme alone will cover the entire urban area consisting of 4041 statutory towns with initial focus on 500 Class-I cities and it will be implemented in three phases: Phase-I (April 2015–March 2017) to cover 100 Cities to be selected from States/UTs as per their willingness; Phase – II (April 2017–March 2019) to cover additional 200 Cities; and Phase-III (April 2019–March 2022) to cover all other remaining cities.
These apart, a lot of real estate players including the China-based real estate building giant–Wanda Group, FDI-funded renowned real estate company–SARE Homes, Metropolitan Lifespace Real Estate Developers, Sobha Developers, etc., have already announced many of their projects, quite a few of which are soon to be commenced thereby a lot of societies are in the pipeline which ultimately will bring forth opportunities galore. There is no denying of the fact that landscape lighting will be an inevitable part of these pronounced developments, bringing a win-win proposition for all the industry stakeholders alike, irrespective of their being project owners, manufacturers, consultants, or architects.