In these unfortunate times, it seems that everyone is looking for ways to help with the COVID-19 crisis. From a lighting designer’s perspective, one solution is obvious: ultraviolet radiation. We have known about the disinfectant properties of ultraviolet radiation for nearly 150 years (Downes and Blunt 1877), and we have been using low-pressure mercury arc lamps to kill bacteria and inactivate viruses for the past 85 years (Wells and Fair 1935).

The Illuminating Engineer Society’s Photobiology Committee published an outstanding FAQ titled Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) – Frequently Asked Questions last week. However, this document has one small but critical omission that needs to be addressed: ultraviolet disinfection lamps for home use. To address this issue, I have written the following article:

If you think that there are government regulations to protect consumers from astoundingly dangerous UV germicidal lamps …


SunTracker Technologies Volunteers Expertise to Combat Light Pollution

Victoria, BC, April 17, 2020 – SunTracker Technologies’ Senior Scientist Ian Ashdown has been involved in the global issue of light pollution that affects our environment and the human condition for over thirty years.

While the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) have published numerous reports and standards aimed at reducing light pollution around the world, Ashdown has focused on mathematical modeling of the causes of light pollution. As he puts it, “Unless you can quantify a problem, you will never have confidence in your proposed solutions.”

On April 16th, 2020, the IDA and IES announced a strategic collaboration to advance quality lighting to reduce light pollution. SunTracker’s volunteer contribution to this effort has been to analyze the spectral properties of several thousand different light sources provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and compare the performance of light pollution metrics that have been proposed by astronomers, ecologists, and lighting researchers around the world.

Related to this, Ashdown is the Vice Chair of the IES Sky Glow Calculation Committee and a member of CIE Technical Committee 4-58, Obtrusive Light from Colourful and Dynamic Lighting and its Limitation. He has previously studied, written about, and presented seminars on astronomical, ecological, and botanical light pollution issues. His latest effort, a review and analysis of ecological light pollution from commercial greenhouses, is scheduled to be published in the June-July issue of Maximum Yield magazine.

“Light pollution issues may seem somewhat removed from SunTracker’s focus on architectural and horticultural lighting design software,” he says, “but it is not. We live in an interconnected world, and light pollution is one of society’s aggrievances upon the planet. It is our corporate responsibility to lend our expertise towards finding viable solutions.”

About SunTracker Technologies: Established in 2011, SunTracker develops and licenses fast and accurate software tools to plan lighting needs and photorealistic renderings for the architectural design, horticulture, entertainment, and healthcare lighting industries. Learn more at and




New York, NY, April 17, 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wave of seemingly conflicting statements and opinions about the disinfection capabilities and safety of GUV, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES, est. 1906) has issued a report by their Photobiology Committee explaining germicidal ultraviolet (GUV) disinfection and its potential to safely reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The authors of the report have provided answers to frequently asked questions about GUV, drawing from expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Harvard Medical School, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and from germicidal UV manufacturing and research organizations.

Written to help protect healthcare workers and patients, the free download is available on the IES website, [click here], with an accompanying tutorial video explaining germicidal UV technology, its application, and safety considerations. “The goal is to provide timely and objective information on a proven technology that can reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus,” said Brian Liebel, IES Director of Standards and Research. 

Germicidal UV can successfully and safely be deployed to disinfect air in occupied hospital spaces such as waiting rooms, intensive care units and operating rooms. In unoccupied controlled-access environments, germicidal UV can be used as a supplemental measure to disinfect room surfaces, to reduce the spread of healthcare associated infections. Germicidal UV is also being applied for disinfection of some personal protective equipment (PPE) for limited reuse during the pandemic. The FAQs emphasize the need for GUV to be applied correctly and monitored for output and safety, and that training on the operation and maintenance of the systems over time is also important. The IES report addresses these topics and recognizes that additional GUV technologies are in development, including efficacy and safety testing. 

The committee report also cautions that ultraviolet disinfecting “wands” or other ultraviolet products for residential use—as they are inadequately proven and unregulated—may pose a safety hazard and are unlikely to provide the protection expected. 

The guidance included in this report should help medical professionals and consumers better understand germicidal UV products, and provides considerations for selecting and employing such technologies,” said Dr. David Sliney, chair of the IES Photobiology Committee. The report was approved through the same careful and rigorous ANSI-approved development process as an IES standard.

About the Illuminating Engineering Society

Established in 1906, the IES is the recognized technical and educational authority on illumination. The strength of the IES is its diversified membership including engineers, architects, designers, educators, students, contractors, distributors, utility personnel, manufacturers, and scientists in 64 countries, all contributing to the mission of the Society: To improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. The IES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional society.

Illuminating Engineering Society, 120 Wall Street, 17th Fl., New York, NY 10005   (212) 248-5000


Our Food Security:

Recent public health events have highlighted the need for food security in local communities. In northern (and less hospitable) climates like Canada long term, year round food growth will depend on indoor facilities such as greenhouses, vertical farms (plant factories), and hybrid facilities. Proper lighting is critical for these facilities to successfully produce the necessary quality and quantity of food to sustain the population at a reasonable cost. SunTracker has developed CAD modelling tools to allow the horticultural industry to assess and specify the most efficient and effective commercial lighting for the horticulture industry, lighting that is critical for the sustainability of food security.

COVID-19 – A Message from SunTracker

The novel Coronavirus COVID-19, the associated health of friends and family is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts at this time. We are taking efforts to protect our clients, research partners, and our team. Our goal is to ensure a healthy environment for all. As such, our team will continue to work remotely to serve our clients and research partners virtually, and we will continue to operate online and through other media. Technical support will be unchanged as we adopt to the realities of increased self isolation and potential quarantine. You may continue to contact us through email and telephone, and we will respond accordingly.

If you have questions please contact our VP Communications and Marketing:

Online Webinar

April 16, 2020

SunTracker Technologies is incredibly proud of our Senior Scientist, Ian Ashdown, to be presenting with IES Vancouver on Going Green – Lighting Design for Horticulture.

The presentation will be delivered via webinar format, you will need a network connection and speakers. The presentation is eligible for 1 CEU credit. Access to the Webinar will be by donation (a minimum donation of $5, but if you can contribute more, we encourage you to do so), and ALL proceeds will be donated to the Mustard Seed to help support the less fortunate in our local community.

You can register for the event at the following link:

The access to the webinar will be sent to you 48 hours and again 2 hours prior to the beginning of the webinar.

Ian Ashdown, P Eng. (Ret.), FIES, Senior Scientist for SunTracker Technologies Ltd. in Victoria, BC, Canada

was one of 6 Scientific Lighting Experts speaking about

‘The Role of the Sun on Circadian Rhythm and Other Challenges to Human Physiology’

at the NASA Mini Conference on February 28, 2020, Begins 12:00 PM CST

Hosted by Space Centre Houston

For more information please contact:

SunTracker’s Senior Scientist, Ian Ashdown’s Blog Website:

SunTracker Technologies to Release Cerise 365 Horticultural Lighting Design Software


March 19, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   VICTORIA, BC – March 19, 2019 – SunTracker Technologies Ltd. is preparing to release its Cerise 365TM horticultural lighting design

Read More

SunTracker Technologies Announces Helios32 Radiosity Renderer™ Licensee


Victoria, BC, 01 January 2017 SunTracker Technologies Ltd. ( announces Glamox AS as a licensee of its Helios32 Radiosity Renderer™ software. Glamox is a Norwegian industrial group

Read More

SunTracker Technologies Announces New IP Licensee


Victoria, BC, October 20th, 2016   SunTracker Technologies Ltd. ( announces a new licensee of its dynamic daylighting intellectual property portfolio. Lighting Analysts Inc. (,

Read More

Don’t go away without exploring  

SunTracker’s Senior Scientist, Ian Ashdown’s

Blog Website: