Spotlight on the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa

February 6th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector


by Mark Botha, editor

The Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) promotes the science, technology and art applied in the field of lighting. It facilitates international information exchange while promoting sound lighting and market practices in the interests of the public.

IESSA president, Greg Marcia

IESSA president, Greg Marcia

IESSA represents the South African lighting industry both nationally and abroad and, as such, acts as the national committe of the Commission International De L’Eclairage (CIE), the International Commission on Illumination.

IESSA experts on various fields of lighting technology serve on the CIE committees responsible for the development of standards to regulate the global lighting industry.

The society enforces a code of conduct to ensure that business in the industry is conducted fairly and professionally, and provides opportunities for members to improve their knowledge. It also co-operates with other national organisations, both public and private.

International Commission on Illumination (CIE)

The IESSA CIE Committee promotes the objectives of the CIE and helps develop basic standards and procedures of metrology in the fields of light and lighting. It provides guidance in the application of principles and procedures in the development of international lighting standards.

The association prepares and publishes CIE standards, reports and other literature relating to the science, technology and art of light and lighting. It also maintains liaison and technical interaction with other international lighting-related organisations and keeps the local industry informed of CIE recommendations and proceedings. IESSA also facilitates lighting and allied research deemed necessary for this region and performs work assigned to it by the CIE.

Divisions within the IESSA CIE Committee include vision and colour; light and radiation measurement; interior environment and lighting design; lighting and signalling for transport; exterior lighting and other applications; photobiology and photochemistry, and  image technology.

Development and training

One of the association’s tenets is the advancement of knowledge. To this end, the Development Committee presents a number of lighting courses with levels ranging from introductory to intermediate, as well as specialised courses focused on specific aspects of the lighting science. All courses are accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and delegates earn continued professional development (CPD) points.

The Introductory Lighting Course provides entrants into the lighting industry with an understanding of basic lighting terminology and techniques. Specialised courses cover subjects such as road lighting and maintenance; shop and retail lighting; emergency and industrial lighting, as well as the use of lighting tools such as the Relux computer design programme.

IESSA further presents an annual five-day lighting school at the National Metrology Instsitue of South Africa (NMISA). This course covers all disciplines within lighting and covers information about standards, photometry, lamps, ballast, luminaires and lighting controls, as well as design calculation, economics and measurement.


The Technology Committee facilitates correspondence between the SABS/CSIR-NMISA and the IESSA Council; representation on bodies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA); the Association of Municipal Energy Users (AMEU), the Electrical Contracting Association of South Adrica ECA(SA), the South African Association of Consulting Engineers (SAACE) and other statutory organisations.

The committee further provides a forum to bring disputes before the IESSA Council, and promotes the use of quality luminaires among all specifiers. It also provides assistance to engineers in terms of conformity to mandatory safety standards and other specifications.

Member benefits

Individual membership

Individual members are not required to be lighting professionals – all applications are welcome. Individual members are graded into affiliates, associates, members and fellows.

Individual members enjoy free access to comprehensive technical advice on all lighting-related issues and receive updates on CIE standards, reports and information relating to lighting. They also attend the annual IESSA Congress and the society’s lighting courses at discounted rates. Individual members are entitled to use the IESSA logo and may state membership for marketing purposes.

The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) has accepted an application by IESSA to recognise lighting designers as professional illumination engineering practitioners, and to endorse their registration with ECSA.

Group membership

This membership category is open to organisations actively involved in the lighting industry, whether educational, scientific, technical, professional, public, commercial or municipal. Group members enjoy the same benefits as individual members, but are also afforded representation and lobbying with the AMEU, DTI, ECA(SA), NMISA, SABS, SEIFSA and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). These members may post their web addresses on the society’s website and have exhibition rights at the IESSA Congress. Group members attend the annual congress at reduced rates and may register unlimited numbers of delegates to both congress and the various IESSA lighting courses.

Contact Sue Swash, IESSA, Tel 011 476-4171,

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