The Role of LED Lighting and Controls in the Circular Economy
As Earth’s environment continues to warm, there has been a growing realization that our current economic model is not sustainable. This realization is leading to new concepts that aim to minimize waste and promote sustainability. The “circular economy” is one of the new concepts.
At its core, the circular economy is based on reusing and recycling resources to minimize waste and reduce the demand for the collection of new resources. The traditional linear economy is based on an inherently unsustainable take-make-dispose model, which has dominated the economy for roughly the last 150 years.
An example of the circular economy concept in action is recycling electronic waste (e-waste). Smartphones, laptops, and televisions contain valuable metals and minerals that can be recycled and reused. However, e-waste also contains materials that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. In a circular economy, e-waste is recycled into new products, reducing waste shipped to landfills while conserving natural resources.
Another example of a circular economy in action is the sharing economy concept. Sharing economy platforms like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft allow people to share resources such as their homes and cars, reducing the need for new construction and car manufacturing. The sharing economy also creates new business opportunities and stimulates economic growth by creating new markets for sharing and renting resources.
But why is this important? As we continue to use up the Earth’s finite resources at an unsustainable rate, we are endangering the planet and the future of humanity. Additionally, the disposal of waste products has significant environmental impacts, including pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable LED Technology
An area where the circular economy has made significant strides is in the realm of commercial LED lighting. LED lighting is already more energy-efficient than traditional lighting options, which makes it more sustainable. However, the circular economy takes this a step further by encouraging the reuse and recycling of LED lighting components.
For example, Boca Lighting and Controls is aligned with industry standards and best practices championed by the EPA & Green Power Partnership. Boca is one of the few companies whose combination of advanced products and responsible practices are positioned at the forefront of the Greening of America.
Boca also takes a “cradle-to-cradle” approach to produce products designed with the end of their useful life in mind, ensuring that the materials can be easily recycled or repurposed. By doing this, materials are kept out of landfills, and there is a reduced need for new resources to be extracted.
Lighting Designed for Style and Longevity
For example, Stanford Hotels chose Boca for the selection of unique lighting and control solutions when it came time to create the lighting design for the Luma Hotel. Stanford Hotels Director of Lighting Design Jackie Hui describes the Luma Hotel design as a balance between esthetics, longevity, capabilities, and practicality. According to Hui, Standford Hotels philosophy is that lighting profoundly influences how a guest perceives their surroundings and experience. Proper lighting dramatically renders a space by enhancing the aesthetics and the architecture to inspire guest’s experience with a memorable, lasting impression. The lighting system must also be energy efficient, sustainable, and designed to be low-maintenance. As owners and operators of the facility, Stanford Hotels is vested in the long-term performance of the lighting fixtures and controls.
Adopting a circular economy model will require a shift in thinking and a willingness to embrace new ways of doing things. The circular economy is not just about reducing waste and promoting sustainability. It also offers economic benefits. By reusing and recycling resources, we can reduce the need for new resource extraction, which can be costly and environmentally damaging. The circular economy can also lead to new business opportunities, such as recycling and repurposing technologies.
The circular economy is also gaining traction at the policy level. In 2015, the European Union adopted a circular economy package that targets recycling and reuse. The package also includes measures to reduce food waste and promote sustainable resource use.
However, there are challenges to implementing a circular economy. One of the biggest challenges is changing consumer behavior. As consumers, we are used to a linear economy model, where we buy a product, use it, and dispose of it. Shifting towards a circular economy model will require changing how we consume products and services.
Another challenge is the need for more infrastructure for recycling and repurposing. While some companies have adopted a cradle-to-cradle approach to their products, the infrastructure often needs to be in place to recycle or repurpose these materials.
Despite these challenges, the circular economy offers a path toward a more sustainable future. Reusing and recycling resources can reduce waste, promote sustainability, and create new economic opportunities. As consumers, we can support this approach by choosing products from companies that prioritize sustainability and the circular economy. And at the policy level, governments can adopt circular economy policies that set targets for recycling and reuse.
In conclusion, the circular economy offers a promising approach to reducing waste and promoting sustainability. By designing products with their end-of-life in mind, Boca Lighting and Controls can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and minimize the need for new resources.