2015: International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies


On december 20th, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared  that 2015 will be the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) .

Focused on the science of lighting and its applications, the International Year of the Light 2015 is a worldwide event that will stress the importance of light and optical technologies for the development of society.

This International Year is backed by a large consortium of scientific organizations including the UNESCO. It brings together many international players such as associations and scientific institutions, educational organizations, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

With this event, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness of how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.

Light is a universal resource

According to the organizers of this global event, “Light plays an essential role in our daily lives and is located at the crossroads of many scientific disciplines in the 21st century. It revolutionized medicine, allowed the development of international communications via the Internet, and continues to influence many cultural, economic and global society policies. For centuries, the light has transcended all boundaries including geographic, gender, age, culture and race, and remains a tremendous resource to inspire training and research. »

Throughout this International Year of Light will be organized around the world at regional, national and international events, events, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and shows around the light, with among others the desire to promote technologies based on light and ensuring sustainable development.

For more information about the IYL: http://www.light2015.org/Home.html

Certifications of products for use in hazardous locations

Until recently, a manufacturer of electrical products for hazardous locations would have to design equipment to meet the national standards of each country in which he wanted to sell its products. Today, a manufacturer can go to almost any Certification Agency and receive a Certification Mark which will be accepted in almost any country in the world. However there are still differences between certifications. For instance, ATEX is a regional scheme in the European Union, and is mandatory. IECEx is a global certification, is voluntary and is open to all countries.

Equipment for use in hazardous locations must be certified to an appropriate national standard and marked as such by an accredited third party testing organization. There are currently 3 different certifications of products used in hazardous locations

North American Certification

The equivalent of the ATEX directive in the US is the HAZLOC standard. This standard given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines and classifies hazardous locations such as explosive atmospheres. It aims to control the risks related to explosion in certain environments.
It comprises two elements:
– testing and evaluation of products being used
– inspection of the factory

In North America, all electrical equipment must be approved/certified as follows:
• In the USA, by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) accredited by OSHA.
• In Canada, by a Certification Body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
• The proof of certification must be displayed on the equipment in the form of the mark or label of the certification body.A certificate/declaration of compliance is not sufficient.

The Certification Body that granted the certification must inspect each factory (defined as the location where the product is manufactured and labelled) four times per year. This is the same for every Certification Body, and each must perform their own inspections. This is significantly different from ATEX and IECEx, certifications where a manufacturer may have Certificates issued by a number of different Notified Bodies, but the audit is only performed by one.
In North America, hazardous locations have traditionally been defined by a combination of classes and divisions .

In the U.S. and Canada, the certification of hazardous locations electrical equipment is cnow hanging and is evolving to the zone system. There is now an international 3-Zone area classification system for equipment used in hazardous locations.
• Zone 0 – An place in which an explosive gas atmosphere is continuously present
• Zone 1 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation
• Zone 2 – A place which an explosive gas atmosphere does not normally exist.
In Canada, all new installations must use the 3-Zone system. Existing installations may continue to use the 2-Division system or opt to re-classify using the 3-Zone system.
In the U.S., all installations (both new and existing) can either continue using the 2-Division system or re-classify their product using the 3-Zone system. Read more

LED lighting fixtures for use in hazardous areas

US system compared to EU Atex ZonesAt the same time that Lima Climate Change Conference is about to start, manufacturers have become increasingly aware of the urgent need to implement more environmentally friendly solutions for the planet. Lighting represents almost 20% of global energy consumption and industrial locations that operate 7 days a week and 24 hours a day consume a great deal of energy to ensure their lighting. To cope with these challenges, LED technology is now gaining widespread use in industrial lighting, as it is especially suitable for use in hazardous locations.
A high risk or hazardous area is where a mixture of air and potentially explosive substances such as gases, vapours, mists or dusts, could spread. Typical examples of hazardous environments are refineries, drilling platforms, chemical and power-generation facilities, mines… In these locations, it is required to ensure safety against occurrence of arcs, sparks and excessive temperature. Currently, lighting for shale gas drilling platforms that are expanding in many countries, requires compliance with a gas facility classified as Zone 1 (ATEX hazardous area) and Zone 2 (standards Class I Div 1 and Class I Div 2 in the USA).
LEDs are full-spectrum light sources and provide excellent color rendering. LED directs the light to where it’s needed with very little scattering or loss. By contrast, conventional lamps cast light in every direction hence the reduction in lumens compared to LEDs. Not only LED lights meet the highest standards of color rendering IRC (70-85), efficiency (up to 160 lumens/watt) and lifetime, but in addition, unlike other sources such as fluorescent tubes, their emissivity is increased in cold environments.
Compared with sodium vapor lamps under high pressure to mercury vapor lamps or incandescent lamps, LED can prevent accidents related to poor visibility thanks to its better color rendering. LED lighting also facilitates better reading of safety instructions for earlier intervention in cases of immediate danger. This helps to lower the risks of accidents and allow faster interventions.
Intelligent lighting control can furthermore provide lighting as needed: LED lighting offers another advantage of being able to vary the light intensity as needed without loss. Coupled to sensors, LED lighting can adapt and increase or decrease the brightness depending on the presence of certain gases, some dust or in case of fire. In addition, a centralized management is now possible to optimize energy savings.
High ceilings in industrial facilities make that the light fixtures can be remote or difficult to access. Maintenance and replacement could be extremely expensive. Sturdy and long running, LED lighting requires very little maintenance, which is essential, due to the vast expense of a shutdown. Containing no gas, LED lights are very safe and recycling is easier, like any other electronic product. With 100,000 hours of life, LED lighting reduces the need for maintenance. Even coupled with an intelligent lighting system, it only lights up when needed and it turns off automatically.
In hazardous areas such as drilling platforms lighting also has to be able to withstand constant shock and vibration. ATEX certified lighting should be stronger than traditional lighting. With a 100% electronic lighting, LED is already more resistant than other materials.
Airfal develops ATEX certified LED lighting solutions (Pyros, Vitra and Secure) that reduce energy consumption without compromising the level of lighting, especially in hazardous locations. Resistant to shock and vibration, they avoid the frequent replacement of lamps. They don’t contain mercury or other hazardous products to make them more ecological. Airfal LED light fixtures are environmentally friendly and offer energy efficiency and light control for difficult and harsh locations.

Airfal receives the EFQM Excellence Award 2014

The Aragon Institute of Development, in charge of the implementation model for achieving organisational excellence held the annual competition where organizations compete for the Award of Excellence.
Read more

Airfal International at the Interlight Moscow Exhibition 2014

Airfal international will attend this year’s Interlight Moscow Fair, Russia, organized by Messe Frankfurt.

Airfal will present the very best of high tech luminaries, designed for reliable use in extreme conditions, as well as explosion-proof light fixtures. Airfal has many years of experience in that field, and has also earned several certifications such as the Gost certification for the Russian market. Read more

Study reveals how light affects the well-being of patients in hospitals

lighting hospitalsA group of researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in the USA the has shown that there is a correlation between levels of exposure to light during the day and the psychological state, level of fatigue, and even pain of patients. The study suggests that patients in a normal hospital room, are sometimes exposed to too little light during the day and can not find a normal sleep-wake cycle. Other studies show that winter depression (SAD) is related in some countries to the lack of daylight during certain months of the year, during the fall or winter.

 Impact of lighting in hospitalized patients

To assess whether the light could play a role in healing inpatient, Esther Bernhofer, lead author of the study, and her colleagues collected data from 40 men and women hospitalized between May 2011 and April 2012. Patients wore a wrist device for 72 hours to measure their state (standby or asleep), and the level of exposure to light. These patients completed questionnaires to assess their psychological state, and the level of pain they felt. In general, the patients analyzed slept little, with frequent sleep interruptions, and an average of only four hours of sleep per night. Patients who were less exposed to the light during the day were generally more depressed and more tired than those who were exposed to a higher level of lighting.

 A minimum of 1500 lux during 15 minutes a day

On average, patients in the study were exposed to only 105 lux during the day. As a comparison, the average office lighting provides approximately 500 lux, and a sunny day can provide up to 100,000 lux. Previous studies have shown that a minimum of 1500 lux was necessary to establish a normal sleep-wake cycle, but it was better to be exposed to at least 4000 lux over eight hours, according to professor Bernhofer.

“So far, no one has analyzed the relationship between lighting and states such as sleep, mood and pain in the hospital,” said professor Bernhofer. ”

According to the authors, this study provides a basis to improve lighting in hospitals in order to favor cycles of sleep and wakefulness in patients, improving mood of patients and helping them to reduce pain in hospitalized adults. However, this study is only a preliminary basis, and should not be considered sufficient to change the lighting strategies in hospitals. It provides insight so as to improve the overall patient experience at the hospital, and try to accelerate the healing process.

How to assess the quality of lighting installations in the workplace

Lighting in the workplace is a key environmental factor for employees: we need to set up an appropriate work environment. Different levels of lighting are required for different types of work – close, accurate work such as soldering a control panel will require higher light levels than a waiting room.

Many laws and standards regulate lighting in the workplace. Units of measures are typically used by professionals to assess the quality of  lighting in the workplace.

Here is an overview:

Luminous fluxThis is the amount of energy emitted by a source in the form of visible light in the entire space per unit time.FLumen lm
Light intensityAmount of radiated light emitted in a given point source direction.ICandela(Cd)
LuminanceLuminance is a photometric measure of the luminous intensity per unit area of light travelling in a given direction. It describes the amount of light that passes through or is emitted from a particular area, and falls within a given solid angle. Measures the light intensity collected in a direction and at a point of the light reflected from an illuminated surface. L’appareil de mesure s’appelle un luminancemètre.Lcd / m2(Candela per m2)


IlluminanceIilluminance is the total luminous flux incident on a surface, per unit area.The instrument is called a lux meter. This is an important unit of measur for the standards of comfort and safety.ELux (lx)
Luminous efficiencyThe luminous efficiency of a system depends not only on the source, but also on the accessoriesof the light fixture (reflectors, light distribution grid, transparent protection).Lm / WLumen / Watt
Color temperatureThe color temperature is used to determine the temperature (actual or “virtual”) of a light source, from its color.KKelvin
LifetimeThis feature is important when the cost of replacing the bulbs is expensive (if it is difficult to change the bulbs, for example in the case of high ceilings). Hr



Rinox: a new watertight lighting fixture, highly resistant, by Airfal

A new waterproof light fixture has now been added to the Airfal range of luminaires: the RINOX model; This light fixture is impact protected to IK10 protection index, thanks to its tubular body, made of 3.5mm thick UV protective polycarbonate.

Read more

Airfal in DIALux

Airfal is now in DIALux to facilitate the incorporation of their luminaires to projects.

DIALux is a well-known and powerful international program of lighting calculation that allows a comprehensive project of lighting taking into account national and international standards. Read more

Lighting for high ceilings

High ceilings can be a challenge when incorporating lighting applications. When dealing with high bay lighting, we will have to face many challenges, such as minimizing contrast, reducing glare, or meeting strict safety and hazardous environment requirements. Low maintenance, energy saving light fixtures, designed to drive down costs are also needed. High bay lighting generally applies to libraries, atriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias, but also warehouse spaces, and high bay workshops.

T-5 fluorescent lighting is often used for lighting in high ceiling areas, meeting the recommended light levels and increasing the quality of light. Until very recently, LED technology was not an option due to high prices. However, high-bay LED fixings are now available, providing good quality of light at reasonable price, with paybacks from energy savings. Employees and customers now feel better in their working environment, meeting safety standards at a competitive cost.
Read more

An infographic analyzes the overall energy efficiency of LED bulbs

An infographic by Chadwicks analyzes the overall energy efficiency of LED bulbs, from manufacturing to the end of its useful life.

The infographic compares compact fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps, and LEDs. The infographic analyzes different items such as lifespan, energy consumption during use, the energy used to manufacture …

According to the infographic, if a LED lamp requires 9.9Kwh to be made, compared to an incandescent lamp that needs 0.612Kwh, the LED bulb spends much less energy, which leads to greater profitability.

While LED bulbs are more expensive, they have a longer life (between 50 and 100,000 hours for LED lamps, versus 1,000 hours for an Incandescent light bulb). Another advantage is that LED bulbs have to be changed less frequently than incandescent lamps.


Lighting for greenhouses and grow lights

greenhouseThe LEDs have long been recognized for their many advantages over traditional light fixtures. Their long life span, energy efficiency and flexibility have made possible using LED lighting for a variety of applications. LED lighting is now commonly used in the agricultural sector.

Plants respond to the intensity and quality of light. Artificial lighting is frequently used to control plant growth under various conditions. Plants differ in the need for light, and most plants will grow in either natural or artificial light.
If the light is an obvious need for plant growth, it is also one of the least understood for greenhouse cultivation factors. In addition, lighting is often considered less important than the nutrition of plants. However, it is important to supplement natural day light in greenhouses. Many traditional lighting technologies can not be used because they result in excess heat, which can be harmful to plants. Photosynthesis is the use of light energy to decompose water and to transfer hydrogen from it to carbon dioxide in the presence of chlorophyll. For plants to grow well in a greenhouse, there should be a temperature and a light adapted to the plant. These conditions should allow optimal absorption of chlorophyll, essential for photosynthesis and plant growth. In recent years, research has shown that the plants are more sensitive to some particular wavelengths of light. Indeed, absorption of chlorophyll photosynthesis is increased when the plants are exposed to red light (640-660 nm) and blue (450 nm). These studies showed that the absorption peaks of the chlorophyll are within the ranges of 400 to 500 nm and from 600 to 700 nm. Read more

Airfal participes in LEDsEE, the 1st Forum of Lighting and Energy Efficiency

LEDsEE , the First Forum of Lighting and Energy Efficiency will take place in Madrid, on june 11th and 12th 2014. LEDsEE will be a meeting point for businesses, professionals and end users interested in the new trends in lighting. Read more

Airfal launches the new 2014 catalogue of luminaires

Airfal is delighted to launch a brand new catalogue for 2014, on may 1st.
This catalogue showcases our different ranges of luminaires, with a very contemporary look, and numerous pictures displaying examples of different lighting projects undertaken by the company.  Read more

Airfal at Light & Building 2014: launch of more energy efficient products

Airfal decided once again to be part of an important lighting show, Light & Building 2014, which took place last March in Frankfurt . The Spanish company has been exhibiting since the first edition of Light & Building 2014. Read more

Lighting of car maintenance pits and car garages

lighting car workshop Car maintenance pits, in car workshops, are located below the ground level, and they are used for vehicle repair. The work carried out in the pits involves the use of highly corrosive chemicals such as brake fluids , detergents , fats … As car maintenance pits are under the ground level, there are additional risks such as fires, explosions, poisoning related to vehicle exhaust , the fall of a person in the pit ….

To secure a car maintenance pit, any sources of ignition should be removed, as explosive vapors tend to accumulate at the bottom of the pit. When working in the car workshop, we shall make sure that all the electrical and lighting installations must be explosion and flameproof. A lighting level of 550 lux is sufficient to work safely. Ventilation shall also be efficient. In addition, luminaires used must be resistant to shocks that may be caused by falling metal parts.

For this reason, it is necessary to use luminaires perfectly suited to this environment. The Secure waterproof light fixture, created by Airfal, has an IP68 protection. It offers a comprehensive level of protection against dust and against infiltrations. This light fixture is also IK -10, which is the highest level of protection against shock applicable to luminaires. It was specifically designed for ATEX zones 2 and 22 , and is therefore suitable for installation in locations where there are explosive gases or dust . This luminaire is perfectly suitable for lighting of repair and inspection areas of vehicles in garages and car workshops.

Waterproof led lighting by Airfal applied to urban furniture



The Aranzadi Park is an area of ​​Pamplona in the north of the cit , between the neodighboods Chantrea and Rochapea . Throughout the centuries it has been a dedicated space with green gardens and recreational areas.

This metropolitan area is the second largest of Pamplona .
Some of the plots have been maintained for horticultural use , and other spaces of the forest to the river , keeping their traces and the value of its fruitful soil .

In order not to interfere with the landscape of the park, the architects wanted to use unique street furniture . In the words of the architect and director of works Aranzadi Jesus Arcos, furniture has to have “ simple and pure lines .” “You have to keep in mind what Aranzadi was, and we did not want to have furniture that broke with that environment ,” he said . Some of the banks use are illuminated by four tubular watertight polycarbonate luminaires with LED lighting. The fixtures are made ​​by Airfal International . ”
The illumination with led occupies less space, provides more strength and consumes less , “says Jesus Arcos. The architect notes that this type of lighting was previously installed indoors but this is the first time it is placed in a park , outside , with exclusively designed furniture para the Aranzadi park . Further, he stresses that this design avoids installing more furniture items, as streetlights. Similarly, the same elements that make up the gateway end up being used as picnic .
“It’s an area where many trees have been planted . The result will be like a line of light that is introduced in the forest with trees on both sides , “concludes Jesus Arcos.
The luminaire design had to meet the demanding needs of the project and for this, they used a combination of several models in the catalog of Airfal : Waled , TR1 and Tunnel, and several innovations to get a light with tube opal and IP68, with special reflectors that could be integrated into the urban furniture specially designed for Aranzadi Meander Park .

Airfal at the Light + Building Fair

We will be present, this year too, at the Light + Building Fair that will  be held in Frankfurt from March 30 to April 4, 2014, and we will be glad to welcome you in our booth. Read more

How lighting could affect our emotions and behaviour

120Neuroscience researchers have been investigating the influence of light intensity and color temperature on human’s mood and behaviour.

The lack of light is usually thought to affect the mood: it can lead to the condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or winter depression. However, recent studies by North American researchers show that both positive and negative emotions may be intensified by brighter lighting, while lower lighting may dampen those moods. Contrary to popular belief these researches show that depression-prone people actually become more depressed on sunny days.

Other similar correlation measures the effects of different colors of light on human’s mood and behaviour and how these can affect the body in different ways. Read more

LuxLED, a waterproof luminaire based on LED technology

Constantly looking to the future and focusing on innovation Airfal present a new light fitting called LuxLED. This watertight LED luminaire delivers highly efficient light coupled with energy savings and modern design. Read more

Surface mounted luminaires

superdeltaAirfal is continuously trying to create better, more efficient lamps and luminaires that balance energy consumption to quality of light.

Often there is insufficient space in the ceiling to install conventional suspended luminaires,  which leads to the use of surface mounted light fixtures:  that way, the lighting installation can be adapted to any  given situation. In addition, using surface-mounted light fittings considerably reduces the level of installation work in solid ceilings or existing buildings. The lighting installation can be easily adjusted to suit any given situation.

Surface mounted luminaires can be installed directly beneath the ceiling to create the level of lighting required for perfect working conditions. The flexible positioning of the surface mounted luminaires makes it possible to adjust the space and lighting requirements.

Airfal has a large range of surface lighting luminaires, perfectly adapted to lighting in industrial areas, offices, universities, hospitals… Well balanced luminance levels contribute to create a more cheerful and productive  atmosphere. These luminaires are a combination of cutting-edge technology, functional brilliance and aesthetic appeal.

Here are some of the surface mounted luminaires of the Airfal range:

Superdelta: an industrial luminaire with a decorative touch. Possibility of making continuous lines with the accessories, rails, etc. existing for the Delta model. Its main applications are in schools and shopping centres.

Metalic: With pre-lacquered steel plate body and gloss aluminium reflector or optionally pre-lacquered steel plate reflector included, it is distinguished by its aluminium slat, making it the perfect luminaire for schools and places with UGR (Unified Glare Rating) demands.

Deco: an innovative and economic option for lighting offices, shopping centres, etc. With a pre-lacquered steel plate body, it includes a gloss aluminium reflector and optionally a pre-lacquered steel plate reflector.

Lighting of the new San Mames stadium by Airfal

san mam

The first stone was laid on 26 May 2010 and the construction of the new stadium officially began on June 25 th,  the same year . The construction of the stadium took place in two stages: the first one, already completed, implied the construction of the two sides , the last step being the VIP lounges. It is estimated that the stadium will be fully completed in spring 2015, however the soccer team is already playing home games in the new stadium.

Lighting was regarded as a key element for the façade. Semi- transparent and waterproof luminaires were chosen for security reasons, such as the evacuation of the stadium for example.

White tone metal elements covering the stage helped to improve the visual aspect of the stadium, and to define its identity. At night, when there is no sporting event , the facade is illuminated and is  a true landmark in the city light . During the matches , it is the stadium interior lighting that take over.

Most lights used inside the stadium have been specially designed for Als Lighting, the company in charge of lighting, and manufactured by Airfal International. The architect is Cesar Azcárate , business ACXT – from  Idom .

Among the models used, not specifically designed for this stadium, there are two tubular polycarbonate fixtures, which are low consumption and high resistance to IP67 IK08 , and adapted to the lighting requirements of the entire project.


For more information :
Ester Ariza Espierrez
Dep. Prensa
Airfal International

Light level recommendations in the industry and retail

Following our previous post, we enclose a guide to the recommended light level for different industrial and commercial activites:
Chemical activities; Transport industries such as train stations, gas stations, car garages, naval docks; Offices and administrations, Shops, merchandise shelves, small shops….

This guide gives the recommended minimum lighting levels for different types of work activities

Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work, use facilities and move from place to place safely and without experiencing eye-strain.
If people have difficulty doing their job because lighting is too low then setps should be taken to improve it. However, if an area measured falls outside these levels, it does not necessarily mean that the whole lighting system needs to be modified. Other measures such as task-specific lighting might be more appropriate. Generally speaking, the finer the detail, the higher the light level required.

Outdoor light level is approximated at 10,000 lux on a clear day. In enclosed areas like commercial buildings, the light level may be as low as 25 – 50 lux. Additional lighting equipment is often necessary to compensate these low levels of lighting.

optimum level lighting

Recommended light levels for common types of working activities

A minimum level of illumination is required to read correctly and without fatigue objects and thus perform correctly (and sometimes safely) the intended task .
The level of illumination required depends on the activity to perform
Light Level or Illuminance, is the total luminous flux incident on a surface, per unit area. Usually, standards and norms define the light levels by task. The difficulty is to define the space in which the task is to be performed. The amount of light being given off by a particular source, in all directions, is called luminous flux (or “luminous power” or “lux”) and is a measure of the total perceived power of light. It is measured in lumens.
Measuring Units Light Level – illuminance
Illuminance is measured in foot candles (ftcd, fc, fcd) (or lux in the metric SI system). A foot candle is actually one lumen of light density per square foot,one lux is one lumen per square meter.
• 1 lux = 1 lumen / sq meter = 0.0001 phot = 0.0929 foot candle (ftcd, fcd)
• 1 phot = 1 lumen / sq centimeter = 10000 lumens / sq meter = 10000 lux
• 1 foot candle (ftcd, fcd) = 1 lumen / sq ft = 10.752 lux
How to measure ?
A light meter (also called lux meter) is very useful. A light meter measures the amount of visible light illumination in a given area tested. Illumination is expressed in units of LUX (metric) orFoot candles (English).

optimum levels lighting

The cost of lighting – infographics

Here is an infographics from the website lamps.com, featuring the cost of using incandescent light bulbs, CFL bulbs (comact fluorescent bulbs) or LEDs.

The average lifespan of a led is 50 times longer than an incandescent light bulbs. Price is also significantly higher, even nif LEDs are getting cheaper 

However, we have to bear in mind that incandescent light bulbs are less used than in the past. In the USA, incandescent light bulbs are disappearing In 2014. In Europe too, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out. By switching to compact fluorescent bulbs,  companies and industries can reduce their negative contribution to climate change and save money at the same time.

The initial higher cost is quickly recovered, as these bulbs use only a quarter or a fifth of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Over its lifetime, a single compact fluorescent bulb will save you approximately 250 $, and their price is decreasing.

cost of lighting