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Building efficiency begins with lighting design and controls in step with the space

At the surface level, lighting is the application of light to spaces and simply serves as a prerequisite for visualization. However, because our impression of a space happens via sight, commercial lighting not only becomes a necessity for vision but a medium for perception. This means the type of lighting fixtures selected, in what location they are installed, and at what light levels they are set can drastically impact people’s perception of a building and the work being done within it.

At this point in LED technology development, there is no shortage of literature on the many benefits of LED highbay light. Objectives of LED lighting increasing comfort in spaces, boosting morale, and reducing energy waste have been well documented and the evidence in favor of LED solutions over outdated fixture types is overwhelming. With the maturity of the LED market and reduction in product costs that aid in generating competitive return on investment (ROI), there is no argument against the investment. However, a successful LED lighting project lies at the intersection of design, product selection, and the fundamental client necessity for light in a space. The lighting designer/specifier or installer needs to clearly align the objectives and the value of each criterion considered for the space in collaboration with the facilities manager or building owner.

Designing solutions to fit the space

At the core of every lighting project is the solutions design. True to the title, LED panel light design is the process of delivering the necessary lighting to an area, but to better expatiate on the importance of the job, it is important to differentiate between the commodity of “light” versus the asset of “lighting.” Lighting is an investment that can be very advantageous to an organization and should be carefully considered. Every project starts with a conversation about necessity.

In order for the lighting to best support the client’s goals, project managers and designers need to know the organization, who will be using the space and their lighting needs, characteristics of the building, importance of energy efficiency and budget, restrictions based on geographical location, and much more. Based on what the owner wants to communicate through lighting, decisions on quantity of light, color quality, brightness, and direction can be determined.

The importance of an open dialogue between a building owner and the project manager cannot be stressed enough. Lighting designs cater to the building and work being done which in turn leads every project to a custom solution in terms of size, style, and programmatic requirements. In addition to discussion, it is beneficial for a facility to take advantage of audits in which experts can determine the heavier traffic areas of the building and select the fixture types that would be most advantageous. With proper identification of LED opportunities for retrofits and thoughtful coordination of the building systems, solutions can be designed with consideration to specific needs.

For example, spaces without access to natural sunlight, such as warehouses and mechanical shops, may place importance on implementing LEDs with color temperatures that mimic daylight and allow for circadian stimulus. Advantages like this — which can only be gained through the creation of custom LED design — are leveraged to create an environment that is more sustainable, flexible, and enhances the experience of inhabitants while still meeting safety and visibility requirements.

Product specification

Design works in concurrence with product selection, or specification. While considering the more human-centric aspects of lighting needs, it is also critical to assess the quality of the product, longevity, and controllability. Is there a chance the space may change over time? If so, how will the lighting demonstrate flexibility and ability to augment? To reiterate, deploying LED solutions is an investment, so it is important that the lighting fixtures both fit the logistical needs of the building and abide despite future changes. Incorporating these considerations into a lighting design will not hinder finding the perfect fit, either. Due to the advancement in LED technology, clients are able to select from a wide variety of LED products, but must make sure to prioritize the appropriate light levels for their building.

Ample lighting in an office space, for example, keeps employees alert and the higher visibility allows them to yield accurate results. If the space is underlit, it may have adverse effects on productivity, health, motivation, and even employee retention. Light levels that are too high prove to be just as bad and consume unnecessary energy. Successful lighting design and product selection takes efficiency into account to best make a building sustainable while maintaining an attractive ROI. This can be done by investing in LED light fixtures with higher lumens per watt that provide sufficient light while consuming less energy. For the slightly higher initial cost of efficient LED lighting, organizations can save significantly in the long run through decreased maintenance costs, lower utility bills, and utility incentive programs intended to help offset the initial installation cost of such solutions.

As established, lighting plays a critical role in how a space is perceived. However, lighting decisions can influence performance, mood, morale, safety, security, decisions, and actions as well. Lighting design and product selection allows for optimal lighting depending on the goal of the building and people within.

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