13 September 2010 – With South Africans facing the challenge of reducing electricity consumption, a biennial competition to encourage the integration of energy efficient lighting in architectural, engineering and interior design, recently received a record number of entries.

The competition that closed on 30 July 2010, received a record number of 567 entries by designers, architects and engineering professionals and students who took on Eskom’s challenge to integrate energy efficient lighting sources with outstanding design solutions. Each entrant assembled a working lighting fixture designed specifically for energy efficient light bulbs. 

“We are delighted by the large number of high quality entries that offer exciting new options and creative design solutions for energy efficient lighting in the future,” says  Mr Barry Bredenkamp of the Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition (EELDC) steering committee. “This competition also encouraged and inspired designers, architects and engineers to integrate energy efficiency in their work for the rest of their careers,” added Bredenkamp.

Students had to design lighting fixtures for residential use and the winning student will receive R30 000, with R20 000 for the runner-up and R10 000 for the third place winner.  There is also a cash prize of R10 000 for the institution where the winning student is enrolled. Ten most promising previously disadvantaged designers will win R1000 each.

Professionals competed in the Innovative Energy Efficient Lighting Design category and the winner will receive R30 000.

A panel of top judges will meet during August and September at different regional expos to face the difficult task of selecting the winners based on criteria such as aesthetics, innovation, uniqueness, cost-effectiveness, manufacturing, marketing and job creation potential and overall energy efficiency. 

Regional judging expos will take place to choose the Top 20 regional finalists who will each win R5000 rand. The dates for the regional expos are:

Port Elizabeth: 16 and 17 August
Pretoria: 18 and 19 August
Cape Town: 24 and 25 August
Bloemfontein: 1 and 2 September
Durban: 9 and 10 September
Johannesburg: 15 and 16 September

Many designers used natural fibres, coarse textures and beads in luminaires with an ethnic or environmental theme, while others have opted for high tech lamps using wire, metal, granite and glass. Some bold designs incorporate energy efficient lighting as part of a coffee table or chair. Designers used compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in their designs, making full use of the versatility offered by a variety of shapes, colours, sizes and warmths of CFLs and LEDs that are now commercially available. In addition to designing and building the working prototype, entrants had to prepare a budget, submit a sketch and a photograph for each entry, and also had to comply with strict safety and quality standards.

Entries came from university lecturers and students, as well as professional interior designers, architects, electrical contractors, lighting specialists and engineers across the country. Entries came from as far as Langebaan, Hoedspruit, Betlehem, Sedgefield, Newcastle, Kamberg and Boknesstrand.

The final judging of participants takes place at Radiant Lighting in Johannesburg on 21 September 2010 where semi-finalists have to present their lamps to a panel of judges. Eskom will announce the winners at the eta awards ceremony to be held in Johannesburg on 4 November 2010.  At this event the winning luminaires, as well as some of the other most innovative and creative entries, will be displayed to showcase local talent in energy efficient lighting design solutions.