Commercial lighting defers greatly in comparison to lighting found in your home. In a commercial setting, the overall design must incorporate many factors which flow throughout the building. In your home, the lighting is commonly suited to the design of each room rather than as part of an overall plan. So, what are the options available when it comes to office lighting?
Factors to be taken into consideration when choosing office lighting
- Light level for the office
- Overall aesthetics (how do you want the lighting design to look)
- Installation cost
- The life span of the chosen lighting
- Difficulty of installation and disruption
- Ongoing maintenance & Service requirements
The office lighting levels
Lux or Lumen calculations are how the levels of office lighting are measured. Visible light and the output form the basis of the calculations. Visible light is measured by Lumens. Generally, the greater the lumens to an office delighting fixture, the greater the light coverage it provides. Per square metre Lux is equivalent to 1 lumen. With this in mind, we can consider the light output to be the lumens value.
LED’s provide a greater lumen output as well as a cost effective operation cost. Another key point, LED lighting is generally the basis of most office delighting installations. You will see different designs and manufacturers within offices. However, this does depend on the system and the style required by the office. Certain designs call for a non LED light to create an effect or warmth.
CIBSE Recommend the following for lighting levels in an office
- Standard office area – 500 Lux
- Computer area – 300-500 Lux
- Filing area – 300 Lux
- Printing area – 300 Lux
- Toilets/Changing rooms – 100 – 150 Lux
Types of Office Lighting
When considering your office lighting, these are the most common types
- LED Lighting
- Fluorescent Lighting
- Incandescent Lighting
These lights are now considered outdated and ineffective. This type of lighting is now rarely found in commercial buildings, most building have replaced these lights with other options. In some cases, the lights can still be found in a few areas.
In older office installation Incandescent lights were chosen above fluorescent lights. This is because of their ability to reach their light levels much quicker. Additionally, the lights also generated some heat which is advantage for certain clients.
- Least energy efficient option
- Operate at a high temperature
- Short services & maintenance life
- High operation cost
Due to the increased longevity of the light fittings and bulbs, fluorescent lights are considered a step up in comparison to incandescent lights. In addition, the lifespan of fluorescent lights can be 20x longer. Unlike incandescent lights, these lights do not give off heat from the light bulb, the lights work at a lower operating temperature. This results in lower cost, lower energy, and lower maintenance. Lastly, fluorescent lights are also a big increase in light coverage and light levels.
So, what are the disadvantages of fluorescent lights? As previously mentioned, the lights provide a good lighting coverage at a bright level, but this does come with its faults. When turning the lights on, a starter noise can often be heard and sometimes there’s a noticeable pause before the lights turn on. After a long period of time, this delay prolongs, and the lights can intermittently flicker and create a noise during operation. This problem can be solved by replacing the light bulb or tube. However, this means the cost to service and maintain them increases.
LED lights were the most expensive to buy and install. However, over the years the cost has decreased significantly. LED lights are now commonly found in commercial buildings or offices. Majority of light fittings in commercial buildings are manufactured with LED technology. In most cases it’s the best option due to its number of advantages.
- Longest life span
- Operate at a low temperature
- Greater lighting levels at a low wattage
- Low operation cost
- Lower energy consumption
- Reduced maintenance & Service
Several researches have shown that individuals exposed to natural lighting are more productive and creative. LED lights have the ability to mimic the natural light produced by the sun. This results in receiving the benefits of the sun. Offices with LED lights enable employees to work effectively. Lastly, natural light is also known to have other health benefits such as relieving stress, depression and improving sleep patterns.
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