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Highway project wins young lighter prize

Lighting engineer Sofia Tolia has been named Young Lighter of the Year 2016 for her work on energy saving in road lighting, at the 22nd Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) Young Lighter of the Year competition.

The winning paper, entitled ‘Variable Lighting Levels for Highways - A Different Approach’, was delivered in a 15 minute presentation alongside three other finalists in front of judges at the awards ceremony, during the LuxLive exhibition in London’s EXCEL.

Based on research carried out around the Greek port of Piraeus for her Master’s diploma thesis, the paper examines the current methods used to save energy by dimming road lighting in periods when traffic is predicted to be low, and suggests an alternative methodology. 

Currently, the level and time of dimming is decided by a pre-determined formula based on the classification of the road and other factors such as local crime and weather conditions. In her paper, Sofia presented a different method based on a model that takes into account the actual hourly conditions of the road, and has the potential to increase road safety. 

Richard Caple, SLL Vice-President and Young Lighter of the Year Judge, said: “The judging for the 2016 Young Lighter of the Year has been particularly tough due to the exceptional quality of the four finalists. 

“Although it was very close, in the end Sofia Tolia was awarded Young Lighter of the Year following her excellent paper and presentation on Variable Lighting Levels for Highways – A Different Approach. Her choice of topic, succinct written paper and engaging presentation meant she lifted the overall title. I would like to congratulate both Sofia and all of the finalists.”

Also awarded was the prize for the best presented paper, which was won by James Duff and his presentation ‘A Journey Towards Change’. The other finalists were Aisha Robinson – ‘A Visible Light Communication Scheme for Use in Accent Lighting’ and Eleonora Brembilla – ‘Applicability of Climate-based Daylight Modelling’.

The Young Lighter of the Year awards are designed to test not just the finalists’ academic ability, but also their presentation skills – an important soft skill that can make a big difference in the effectiveness of communicating and implementing theoretical ideas on an lighting design project.

The competition provides a unique platform for young lighters and are open for all to enter. The written paper and the presentation allow the young lighters to illustrate their knowledge and research on a lighting subject, hone their presentation skills, and raise their profile within the industry.

Each finalist delivered their 15 minute presentation to an audience at LuxLive on 24 November 2016. All of the finalists received a cash prize, along with a year's free membership of the Society.

Previous winners include Seda Kacel, Christopher Knowlton, Sabine De Schutter, Rachael Nicholls, Janna Aronson and the 2015 Young Lighter of the Year, Youmna Abdallah.