Solutions to limit urban light pollution in apartment design – Interview with VnExpress

With the aim to reduce light pollution and the impacts of artificial light on residents’ well-being and the environment, the investor Tay Ho Group and kobi lighting studio team have devoted their efforts to design lighting for the façade & landscapes of the project Compass One apartment, located in Thu Dau Mot City. A lighting design and strategy plan, thereafter, have been proposed and conducted following the lighting consultant’s guidelines.

Mr. Jonathan Trouillon – Founder & Managing Director of kobi lighting studio has shared his thoughts and experiences with VnExpress about the actual situation of urban light pollution, also the lighting solutions applied for Compass One project. As a French lighting consultant, environmental lawyer & engineer, who has been living and working in Vietnam for 10 years, his opinions about urban lighting design particularly and international lighting standards generally was stated during the interview.

Mr. Jonathan Trouillon shared with VnExpress about urban light pollution and its solution with Compass One.

VnExpress (VNE): How do you evaluate the urban lighting in Vietnam?


During the past 10 years of living and working in Vietnam, I have been involved in designing and consulting lighting for dozens of civil works and factories. Therefore, I have an opportunity to observe the fast transit and development of the city where I have been living in. As you might know, Ho Chi Minh City is also facing light pollution phenomena, similar to the major cities in the world, such as France, Germany, or Europe.

Light pollution is when artificial light – including lights from public illuminated lighting fixtures at night – adversely affects the visual experience & restrictions. It wastes energy and affects human circadian rhythm & health. I bet that you already have once experienced an eye-dazzling issue when driving through buildings with highly reflective glass, or get limited visibility when a car’s headlight glides across the road. That was one or two of the light pollution’s typical signs. And yet, light pollution not only happens in Vietnam but also has not well-addressed in many places in the world.

In France, many experts and architects have spent years managing the unexpected rising of light pollution. A number of regulations were issued during the past over years. For instance, regulation No. 2001-831 – Chapter 3, regarding the measures to prevent and limit light pollution was published on July 13rd 2011, by the French Government. Another case was in 2018, the government also had published a set of technical standards, including all detailed information about parameters, materials, and criterias. The purpose is to specifically conduct the methods of designing & applying lighting design; to harmonize the light with the general landscape, and to minimize the unappropriated impacts on people’s wellbeing and the environment (– JORF Regulation No. 0300 issued on December 27, 2018)

Meanwhile in Vietnam, at present, although the lighting standards have been promulgated by the Vietnamese Construction Department, the standards are still general and only applied to technical infrastructure works, urban lighting, public areas, workplaces, and accommodation (Design Standard TCXDVN 333:2005). The awareness of limiting pollution sources and having specific measures in planning, designing, operating, and using light sources still depend mainly on investors.


VNE: How does light pollution show particularly in residential projects?


Well, not many real estate investors pay adequate attention to lighting design in their project’s living spaces. The prioritized factors are the façade of the building, the utilities, the landscape, and then if any, the lighting. However, lighting, in fact, could play an essential part throughout the residents’ being experiences. It must be taken into account properly to create a living space that we call a true home.

We often get the issues of over-disparate illumination among the areas, which could cause glare and limit the visibility of the residents when they travel from one place to another. This also makes a hard time for human eyes to adapt and regulate in a short time, thereby, creating a bad experience for residents.

Moreover, the abuse of using direct lights with high intensity, especially in public areas, landscapes, common utilities in the long term can also harm residents’ health, disturb their circadian rhythms, cause stress, eye fatigue, and unwantedly contribute to chronic diseases.


VNE: Can lighting affect the work and the people during day time?


Light can affect humans and objects no matter day or night. In the daytime, daylight is a privilege, but also an obstacle for the building and people living in it. When we do not control and manage well the daylighting scheme, our users could receive a direct glare from the sun, as well as its heat. Not only that, direct sun glare could also impact negatively the residents’ visibility, increase indoor heat, and waste electricity because they have to increase the use of AC to reduce the heat.


VNE: So what are the solutions to the above problems?


First of all, investors need to pay due attention to the importance of lighting when developing a project. In terms of this, I think I was lucky to meet such a dedicated partner like Tay Ho Group. It was they who initiatively questioned how to create the best visual experience for Compass One building, to maintain its residents’ comfort, while not supporting any light pollution phenomena.

Based on the agreed concept between both parties, we have developed the lighting solutions that are appropriate & functional for each space within the project. By that, no matter where the residents located around their apartment, they still can get the best views and finest visual experiences of the building without being restricted by the flow of lights.

With the enthusiasm and cooperative coordination of the investor, we were together looking for an optimal design that is practical, cost-effective, user-friendly, as well as environmentally-friendly for the project. Our mission, as a lighting consultant, was to ensure the aesthetics of the building and to find a design solution that could build and use with natural and environmentally-friendly materials.

Also, we wanted to minimize the negative lighting impacts on people and the environment. The new concept such as Human-Centric Lighting (HCL) is becoming an important and fundamental factor for the innovation and the progress of the current lighting design market. In a nutshell, this building must be impressive, create a friendly, subtle, and sophisticated visual experience, while still having a positive impact on the users’ lives and experiences.


VNE: Okay, how do you create the best visual experience for the Compass One project, as mentioned?


Residential buildings do not need many colors or have garish effects on it. The mission is to create a visual experience that is sufficient, subtle, and elegant to make the residents feel warm and welcomed when they come home.

In Compass One apartment, we avoided using primary colors such as green, red, and blue, which can easily cause flashy and unsuitable effects on the spaces. Instead, we applied neutral colors mixed with white color, so that we can create a much proper color temperature and a softer ambiance. For some areas such as the gym or swimming pool, direct lights would be prioritized to use, in order to create a sense of dynamism. However, you need to be very careful when putting the lights among areas. You don’t want your users to get eye discomfort because of the disparate brightness of the luminaire and the unwanted high contrast among spaces.

For the general landscape, we arranged the lights harmonizing with the trees, considering these greenery objects as “special inhabitants” that need care, rest, and obviously have a sensuality of light. We did not install too many outdoor lighting fixtures. Instead, we adjusted the brightness & set up suitable lighting schemes so that the trees have time to rest and grow well in the vast green area. At the same time, the residents can also experience the beauty of nature whether it’s day or night.

For interior spaces, the lights were displayed nicely to achieve the best lighting effects without using a large number of luminaires. We also optimized the natural light for the resident’s comfort, avoiding disturbing their circadian rhythm.


VNE: How effective is this model in visual effects, power savings, operating, and maintenance costs?


Light is an important material that contributes to the attractiveness and the values of the building. With a sustainable, ethical, and environmentally-friendly approach, the lighting system invested and installed by Tay Ho Group for Compass One, can highlight the aesthetics and ensure an effective energy-saving method for the building. It also helps the residents reduce part of operating costs when the building goes into operation.

With every one hour of artificial lighting using reduction, we can limit the impacts of factitious light on human well-being and the environment. The heat reduced from the lighting system also makes the space cooler, decreasing the amount of electricity needed to run the air conditioner.

If each project could focus on the lighting factor when it designed, planned, constructed, and operated, I believe the city will develop its potential in a proper and sustainable way, to cut down the glare and light pollution, and to increase the townsfolks’ opportunity of enjoying the city’s attractiveness.



To read the original article: Thiết kế khu căn hộ cần chú trọng giảm ô nhiễm ánh sáng