Is the effect of weather on fixtures overcooked?

Since I moved to the Middle East almost ten years ago, questions about the weather conditions here and how they effect lighting have been asked constantly. With the LED revolution now complete, these questions are simply not going to go away anytime soon.

I would probably be a millionaire by now if I had charged for every letter that I have signed to confirm that our fittings are suitable for the Middle Eastern climate.

The myths surrounding the topic are numerous and I would like to share with you some key facts that I have learnt.

Assumptions

Firstly, we must remember that temperatures in the region have been monitored on a daily basis for half a century and this data is all easily traceable online.

When considering these statistics you might be surprised to find out that the highest temperature ever registered in Dubai is 52.1 C (126 F) whilst in Riyadh, during January, it is common to reach -1 C.

Many people assume that the Middle East is very hot all year long. However, we need to broaden our perspective and take into account the average temperature and the fact that July usually represents a high-watermark for temperatures in the region.

In May 2010 iGuzzini started a collaboration with the Architectural Engineering Department of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) University with the aim of monitoring the performance of LED street lighting through thermal and lab assessments in a local environment.

Two fittings were installed at the University Campus and monitored daily. It was observed throughout the research that during one day in July, for just a few minutes, the temperature inside the fittings registered over 40 C. 

It is funny to think that people operating in the market are asking for declarations stating that fixtures would be able to operate in temperatures exceeding 50 C.

In reality the average temperature was much less than expected and was measured at below 30 C for most of the year.

Expectations 

When considering the benefits of long life LED fittings, I believe it is sufficient and accurate that expectations, when it comes to temperature, be placed at 25 to 40 degrees. It is then up to the consultant to decide which information to take into consideration and apply this to his project.

Recently, based upon the release of the updated version of the Abu Dhabi Municipality Lighting Manual, some requirements have become more relaxed.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that whilst I was writing this very column I received an email concerning a project in Kuwait, in which an American consultant asked about the likelihood of temperatures hitting 65 C, which is taking things just a little too far.

NOTE: Sergio’s notes are personal opinion and they don’t represent the organization he’s working for.

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