Quality of light affects everything you do. Two aspects to lighting design go hand in hand; the qualitative (or aesthetic) aspect and the quantitative (or engineering) aspect.

The qualitative part pertains to ensuring that a space has a pleasing ambience. It is the artistic interspersing of shadows and light, darkness and illumination, figure and form.

The quantitative part revolves around providing adequate light for a task. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of North America publishes guidelines of light levels for many tasks and activities based on the nature of the task, the size of objects handled, detail required, even the average age of the humans inhabiting that space.

The term for the rate of energy consumption is power and it’s measured in watts. A 200-watt lamp consumes energy at twice the rate of a 100-watt lamp. The electric utility charges the consumer for the total amount of energy consumed. This is measured in kilowatt-hours or kwh. A 200-watt lamp burning for five hours consumes 1,000 watt-hours of energy, which is the kilowatt-hour. Note that burning a 1,000-watt lamp for one hour costs the same as burning a 100-watt lamp for 10 hours.

Electricity costs about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. It is as high as 20 cents per kwh in some places and as low as five cents in others.

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