How can we make our luminaires even more environmentally friendly in the long run? It’s simple – when constructing the body of the luminaire we use sustainable, biodegradable materials, for example based on corn. The result: the very first PLA Parelia prototype.
The prototype – sustainability from a printer
Straws, cups, disposable tableware and even furniture – increasing quantities of products are no longer made from plastic but from sustainable, biodegradable materials. This is now possible with luminaires as well! Together with the architectural office GRAFT and as part of a material research, we looked for ways to make our luminaires even more environmentally friendly. Renewable raw materials were to be the basis for the material which had to be biodegradable at the end of its product life. Our choice: polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is a synthetic polymer based on lactic acid and obtained in an environmentally friendly way from corn starch. Due to its material properties the biocompatible thermoplastic is suitable for producing the luminaire body via the 3-D printing process. PLA products feature low moisture absorption and low flammability as well as high UV resistance, colour fastness and bending strength. Furthermore, the real advantage of PLA compared to conventional plastics is its biodegradability. Under industrial composting conditions the material decomposes completely in just a few months.
Together with GRAFT, TRILUX designed and constructed the first prototype for a PLA-based luminaire. The choice for the Parelia LED was by no means accidental: the luminaire has already received multiple awards for its outstanding design (e.g. the Bulid Back Better GREEN Award). Thanks to its high-efficiency lighting technology and optics it generates glare-free light. "We deliberately selected a luminaire that poses a number of challenges for us in terms of design and construction, according to the motto of if it works here it'll also work with all other luminaires" explained Felix Götze, the industrial designer supervising the successful project at GRAFT. Apart from the housing, parts of the diffuse optic are also made from the sustainable material. We are currently analysing the quality and performance of the PLA Parelia under real operating conditions – and will derive all further future measures from this. One thing is already clear: Parelia LED is living up to its reputation as an innovation driver, and in the form of a PLA prototype is setting new standards with environmental compatibility.