Ambient, or general, lighting is the substance. It’s typically 75% of the room’s light. It provides an area with overall illumination – a comfortable level of brightness without glare. It assures you can walk into a space without bumping into furniture. For larger rooms, ambient lighting may require a few ceiling fixtures.
Ambient lighting can be accomplished with chandeliers, Down Lights, Ceiling Lights or wall-mount fixtures, track or recessed lights, and even table and floor lamps.
Having a central source of ambient light in all rooms is fundamental to a good lighting plan; it’s the base upon which you add all other layers of lighting.
Task lighting helps you accomplish everyday chores or tasks – from reading a book to chopping vegetables to brushing your teeth. Write down all of the tasks that take place in a room, and make sure you plan lighting around them.
To enhance visual clarity and prevent eyestrain, effective task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows.
Great task lighting can be achieved by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting and specialty lighting, as well as vanity lights and floor, table, and desk lamps.
Accent lighting is used as a decorative element, enhancing certain architectural details such as, paintings, sculptures, houseplants a decorative range hood or carved cabinet doors.
It should always be about three times the general illumination level. Accent lighting should never be the focal point. In fact, it’s meant to work without being seen.
Accent lighting can be provided by recessed and track lighting, chandeliers with dimmer switches, over- and specialty lighting, and wall sconces.
LEDs are the latest and most exciting technological advancement in the lighting industry. LEDs are extremely energy efficient and consume up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs. LEDs convert about 80%-90% of the electrical energy to light, whereas traditional Light bulbs wastes 80% of energy to heat and use only 20% to light. Since LEDs use only a fraction of the energy of an incandescent light bulb there is a dramatic decrease in power costs.
On average, LED bulbs last 10 times as long as compact fluorescent bulbs, and 133 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs. Long lifespan of LEDs will dramatically reduce maintenance costs and lower long-term operating costs compared to traditional incandescent and fluorescent tubes.
- 50,000 hours powered 4 hours/day = 34 year lifespan
- 50,000 hours powered 8 hours/day = 17 year lifespan
LEDs are extremely durable and built with sturdy components that are highly rugged and can withstand even the roughest conditions. LEDs don't use fragile components such as glass and filaments, LEDs are able to withstand shock, vibration and extreme temperature.
LEDs are made from non toxic materials, unlike fluorescent lighting that uses mercury that may pose a danger to the environment. LED’s are also 100% recyclable and considered “Green” or Earth-Friendly. It helps reduce carbon footprints by one third.
LED lights brighten up immediately and when powered on, which has great advantages for infrastructure projects such as e.g traffic and signal lights.
Also, LED lights can switched off and on frequently and without affecting the LED’s lifetime or light emission. In contrast, traditional lighting frequent on/off switching does drastically reduce operational life expectancy.
LED lights are offered in a variety of base colors such as Red, Green, Blue and Amber. Because traditional incandescent light bulbs use filters to produce colors, they are extremely inefficient. LEDS can be blended together to produce millions of color options.
LEDs can be combined in any shape to produce highly efficient illumination. Individual LEDs can be dimmed, resulting in a dynamic control of light, color and distribution. Well-designed LED illumination systems can achieve fantastic lighting effects, not only for the eye but also for the mood and the mind:
Since LEDs are focused lights they prove best at specific lighting tasks such as desk lamps, reading lights, night lights, security lights, spot lights, accent lights and lighting for signage.
In the past, we bought light bulbs or tube light based on how much energy, or watts, they use. Wouldn't it make more sense to buy lights based on how much light they provide. When you're shopping for light bulbs, you can choose your next light bulb for the brightness you want by comparing lumens instead of watts. A lumen is a measure of the amount of brightness of a light bulb the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light bulb.
The answer will vary based on the design and colour scheme of your room, but here is good rule of thumb, loosely based on the IESNA Lighting Handbook:
Floors: 20 Lumens per Square Foot
Tables and Raised Surfaces: 30 Lumens per Square Foot
Desks and Task Lighting: 50 Lumens per Square Foot
For the average living room of 250 square feet, you’ll need 5,000 lumens as your primary light source (20 lumens x 250 square feet), equivalent to about five 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, or eight 10 watt LED light bulbs. Since you probably read on your couch, you’ll also need about 4 square feet of task lighting on each end of the couch. That’s 200 lumens each (50 lumens x 4 square feet), but you’ll need more if the light source is a lamp with a shade.
In your dining room, you’ll want about 30 lumens per square foot on your dining table (you want to see your food, but not examine it), so if your table is 6 x 3 feet, that’s 540 lumens.
Keep in mind, however, that these numbers are for typical conditions. If you have especially dark walls and furniture, you’ll need brighter light sources. The distance of your light source from the surface also changes the equation. We based our calculations on 8-foot ceilings and average height task lamps.