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The Importance of an energy efficient lighting design

For a standard commercial building, one of the biggest influences on CO2 emissions is the lighting. The good news is lighting technology is constantly improving with innovative designs and controls. Emissions targets may be tightening but you can keep pace by making the most out of the latest lighting solutions available.

Firstly, you should think about the lamps you're using. Lighting has come a long way from the power-hungry tungsten bulbs which used to illuminate our buildings. Now, thanks to advances in the power of highly efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), the equivalent amount of light produced by an old style lamp (in terms of lumens, the unit used to measure light) can be achieved with just 4 or 5 watts.

Next come the controls for the lighting. If you want to maximise energy efficiency, you don't want to be relying on simple on/off switches and human input. Smart lighting controls can adjust the intensity of the lighting in a room depending on the amount of natural light; while passive infrared (PIR) sensors will switch lighting on and off according to the occupancy of the room. By ensuring these features are specified, you can significantly reduce the building’s CO2 emissions as well as reduce running costs. And don't forget the best light source of all, which comes for free: the sun.

Make the most of south facing windows if possible to reduce reliance on artificial light, but be careful: too much glazing may require expensive air conditioning to make the space comfortable in the summer. Some ‘deep floors’ which have work stations too far from windows to receive natural light will require lighting on even the brightest day, so consider how you're zoning lights in these naturally lit and unlit spaces.

Steve Hull

Author: Steve Hull

This article was published by Steve Hull on 03.07.2014.