Buildings are complicated things with lighting being just one part of a thousand piece puzzle. However, it’s a pretty important piece as it invariably performs a range of different functions from setting the mood and creating atmosphere, to ensuring that spaces are well lit to encourage productivity and guarantee safety. Controlling the lighting efficiently and intelligently can not only help make your building a pleasant place to be in, but a safe one as well.
In general, the lighting needs of a building will depend on what that building is used for and begin around the required lux levels. Lux is essentially just a measurement of brightness and is related to lumens. One lumen is equal to the light produced by one candle, much like how 1 horsepower in an engine is equal to one horse in the automotive industry. 1 lux then is the amount of light that hits a 1m square surface from 1 meter away from a 1 lumen light source. So far so good…
The goal with most lighting is to provide enough light for people to accomplish tasks or to achieve a certain effect without over-lighting the space. We’ve all been left squinting after taking a torch beam directly to the eyes just as much as we’ve cursed while groping in the dark for some item or other and know how frustrating both of those scenarios can be. So it’s very important to get your light levels correct.
Most local authorities regulate minimum light levels for certain spaces but in general a good guide is the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2021). This sets out lux levels per room type with, for example, a conference room needing 300-500 lux while a corridor should have between 50-100 lux. While the IECC 2021 is useful, it’s important to remember that certain jurisdictions might regulate differently and should be researched accordingly.
So now we have a guide for how bright to make things, but that’s only really half the equation. We also need to think about how to control all these different spaces. A building is rarely just made up of one type of room for example, and it’s a pain to have to keep on searching for specific types of light every time you need to maintain your system. Also, while 100 lux is fine in a corridor for normal use, in an emergency you may want to increase the brightness in order to make evacuation easier. Finally, there’s energy consumption to take into account. An empty room with the lights on is energy and money wasted and you’ll want to try and control that as much as possible.
Intelligent lighting control systems have come a long way in the last decade or so and can now fulfill many functions, such as daylight harvesting, occupancy/vacancy response/timed events, as well as automated notifications in the event of a malfunction, so that your maintenance team can always stay on top of issues.
Given all of the above, it’s clear that whatever your space is, it would probably be best to talk to the professionals when it comes to designing, specifying and installing your lighting system. Luckily at Prosound, we have specialists who have made it their job to understand these complex needs and are happy to help. Get in touch with us today and if you would like more info on lighting, check out our article on “What is colour temperature and why does it matter?”