This story was originally published in Architectural Lighting.

Gregory Miller

Cheryl English is part of a select group of lighting professionals who have shaped the industry as we know it. After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder, she took a job at Lithonia Lighting in Conyers, Ga., (now part of Acuity Brands) and has been with the company for 36 years. During that time, she has worked in all facets of the business—application engineering, software development, and even marketing. In her current role as vice president of government & industry relations, she is recognized as a leading voice on the subject of energy codes as they relate to product development and lighting. English has earned the respect of her peers and those beyond the industry, so it came as no surprise when she was elected 2017–18 president of the Illuminating Engineering Society. (Read more from English on her thoughts about her role as IES President here.)

What represents innovation in lighting?
Anticipating people’s future needs.

Is there a person or text that’s influenced your thinking about light?
Ray Anderson’s Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The Interface Model (Peregrinzilla Press, 1999). Ray was one of the pioneers in focusing on corporate responsibility to people and to the environment.

Where is the lighting industry heading?
It’s about progress. However, we can’t lose focus on the importance of lighting quality.

Where are energy codes heading?
As technology has changed, policy and regulators have fixated on the energy efficiency of the equipment itself, becoming more stringent on the watts per square foot. It’s still a power-based system, but people recognize the desire to move to an energy-based type of system where it’s kilowatt-hours per square foot or metering.

What impact will that have on lighting?
There needs to be a step back from product regulations and/or appliance standards. I don’t think it means that we have to get rid of them, but we need to put in context how they relate to overall building efficiency—especially now that we’re getting into smart systems.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in lighting?
Learn as much as you can, surround yourself with people you respect, and look forward.

“Everyone gets so enamored with the newest technology. We have to understand the purpose behind these long-lasting decisions.” -- Cheryl English, vice president of government & industry relations, Acuity Brands

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