Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • English, German

Resource Description

Efficient Light(Resource ID: 182)

The “Efficient Light” module focuses on the physical properties of light, parameters of useful light, and the characteristics of different light sources. Interesting experiments are used to measure the fluctuation of a light source, light intensity, and total luminous flux.

This is an in-depth teaching module belonging to the Energy group of modules. It is beneficial for students already familiar with the basic terms and contexts of the issue of energy. The module focuses on the subject of light, light sources, and lighting. The rapidly growing use of light is contributing to the increasing demand of electricity, and the question of the disposal of used resources. It also raises new issues, such as the problem of “light pollution”. The module begins by dealing with the physical nature of light and its chief properties, and explaining key variables, such as luminous flux and light intensity, or illuminance, and how they are measured. In the experimental portion, students make measurements of the high-frequency fluctuation behavior of different light sources. A light-integrating sphere (Ulbricht sphere), which can be used to carry out comparative measurements of the total light output of different light sources, is included. The module further addresses several important methods of generating light, highlighting their physical limitations and development opportunities of interest.

The module is designed to make students aware of the use of light and give them a basic understanding that will enable them to identify and implement ways to use it efficiently in their personal environments. 

Overview of Contents

  • Properties of light
  • Parameters of light sources
  • Measurement of illuminance
  • Fluctuation of light sources (experiment)
  • Measurement of luminous flux (experiment)
  • Methods of producing light
  • Ways to improve efficiency


A brief discussion of the rapidly increasing production of light and its impact on the environment and energy will serve as an introduction to the module. Then, students are asked to become familiar with some key terms of lighting technology, so that they can apply them in the measurements in the experimental section that follows. The accompanying materials offer a possible framework of presentation. For each transparency (or slide) of the presentation, there is a page of notes with precise details that can reduce the preparation time to a minimum. In the notes pages, you will also find background information and instructions for experiments and demonstrations. (The instructor should take time to study them carefully before the demonstration). Students may also bring their own light sources for a comparative survey of light behavior or light output. The entire module will take up at least one but not more than two double class periods to present.

The module may be broken up into independent segments or presentations (e.g. flux behavior, measuring the light beam, etc.) and used accordingly, with the prerequisite that the relevant photometric terms are explained as well.

Although the focus of the module is on technical aspects of light sources, the other options presented in the materials of intent dealing with light should also be noted, especially since this efficiency potential can usually be easily (re-)identified and accessed in practice.

Insights to Be Conveyed to Students 

  • Basic knowledge of the useful parameters of light 
  • Guidance on the best use of light sources
  • Awareness of wasted light and the efficient use of light  

Documents, Materials

A set of presentation transparencies along with comments and notes is included that provides a coherent presentation framework. Each instructor will have their own preferences in terms of emphasis, of course, and they may wish to supplement or modify the materials with their own knowledge, as time allows.


Oscilloscope, Light Converter as a Probe Head for the oscilloscope, light intensity sensor, model construction with integrated sphere for measuring luminous flux, digital multimeter, light source for pre-calibration (800 lumens), various light sources for comparison.

Contact details for borrowing physical devices
Learning Outcomes
Understanding of physical properties of light
Familiarity with key photometric variables of useful light
Overview of the important methods of generating light
Awareness for the efficient use of light
Relevance for Sustainability
Electric power must be generated in order to produce light. Any increase in lighting efficiency and conservation of lighting usage will therefore significantly affect the total consumption of energy. However, in terms of sustainability, life cycle and problematic lighting materials are also important issues when assessing different light sources.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links
  • W. Elenbaas, J.Funke: Leuchtstofflampen und ihre Anwendung, 1962, Philips Verlag
  • M.A. Cayless, A.M. Marsden: Lamps and Lighting, 1982, Edward Arnold Verlag
  • Brian Cook: „“New Developments and Future Trends in High Efficiency Lighting“, Engineering Science and Educational Journal, October 2000
  • V.A. Godyak: “Bright Idea: Radio Frequency Light Sources“, IEEE Industry Applications Magazine , May/June 2002 p42 ff


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Mag. Dr. Robert Weger


Robert Weger
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Firma Innovative Elektronik


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Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • formteaching_experiment