About the IES

Established in 1906, the IES is the recognized technical and educational authority on illumination. For over 100 years its objective has been to communicate information on all aspects of good lighting practice to its members, to the lighting community, and to consumers through a variety of programs, publications, and services. The strength of the IES is its diversified membership: engineers, architects, designers, educators, students, contractors, distributors, utility personnel, manufacturers, and scientists, 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 forum for the exchange of ideas and information and a vehicle for its members’ professional development and recognition. Through its technical committees, with hundreds of qualified members from the lighting and user communities, the IES correlates research, investigations, and discussions to guide lighting experts and laypersons via research and consensus-based lighting recommendations.

Lighting Standards

The IES is an accredited Standards Developer under American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved procedures. The Society publishes nearly 100 varied publications including recommended practices on a variety of applications, design guides, technical memoranda, and publications on energy management and lighting measurement, many of which follow the ANSI standards development process. The IES also publishes the most important reference document in the lighting profession, The Lighting Handbook. It is the industry’s principal source for lighting knowledge. The Society, in addition, works cooperatively with related organizations on the development of programs and jointly published documents and standards.

Periodicals and Publications

In addition, the Society publishes Lighting Design + Application (LD+A) and LEUKOS, Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society. LD+A is a popular, award-winning, application-oriented monthly magazine. Every issue contains special feature articles and news of practical and innovative lighting designs, systems, equipment and economics, as well as news of the industry. LEUKOS publishes peer-reviewed articles that report research results, engineering developments, technical aspects of lighting applications, tutorials, and critical reviews. Many IES publications are available as complimentary downloads (such as the IES/IDA Model Lighting Ordinance for outdoor lighting or the Advanced Energy Design Guides, jointly produced by the IES along with the AIA, ASHRAE, USGBC, and the US DOE), providing a resource for keeping up to date with the latest practices and standards.


The broad range of IES educational offerings serves both the general public as well as working professionals in the lighting field. The IES supplies educational offerings that offer IES CEUs (Continuing Education Units) that are accepted by the NCQLP (National Council on Qualification of Lighting Professions) as well as other professional organizations. Also, as an accredited Continuing Education provider with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC), IES continually seeks to update its education programs and where relevant, issues certificates of continuing education credits to program participants. Our website promotes lighting education and incorporates the most recent developments in lighting through webinars, podcasts, course materials, web-based content, and video series. Adhering to its mission statement, a number of IES educational initiatives are available to serve the public. Among these are the Ready Reference App, Indispensable Lighting Series, Lighting Education Facilities Showcase, Forces of Change podcast, lighting nomenclature and definitions. Other programs, such as the live webinar series, are free to members but can be accessed by non-members for a nominal fee. Several IES education programs are restricted to IES Members only. These include the archives of recorded webinars and the Trailblazer and Icons Series. To assist IES Section leaders with content development, IES offers both Facilitators and Speakers Directories as a resource, when needed. IES also encourages Lighting Certification (granted by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions) by offering an LC Study Group course in the fall, prior to the LC exam. Through a strong networking process, IES supports lighting education outreach offered by our 96 local IES Sections in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Those in the lighting industry can avail themselves of courses on a range of levels, from a basic lighting course (Fundamentals of Lighting – 10 modules) to Intermediate Lighting and ongoing advanced Applications Seminars. New content, courses and ways of delivering IES education are under development, from introductory pre-Fundamentals to advanced level seminar courses.


There are 96 local Sections of the IES. Processes have been formed for allowing member-based organizations outside North America to be a part of IES. Led by a board of IES Members, they oversee local programs and activities consisting of educational programs, social programs, mentoring, and networking opportunities. Many of the Sections have their own websites and most have monthly meetings with guest speakers covering timely topics of both local and national interest.


The committees are one of the main strengths of the IES. There are over 1,000 members on approximately 100 standing committees and sub-committees serving to develop lighting standards, education courses, and lighting application documents. Committee members typically consist of experts in a particular subject. Documents produced by the committees are overseen and reviewed by a technical review committee and appropriate staff members with final approval determined by the Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

The Society’s governing body, the Board, consists of 14 members from different areas of the lighting community. It is responsible for all legal and financial affairs of the Society, with its members elected by the Society membership. The Board meets quarterly, with two of the meetings occurring at the LIGHTFAIR trade show and the IES Annual Conference.


IES local, regional, and international meetings, conferences, symposia, seminars, workshops, and lighting exhibitions (including LIGHTFAIR INTERNATIONAL, the largest lighting trade show and conference in North America) also provide information on the latest developments in illumination research, design, manufacturing, and application.


Sustainability has emerged as an important environmental, economic, and social issue representing the next natural progression into our evolving lighting standards and practice. Applying sustainability to lighting design requires IES to re-evaluate many of its recommendations in terms of potential impact on the environment. Sustainable or “green” design is a collaborative approach to architecture and construction intended to minimize the overall environmental impact of buildings while meeting the needs of building occupants.