Leela Shanker

Leela Shanker is a New York-based designer and artist leading a new Design Lab in house to sustainability firm, WAP Sustainability. Formerly a lighting designer with Borealis Lighting Studio of Consulting Engineering firm BR+A and sustainability technical expert advising the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (the research arm of the U.S. Federal Government’s Department of Energy), Shanker is a member of the Product Category Rules Committee determining the framework for Life Cycle Assessment in North America to enable a consistent global approach. Through the GreenLight Alliance (GLA) – an international network of lighting professionals progressing industry-led standards, research and advocacy for circular design principles – she founded the Lighting Industry Life Cycle Assessment Incubator. In collaboration with Athena Sustainable Materials Institute and the International Association of Lighting Designers’ Lighting Industry Resource Council, she leads a collaborative effort between 30 manufacturing firms and 68 design firms from every continent in an initiative spearheading global harmonization of the lighting industry’s approach to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Her work with the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), MEP2040 and Carbon Leadership Forum New York chapter address lighting-specific issues related to Embodied Carbon and LCA. She holds a Master of Architecture (Hons) and Master of Fine Arts – Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design and Bachelor of Law and Commerce from the University of Sydney. As a member of the Social Architecture track with the New Museum’s NEW INC incubator, her practice investigates light culture and the sociology of light. As Founder of the Flint Collective NYC Inc, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, her work was recognized in 2021 as recipient of a Lumen Award with Special Citation for Lighting as a Tool for Social Impact.


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