National Lighting Bureau (NLB) Chair Howard P. Lewis sounded a strongly optimistic note in his December 7 annual report address to the bureau’s board of directors. “I think we are on the cusp of a major resurgence for the lighting industry, and more and better lighting for just about everyone,” he said. “The year now ending — 2012 — is, I believe, the last year of a four-year economy that has inhibited widespread reliance on what’s new in lighting. Within the next few months, we will see the recessionary clouds yield to a reviving economy led by a residential housing sector that is particularly important to the lighting community. Light commercial construction will follow, then commercial and industrial development, and, also particularly important, accelerated commercial renovation. In fact, lighting could be the most important part of that renovation, because lighting — being the most visible energy-consuming system — contributes mightily to a building’s image.”

Lewis, the founder and chief technical officer of Lighting Alternatives, Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., represents the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) on the bureau’s board. He went on to say, “[A]ll too many existing buildings continue to rely on 75-year-old, workhorse lighting technology that just won’t quit, seeming to justify owners’ ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude. The fact is that new systems could be so effective they could pay for themselves in four years or less through energy savings alone. And that doesn’t even begin to consider how better lighting can enhance a building’s or enterprise’s image; how it can help everyone perform visual tasks faster and with fewer errors; how lighting can affect morale, safety, security, sales, and — yes — even our health. How it can add extraordinary curb appeal at night, as well as attraction and sales enhancement that also improve the resale value of a building; even the image, accessibility, and vitality of urban neighborhoods, where lighting is used to revive commercial activity and in-city entertainment. What a message the bureau has to communicate, especially now that, from all appearances, people will have the financial wherewithal to comfortably put the past now ending behind them.”