2023 Panel Discussion: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Luminaires and Lighting Design Strategies – Tales from the Front

Leela Shanker, Borealis Lighting Studio & GreenLight Alliance LCA Incubator; Russell Greenberg, Rux Studio; and Kate Hickcox, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

March 8, 2023

11:00am – 12:30pm EST

Room Location: Murray Hill

Credits: 1.5 LU / HSW

The need for a consistent, comparable approach to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of luminaires and spatial lighting strategies has been widely accepted by the lighting industry. Current industry and government initiatives are enabling informed decision making and providing greater certainty in comparing material, production and experiential design choices. Sharing initial findings from the PNNL LCA Project and LCA Incubator of the GreenLight Alliance and IALD LIRC, this session will update manufacturers on the reality of collecting and processing data for LCAs, and designers on how to value and interpret the resulting criteria published in Industry and Product Specific Environmental Product Declarations.

Recommended: Understanding of basic lighting principles and industry stakeholders assumed. Awareness of lighting industry structure and products will support understanding of the commercial discussion.

Learning Objectives

  1. Outline current status of metrics and reporting schemes on the life cycle impact of luminaires and lighting strategies
  2. Understand practical issues in the LCA data collection and analysis process from the manufacturer’s lens
  3. Define and identify key impact criteria from LCA reports
  4. Evaluate impact dimensions in comparison of luminaires and lighting design strategies using LCA data to enhance the industry’s environmental impact


Leela Shanker
Lighting Designer & Founder, Borealis Lighting Studio & GreenLight Alliance LCA Incubator

Leela Shanker is a New York-based lighting designer with Borealis Lighting Studio of BR+A, a consulting engineering firm. Through the GreenLight Alliance (GLA) – an international network of lighting professionals progressing industry-led standards, research and advocacy for circular lighting design principles – she founded the Lighting Industry LCA Incubator. In collaboration with the IALD Lighting Industry Resource Council, North American and European manufacturers are participating in an international study with designers from around the world to pursue global harmonisation of the lighting industry’s approach to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Her work with the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Carbon Leadership Forum New York chapter address lighting-specific issues related to Embodied Carbon and LCA.

In 2021, the Flint Collective NYC, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation she founded to enhance the experience of public space through light, was recognised with a Lumen Award Special Citation for Lighting as a Tool for Social Impact by the Illuminating Engineering Society NYC.

Shanker holds a Master of Architecture (Hons) and Master of Fine Arts – Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design and a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney. She has been published on industry platforms including Designing Lighting, Dezeen and illumni, presented at industry forums including LEDucation, Walk Bike Places and the IES Meet the Moment Series, guest lectured at Parsons School of Design and Syracuse University, and is an active member of the DLFNY, IALD, IES, and AIA.

Russell Greenberg
Founder, Rux Studio

Russell Greenberg is the Creative Director of RUX and Stickbulb. His designs range from an award-winning mosque to water purification systems, porcelain busts, connected jewelry, vending machines, and sustainable LED lighting.

Russell founded RUX in 2008 as a platform to support his diverse interests and foster a collaborative design culture. Over the course of the following 9 years, he led the studio in developing new products and intellectual property for the likes of Unilever, Samsung, Mozilla Firefox, and Pernod Ricard, as well as for startups in the packaging, consumer product, cleantech, and mobile tech industries.

In 2011 Russell introduced his idea of a modular system of LED sticks made from reclaimed wood to the team at RUX, and in 2012 co-founded Stickbulb with Christopher Beardsley to further develop the designs and bring them to market. As Creative Director of Stickbulb, Russell coordinates the evolution of the core collection, refines the company’s sustainable business practices, and provides the vision for large-scale sculptural works like Ambassador, which won Best In Show at NYCxDesign week in 2017.

Following the sustained success of Stickbulb, Russell restructured RUX in 2017 from a client-facing creative agency into a platform to design, build, and grow RUX-owned brands exclusively. His vision is to curate a diverse community of ethical and responsible boutique companies, each of which explores a finite theme.

In 2018 based on his deeply held belief that “Time does not need to be about precision, It can be about poetry” Russell co-founded, Gradual with his long-time collaborators Managing Partner Christopher Beardsley and Product Design Director Minchul Hong. The brand is dedicated to retelling the story of time through the creation of objects that shift perspective and widen frames of reference. Russell served as the lead creative for the brand’s first collection, LIGHTWEIGHTS, which received a Fast Company Innovation award in 2019.

Prior to founding RUX, Russell founded the architecture department within Studio Dror, where he led the design of Nurai, an artificial island resort in Abu Dhabi.

Russell graduated cum laude from Yale University in 2002 and received his masters from the Yale School of Architecture in 2006, where he was awarded the HI Feldman Prize, the school’s highest design honor.

Kate Hickcox
Lighting Research Scientist, Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Kate Hickcox joined PNNL as a Lighting Research Scientist in 2020. She is a creative thinker in the field of lighting, with over 18 years of experience in both lighting research and lighting design. No matter which hat she’s wearing, her goals are simple – to provide equitable and universal lighting solutions that support humans and the environment. Kate’s unique background blends the artistic with the practical and allows for discovery of unique design solutions and innovative research-based strategies. Her work at PNNL includes supporting Energy Equity and Justice in Systems Technology work, leading Sustainability and life cycle efforts for lighting and other mechanical and electrical systems, and work in outdoor nighttime lighting.

She has authored or co-authored many technical publications/reports and has presented seminars at LightFair International, IALD, LEDucation and the IES on topics including lighting and sustainability, designing for darkness, glare and brightness perception, lighting and acoustics as well as lighting quality metrics.

Kate has been a guest critic and speaker at Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons/The New School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Architecture Department. She has taught at The New School, Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments and was also the Lighting Fellow for ‘Opening the Edge’, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority; proposed by Jane Greengold.

She is currently a member of the IES Standards Committee, the Treasurer of the IES Portland Maine Section, Secretary of the IES Technical Committee: Discomfort Glare in Outdoor Nighttime Environments and lead of the DGONE Pedestrian-scale sub-committee. Kate is a contributing member of the IES Sustainability Committee.


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