IESNY Member Willard Warren

IESNA member since 1954

IESNY Section President 1978/79

Fellow designation awarded in 1999

50 Year Service Pin recipients 2005

Warren’s World Column for Edison Report, with permission of the Edison Report

I just returned from a three-week tour of China and S.E. Asia, and as native New Yorker, I had loyally refused to believe what I’d read about China, but truthfully, the country is unbelievable. About the same size as the US  (3.7 mil. sq. miles), China has a billion (with a “b”) more people than we do, and as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China has experienced enormous growth as the outsourcing and construction capitol of the world. For general knowledge about China (and India), a “must read” is Tom Friedman’s, “The World is Flat”, where he explains how this came about. Stats like, “China has more cell phones than there are people in the US” abound in the book. .

Adam Hinge, of the Sustainable Energy Partnership, in Tarrytown NY, organized the Right Light Conference held in Shanghai in May, the first time this biennial conference has met outside Europe. There’s a great summary of the conference, attended by representatives of over 30 countries, written by  world class lighting designer, Denise Fong, IALD, principal of Candela Architectural Lighting Consultants, in the July 2005 issue of LD&A. Denise pointed out that there are 1000 lamp manufactures and 5000 luminaire manufacturers in China, and that over half the buildings in the world expected to be built in the next 50 years will be in China.

China’s people are leaving the farms and migrating to the large cities (sounds familiar). The cities still have some quadrangles of one story houses for the traditional Chinese nuclear families called, “hutongs”, but except for a small number allocated to government officials and their families, which have become tourist attractions,  hutongs are being replaced by clusters of 60 story apartment houses for young married couples, who are college educated, well employed and relatively prosperous. The traffic is humongous in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, China’s main commercial centers, where you see lots of bikes and mopeds, but mostly autos and trucks, and the smog in Beijing is so bad you don’t often see blue sky.

Adam Hinge arranged for me to meet with representatives of the China Association of the Lighting Industry (CALI) while I was in Beijing. CALI’s 5000 “enterprises” claim to be the largest lighting industry (lamps, ballasts and fixtures) in the world with over 12 bil. $ US in sales. Their exports constitute over half of that dollar amount, and they are growing rapidly. The leaders of the US lighting industry already concede that the bulk of the residential lighting fixtures sold in the US are “Made in China”. 

Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong keep competing for having the largest number of the tallest office buildings in the world, with the current leader being Shanghai. In the next twenty years China is expected to quadruple their number of buildings, roads and GNP. The down side is energy consumption. As Denise Fong pointed out in her LD&A column, energy capacity is unable to keep up with demand with their growth rate of 10 % annually, and they are literally choking in more ways than one.

So the Chinese Academy of Building Research studied the lighting practices and energy codes in the US, Russia and the rest of Europe and came up with a lighting energy code. Their Ministry of Construction issued the code last December for residential, office, commercial, hotel, hospital, school and industrial buildings.

Along with a “Green Lights” program, they expect to reduce LPDs to around 1.0 to 1.3 watts per sq. ft. Their code provides  additional allowances for decorative and accent lighting of  0.5 w/sq. ft. As we all know, the accomplishment of these goals depends on enforcement and China hasn’t educated enough lighting experts to do the job, but I’m sure they will,  in short order.

What seems ironic to me as an energy conservation consultant and code writer, is that  China has copied our lighting power density (LPD) format, while Europe is adopting an energy code that limits lighting energy, not power density. They’re setting maximum allowances on kilowatt- hours per square meter of lighting (energy expended), instead of our system of limiting watts per square foot of lighting (power density).

Hopefully, someday we will follow that sensible practice, but it’s probably too much to wish for.