Illumination Awards & Gala

The IES Illumination Awards program recognizes individuals for professionalism, ingenuity, and originality in lighting design based on the individual merit of each entry. Judges are selected from a broad professional spectrum, representing knowledge of lighting and design excellence. The judging system is entirely based on how well the lighting design meets the program criteria. The Illumination Awards program is not a competition. 2020 marks the 47th anniversary of the IES lighting awards program.

The Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design sponsored by Edwin F. Guth, the Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design sponsored by Eaton, the Control Innovation Award sponsored by the Lighting Controls Association, and the Energy and Environmental Design Award are parallel programs created to recognize outstanding lighting design.

Illumination Award recipients will be honored at the Illumination Awards Gala held during the IES Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 6, 2020.

2020 IA Calendar

Program Categories

The IES Illumination Awards are comprised of four parallel program categories:

The Control Innovation Award, sponsored by the Lighting Controls Association
Advanced lighting control solutions can provide significant energy savings, flexibility and other benefits in buildings. This prestigious award recognizes good lighting projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.

Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design, sponsored by Edwin Guth
In 1902 Edwin F. Guth founded the St. Louis Brass Company and later renamed it the Edwin F. Guth Company. Mr. Guth’s profound creativity, entrepreneurialism and focus to improve interior lighting are partially represented through 147 patents awarded to him prior to his passing in 1962. This award recognizes exceptional interior lighting projects that balance the functional illumination of space with the artistic application of light to enhance the occupant’s experience.

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design, sponsored by Eaton
The Outdoor Lighting Design Award recognizes excellence in lighting design and application in all aspects of exterior lighting. The program celebrates achievements in aesthetics, applied technical acumen, creative solutions to demanding site conditions and advancements to the industry in outdoor lighting applications. The goal of the program is to further the understanding, knowledge and function of outdoor lighting as a critical aspect of the built environment.

The Energy and Environmental Design Award
The Energy and Environmental Design Award recognizes quality lighting installations in commercial and industrial buildings that incorporate advanced energy-saving strategies and environmentally responsible solutions into the overall design.


All projects receive levels of recognition attained by consensus judge scores.

The Award levels are:

  • Award of Distinction
    Awarded for extraordinary achievement in lighting design
  • Award of Excellence
    Awarded for an exceptional contribution to the art and science of light
  • Special Citation
    Recognizes superior elements for a portion of a project
  • Awards of Merit
    Recognizes meritorious contribution to lighting design
  • Section Awards
    Awarded at the local section level judging. Projects scoring adequately at the section move up for additional judging in the global judging, eligible for the awards noted above.

*If you are interested in submitting a project for the Lumen Awards you must use their separate portal. To submit to the IES NYC Section Lumen Awards, please click here. Submitting to the IA program will not enter your project in the IES NYC Section Lumen Awards program.

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