On today, the shortest day of the year and as Christmas is almost upon us, we thought it pertinent to discuss through our first technical topic, the subject of lighting. Lighting at this time of year is very festive and everywhere, on the Christmas tree, in windows, on the roof and of course the front door wreath! This of course is lighting for festivities and fashion, however selecting suitable lighting should be determined with its purpose and context in mind.
Take our Christmas lights for example, dug out from the back of the cupboard, purchased several years ago and although they look festive and functional on the tree, the whining from the transformer can bring out our irritable nature! It’s always a surprise when we get into lighting designs the quantity of attributes to consider, and how this affects our level of comfort and physiological well-being – vital for high performing tasks.
According to the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) there are three levels of lighting – good, bad and indifferent; all of which generates around our level of function and comfort. Delkia have provided a number of lighting designs over the years, predominantly for industrial and office purposes. Although client and industry domain standard lux levels are excellent guidance to aim towards the ‘good’ level, they are certainly not the only factor.
Understanding the need and client objectives is of course vitally important but transposing these into digital platform is where the magic really happens. Choosing the correct lighting software to use is critical. Challenges of getting the most accurate CIE general colour rendering index (CRI) correct can affect the digital output, most problematic in industrial applications when using LED lights. Other such factors include accurate glare considerations that are fully compliant to BS EN12464; as well as such interfaces with objects, task type, surfaces and what is called ophthalmic visual capacity – people’s normal performance to see. All of which can be difficult to model in rudimentary or subpar software packages that don’t allow for accurate representation of the real-world and high-definition rendering and modelling.
Using the most advanced design lighting packages with knowledge and application of their use, allows the finer details to be captured. This is specifically important in high-demanding environments, such as medical surrounding, offshore and nuclear, to name a few. To capture this detail accurately through digitalisation and photorealistic visualisations, it allows the lighting designer to focus on the true benefits of effective lighting designs; leading to an enhanced performance.
Our physiological behaviour plays a dynamic part in the interactions with lighting, which is often missed in the engineering fraternity, leading to more involvement of human factors and ergonomic assessments. We must also assess when we need the light at certain junctures of a task including duration as well as our bodily interactions with day and night. To perform cognitively at our best simply assessing glare, flicker, contrast and luminance is not as straightforward as we first thought.
Of course it would be remiss of us not to mention the power usage of lighting. Coming back to the annoying transformers in the Christmas tree lights, the actual noise is really down to poor quality. As such they will use more energy, and yes, we will be replacing them, despite our frustrations. But this is another factor in lighting design, the balance between quality, cost, application, maintenance, and longevity not forgetting energy usage. One of our clients told us recently that their energy bill was consistently a six figure sum. Although this sounds high, it was a hotel with a swimming pool. They blamed all the lighting as the main issue, and upon first inspection – we could see why, especially at this time of year.
As technology improves in lighting products so does its consumption of energy. According to a report from the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy [BEIS], lighting is the second highest consumption of energy in any building; heating and ventilation cooling being the first. This makes up in excess of twenty percent of the building or plant’s energy consumption. This clearly has an environmental impact and environmental assessments are usually insisted upon for occupied buildings through various known endorsed methodologies.
So whether it is for designs for emergency lighting to BS 5266-1:2016, confirmation of lux levels for display screen equipment to ISO 9214-307, high-hazard risk lighting or some fashionable or iconic lighting displays; even for Christmas, get in touch with Delkia in the New Year to see how we can add value to your projects.
Finally as we have an office not too far from the Scottish border we thought we’d leave these safety tips, courtesy of Scottish Christmas Trees. Note the point on the buzzing transformer!