Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Vol. 2, No. 1

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Owen Howlett Joins the Lighting Research Center

The LRC welcomes Owen Howlett as a visiting scholar. He is working on the LRC's Daylight Dividends project, an ongoing program of research and market transformation targeted at reaping the environmental and ergonomic benefits of natural daylight in buildings.

Howlett comes to the LRC from London, England. There he was involved in writing the 2001 amendments to UK office lighting guidelines, which instigated a market move away from parabolic louvers and toward more ergonomic fixture types. While working for luminaire manufacturer Zumtobel Staff Lighting, he conducted research, gave seminars, and worked with lighting designers and architects to help them use the company's products more effectively. He says, though, that the "carrot and stick approach of suggestions coupled with official best practice guidelines" was most effective at improving the quality of workplace lighting provided to the public.

Howlett says, "I enjoy my role in interpreting research and specialized design knowledge for practitioners and non-specialists. I like to translate between the languages of research and design, and I have an interest in educating people." To this end he has written many magazine articles, with subjects ranging from aesthetics to glare calculations, many of them based on distilling the results of research into a concise and useful form. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Lighting Research and Technology. While at the LRC he will teach lighting technology and design, and his own education reflects the dual nature of his interests; he holds an M.S. in light and lighting from the Bartlett School and an M.F.A. in engineering and art history from Cambridge.

"We are pleased to have Owen Howlett with us," says Dr. Mark Rea, director of the LRC. "His unique combination of interests and experience will enable him to contribute positively our Daylight Dividends project and many others in the months to come."

For his part, Howlett is impressed with what he's seen of the LRC so far. "This is the only place in the world where there is a concerted attempt to communicate the findings of research to the wider community," he says. "The LRC has the potential to move the whole lighting profession forward." Of his LRC colleagues he says, "It's wonderful that when I have a problem I don't have to solve it all by myself. There's a critical mass of knowledge here that's not available anywhere else. You can't think of a lighting question that someone here can't answer."

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment

2003 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute