The objectives of and constraints on lighting systems and the interrelationship of lighting and other building systems are treated in this article. To design a lighting system for specific conditions, it is first necessary for the designer to determine the nature of and lighting requirements for the activities to be carried out in every space in the building. Also, the designer should cooperate with architects, interior designers, and structural, electrical, and HVAC engineers, as well as with the owner’s representatives, to establish conditions for optimization of the overall building system.
For example, where feasible, reflectances for ceiling, walls, and floor for each space may be selected for high lighting efficiency and visual comfort. Also, HVAC may be designed to remove and utilize heat from luminaires.
With tasks known, the designer should establish, for every space, criteria for illumination levels for task performance, safety, and visual comfort and also determine luminance ratios and light-loss factors. (For establishment of the light-loss factors, maintenance of the lighting system should be planned with the owner’s representatives.) Based on the criteria and the lighting objectives, the designer can then decide how best to use daylighting and artificial lighting and select lamps and fixtures, luminaire mounting and layout, and lighting controls, such as switches and dimming. Because quality, color rendering, and quantity of light are interrelated, they should be properly balanced. This should be checked in an appraisal of the lighting system, which also should include comparisons of alternatives and studies of life-cycle costs and energy consumption. The analysis should compare alternatives not only for the lighting system but also for the other building components that affect or are affected by the lighting system.
Value analysis should examine illumination levels critically. A quantity of light that is sufficient for functional purposes is essential; but more light does not necessarily result in better lighting, higher productivity, or greater safety. Furthermore, higher illumination levels are undesirable, because they increase costs of lamps and fixtures, of lighting operation, of the electrical installation, and of HVAC installation and operation. Consequently, lighting should be provided, at the levels necessary, for visual tasks, with appropriate lower levels elsewhere, for example, for circulation areas, corridors, and storage spaces. Provision preferably should be made, however, for relocation or alteration of lighting equipment where changes in use of space can be expected.
The various types of lamps differ in characteristics important in design, such as color rendering, life, size, and efficacy. For each application, the most efficient type of lamp appropriate to it should be chosen. Consequently, prime consideration should be given to fluorescent and high-intensity-discharge lamps, which are highly efficient. Also, consideration should be given to high-wattage lamps of the type chosen, because the higher the wattage rating, the higher the lumen output per watt.
Furthermore, in selection of a lamp, much more weight should be placed on lifecycle costs than on initial purchase price. Cost of power consumed by a lamp during its life may be 30 or more times the lamp cost. Consequently, use of a more efficient, though more expensive, lamp can save money because of the reduction in power consumption.
Similar consideration should also be given to luminaire selection. Efficient luminaires can produce more light on a task with less power consumption. Additional consideration, however, should be given to ease of cleaning and relamping, to prevention of direct glare and veiling reflections, and to removal of heat from the luminaires.
Control of lighting should be flexible. Conveniently located, separate switches or dimmers should be installed for areas with different types of activities. It should be easy to extinguish lights for areas that are not occupied and to maintain minimal emergency lighting, for safety.
Where feasible, daylighting should be used, supplemented, as needed, with artificial lighting. Light from windows can be reflected deeply into rooms, with venetian blinds, glass block, or other architectural elements. Glare and solar heat can be limited with blinds, shades, screens, or low-transmission glass. Provision should be made for decreasing or extinguishing supplementary artificial lighting when there is adequate daylight. Consideration should be given to use of photoelectric-cell sensors with dimmers for control of the artificial lighting.
Maximum use of daylighting and other energy conservation measures are often essential, not only to meet the owner’s construction budget but also to satisfy the energy budget, or limitations on power consumption, set by building codes or state or federal agencies.