Whether you’re upgrading the lighting in your home or you’re a lighting designer specifying fixtures for a commercial new-construction project, you’re probably concerned about the same things. Apart from staying within budget, you’re worried about having adequate lighting. Like most, you don’t want your home flooded with light but you also don’t want to be left with inadequate light. The balance is in the planning. First, you’ll need to know the square footage of the area you’ll be lighting. Once you calculate for adequate lighting, you can use proper dimming controls to match cozier moods.
The Square Footage
- Measure length of one wall
- Measure the width of one wall
- Multiply the width by the length
- W*L = area
- Measure from the center to an outside wall. (Radius)
- Multiply that measurement by Pi (3.14)
- Square the new number
If you’ve got some sort of crazy shaped house, you may have the break out the old high school textbooks and do some geometry.
Now, it’s helpful to plot out the room on a piece of paper. Draw in furniture and any big obstructions. Planning lighting around objects is a more exact way to make sure that you have the right amount of light you want. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want too much, or too little.
Having enough light isn’t the only thing to consider. Color and quality of light is also a big consideration. Take note of where you spend the most time, and what you do in that space. Perhaps you have a favorite recliner where you take naps. Maybe you have a work area that needs to be well lit. If you are relaxing, keep the kelvin of the light down (2700K – 3000K). Meaning, the a warm orange colored light that sits around 2700 degrees Kelvin. If you need to work, a high CRI bulb with a kelvin rating of around (4100K-5000K) is great. If you need more information on any of this industry lingo, you can dig through a treasure trove of lighting information.
Search through led lighting fixtures on AlconLighting.com to see what might work for your space.
Now comes the fun part. For every square foot, you assign a set number of lumens to it. A square foot of floor needs 20 lumens. A table or raised surface needs 30 lumens. A workspace needs 50 lumens. Lumens are a scientific estimate of ambient light coming from a lighting source. Most lighting products list their lumen output on their packaging or specification sheets.
Please note as a warning, large ceilings require the consideration of foot candles. If you have an extremely unique area to light, it may be better to contact Alcon Lighting or hire a professional lighting designer.
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The science of measuring light, photometry, specifically applies to light in a space. Photometrics gauges how humans perceive light — its coverage area, where light cuts off and the intensity of light in relation to distance from the light source. In practical terms, photometrics shows whether a lighting plan meets the qualitative and quantitative lighting requirements for a project.
Products can demand attention with the help of proper lighting. This means an open floor plan with tactical attention to lighting fixture placement, brightness, color temperature, and CRI. The ability of LED Lighting to meet these technical requirements is what makes it the #1 choice of lighting designers and architects.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
At Alcon Lighting’s LA headquarters, co-founder David Hakimi adopted a 12 year-old dog named Nano and decided to bring him into the office every day. Let’s just say it garnered some attention. It quickly became clear that Nano, who’s now 14 years old, relishes a long nap. Nano likes to hop and curl up in an easy chair, resting his head on the arm, drifting into slumber. In fact, David says this is Nano’s favorite activity.
“98% of what gets built today is sh**. There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.” – Frank Gehry. Fun fact: One of Frank Gehry’s most famous works as an architect is his own private Santa Monica residence.