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Inclusivity in Lighting

I’m working on some SEN projects at the moment so inclusive design and energy efficiency are both top of mind. And also enjoying time outside – so ending the note with a couple of articles about how just a weekend sleeping under canvas can put a smile back on your face 😉

Nothing about us without us

This battle cry of the disability movement and the title of James Charlton’s seminal work is top of my mind as I start this week. It’s easy to dismiss those words as grand political theories, And yet, anyone who has sat in the back of a car on a family holiday desperate for a comfort break and powerless to make that happen knows what it feels like to have your needs ignored. You can order a copy here – Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment

Every single one of us makes choices in our personal and professional lives which will implications for others – both downstream as the product is used or upstream in the signals we send to the supply chain about what the market demands. There will so often be a trade-off between the simplicity of the standard solution and lower up-front costs and the time and effort it takes to listen to the voices of those be bold and demand more for our clients.

It’s time to listen to the small voices from the back seat and make this a healthier, happier journey for us all.

Time to shift from ‘for’ to ‘with’
Joanna Grace and colleagues make a compelling case for inviting the people we want to support to actually ask the questions themselves. We would want the same if someone was designing a ‘solution’ for us after all. And we all learn something in the process too – Doing Research Inclusively: Understanding What It Means to Do Research with and Alongside People with Profound Intellectual Disabilities

This TedX talk is brilliant too – Autism: How to be normal (and why not to be) | Jolene Stockman | TEDxNewPlymouth

The most energy-efficient light is one that is off….

And yet, we’re notoriously bad at switching them off ourselves – especially in buildings where we’re not paying the electricity bill – as any nagging parent will know. Occupancy based switching has often been seen as the golden (or green) ticket delivering energy savings up to 40% by conservative estimates. And yet, for situations where the end-user is relatively still – schools for students with SEN or elder care facilities for example – that simply doesn’t work.

This research found that actively working with the orientation of the building and using daylight sensors in areas where they make the most difference can pay back the investment in just two years in reduced energy use. It also points out that the impact was more visually comfortable than occupancy-based switching. The cost of these technologies is falling so fast and integrate seamlessly with other building management systems -HVAC, ICT et al. We owe it to ourselves and the planet to take another look at how we switch off – Impact of Building Orientation on Daylight Availability and Energy Savings Potential in an Academic Classroom

Happy Campers

A weekend in a tent in the garden – or a bit further afield – could be enough to put a smile on your face and get your body clock back on track. This article ( offers some lighter-hearted tips – and the academic article gives more background for those who want to get into the science – Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle across Seasons and the Weekend

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