Architecture Interiors

Lights Came Action

Lighting for Health & Wellbeing, Part 2

What is lighting?

Lighting can comprise artificial light, manmade lamps, or natural light, daylight.  It is used within interior and architectural design to light a space; create the proposed ambience for a space; and to illuminate key features within a design.  Light comprises three elements brightness, saturation and hue.  Brightness refers to the amount of light emitted.  Saturation is the intensity of the colour of the light and hue is the colour of a light.  Lighting can make or break a design.  Therefore, it is imperative to get this right at the initial design phase of a design project.  Why?  This will help to prevent additional costs later on within a project and ensure the design emanates the proposed ambience for a space. 

What do you need to consider when creating a lighting design? Firstly, identify what the space is going to be used for?  For instance, in a dining area you would not want a brightly lit space as this would not create a calm and relaxing ambience for eating. Therefore, a softly lit space is recommended.  However, if a space has a dual purpose, you can still create this same serine ambience by including items such as dimmer switches within the design.  What are these?  These are switches, which allow you to decrease the intensity of a lights, luminaire.

Creating a Balanced Lighting Design

To create a balanced lighting design, include a method used by interior designers and architects, layered lighting.  Layered lighting is when you combine a number of different types of lighting, for instance, chandelier, table and floor lamps.  Therefore, you have a ceiling level light (chandelier), mid-level light (floor lamp) and low-level light (table lamp), creating a balanced design.

Environmental Effects of Lighting

It’s not just about the light bulb but your light fitting too.  How we light our home and work affects the amount of energy we consume.  It is considered that in the majority of our homes, lighting accounts for 15% of our energy bill.  For those of you who work in a commercial environment, lighting accounts for 25% of the energy bill.  It is recognised, lighting is responsible for about 1/6 to 1/5 of the worlds electrical making.

Too much lighting obviously has a negative effect on your home or offices energy consumption.   In addition, the type of light bulbs used can also affect, how much energy is drawn.  Not switching off lights can  further have a negative effect on the amount of energy you consume.  Preventing this may seem like a never-ending task, especially if you have children or share a house with a colleague or friend.  By decreasing your energy consumption will help  reduce the amount of pollution caused by power stations and other energy suppliers.  Additional effects that lighting can have on the environment is the materials and processes used in making the lamps and light fittings themselves.  Therefore, look for light fittings, which are made from sustainable materials.  If unsure contact the supplier directly for information on what the light fittings are made from. 

Traditional Methods of Lighting

Traditional methods of lighting included the use of candescent light bulbs.  What are these?  Light bulbs comprising a glass outer case, which inside consisted of a tungsten filament (a piece of wire).  How did they work?  When switched on an electrical current passed through the filament, heating it, to create light.  Why are these types of bulbs no longer available now?  This is due to the amount of energy required to produce light. Therefore, the newer lower energy requirements bulbs were introduced.

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Sustainable Methods of Lighting

Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) – ?  LED’s are bulbs, which create light by the flow of electricity through a diode (an electronic component).  LED’s are considered, in today’s society, to be greatly energy efficient, lasting around 100 times longer than traditional light bulbs.  They produce less heat and their power needs are lower.

Day Lighting – Sounds like a James Bond movie, however, day lighting means natural day light.

Sunlight Transportation Systems – How does it work?  Natural sunlight is caught by roof panels.  This is then transferred along optic cables and defused/emanated into the proposed space.

Sky light – Situated within the roof of your office or home it is similar to that of a window.  Sky lights can help you achieve daylighting, whilst also ventilate a space.

Light Tubes/Tunnels – Simply put, light tunnels are manmade structures, which are added to an interior’s design to help promote daylighting.  

Translucent Panels – Translucent panels are structures comprising light glazing panels, which are sandwiched together.  The panels allow natural light to pass through.

Atriums – Defined as one big roof skylight, comprising glass, which is circumbambient by a building.

Light Fittings

Look for light fittings which are made from natural or recycled materials.  Don’t forget antique recycled lighting.  Make sure it has been restored to a safe standard and comes with a guarantee.  What kind of materials could sustainable and animal friendly lighting consist of?  Materials such as recycled paper, glass, metal, and plastic or natural materials, for example, wood, felt, and cloth.  What about lamps made from recycled bottles, jars etc.  This could also be an option.  

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The brightness of traditional  style lamps is measured in watts, the higher the wattage, the brighter the lamp.  For LED lamps, the brightness is measured in lumens: the higher the lumen , the brighter the lamp.

Light bulbs can come in and array of colours.  If you are wanting to promote a warm and tranquil environment, why not include warm tone light bulbs.  If the space is using LED recessed ceiling lights, these generally have the option to select the desired lighting tone.  

Have you ever wondered what some of the lettering on a lamp refers to?  This can indicate the shape and size of the lamp.  For instance, letter A stands for standard lamp, C for candle lamp. 

The Kelvin rating identifies the colour of a light and is stated on the lamp packaging.  For example, the Kelvin rating comprises four temperature categories: 

Soft light  (2700 – 3000 kelvin)

Warm light (3000 – 4000 Kelvin)

Bright light (4000 – 5000 Kelvin)

Daylight (5000 – 6500).

To conclude, there are many aspects, which need to be considered when it comes to lighting our homes and places of work.  Consideration needs to be given to, what the space is going to be used for; what the lighting products are made of and how can you reduce your home or businesses energy consumption. Take time at the start of any design project to get the lighting right.  Utilise as much natural light as possible.  Create spaces, which that you will enjoy living and working in and will also promote your health and wellbeing.  

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