Just as with any other lighting concept, lighting for an office fit-out or commercial building needs to be fit for purpose, energy efficient and cost effective. Lighting installation must fit in with the style of the building’s design and provide optimal light dependent on the visual tasks that are to be undertaken; this requires a balance of indirect and direct light sources and between daylight and artificial light.
In the workplace, it’s safe to say that we want to stimulate productivity, right? Therefore, the optimum level of light must be present to avoid issues, such as lack of concentration or eye strain. The level of lighting emanating from a lamp is referred to as the illuminance. The way in which this is measured, is referred to as Lux. A minimum of 500 Lux is stated for the brightness within office work stations. Generally speaking, an increase in illuminance boosts the visual performance and can positively influence detailed and fast visual information processing. An illuminance of between 500 and 1000 Lux can also be seen as stress-free, now that’s something we’ll all endorse. The more complex the visual task, the higher the illuminance is sought.
Types of Office Lighting
T12 Lamps | T8 Lamps | T5 Lamps | Halogen Lamps
Quite simply, ‘T’ is the diameter of the tube inside of the lamp. That would make T12 the largest, T8 smaller, and the T5 smaller yet. Typically, the more narrow the lamp, the more efficient it will be. All lamps have a general life expectancy of around 36,000 hours, running for 12 hours per day. In regards to costs, the T8 lamp is roughly 20% more expensive than a T12 lamp, with the T5 lamp being 2-3 times the cost of T8 lamp.
- T12 lamps are old and inefficient
- T8 lamps have higher efficiency
- T5 lamps have the highest efficiency
When it comes to comparing brightness (or lumen output as it’s technically known). This, among other factors is an important part of determining different levels of efficiency. The two characteristics of light that we like to look at are quality – Colour Rendering Index (CRI) and quantity – Lumen’s per Watt (LPW).
In some circumstances a T5 lamp (as shown below) can in fact be the same quality as a T8 lamp and although there may be only a slight increase in the quantity (factors like ceiling height can affect this), it may not be significant enough to justify spending extra for a slight variable. Furthermore, if you’re considering replacing the lamp, there would also be the extra spent to replace the fixture, lamp and the ballast. But, if you have an old T12 lamp, then it would be recommended to install a T5 lamp. Compared to 400-watt universally mounted Metal Halide Lamps, T5 lamps can save up to 40 system watts per fixture and deliver as much as 75 percent longer lamp life. Maintenance costs can also be reduced as well.
The halogen lamp is known for its moderately high efficiency, quality of light and high rated life, compared to the regular incandescent lamps. It is a type of incandescent lamp, which uses a halogen gas in order to increase both light output and rated life.
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) & Incandescent
CFLs are most commonly used as screw-in replacements for incandescent lamps. Incandescent lamps are probably what you imagine when you think of the traditional light bulb. They are most often found in exit lights.
Metal halides are dome shapes lights that are found in factories and offices with high ceilings. They resemble a screw-in incandescent lamp, but on a much larger scale.
LEDs consume around 80% less power than a standard halogen light of equivalent brightness. LED fixtures have been designed to replace nearly any other fixtures design. They’re a great choice for the long term energy and cost conscious workplace. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the State Government’s VEET scheme for LED lighting installation, then what are you waiting for?
Emergency & Exit Lighting
Need to get out in a hurry? Emergency & Exit Lighting signs are required by the Building Code of Australia’s regulatory standards to be installed on every level of a Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 Building where the floor area is more than 300m2, and in every passageway, corridor, hallway, or the like, having a length of more than 6 metres from the entrance doorway of any sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building to the nearest doorway opening.
High bay lighting is a great solution for large industrial and commercial warehouses that require maximum brightness at lower costs. They use up far less power than traditional lighting whilst providing an even beam of light for high area, over a large space.
Linear and T-Bar Troffer Lights
T-Bar panels are a complete fitting replacement for traditional fluorescent fittings, or perfect for new lighting installations where they can be recessed, suspended or surface mounted. Many offices have begun replacing their common grilles with T-Bar panel lights, as they emit a soft light without glare and disperse direct light around a room.
Speciality Lighting for the Office
Do you require a lot of direct lighting? Down lights are a great option for home and office lighting, because they’re very flexible in terms of the amount and type of light they provide. They’re perfect for ambient lighting as they can be installed around the edge of a room (recessed into ceiling space), and dimmed to the level of light that you require. Down lights are also a great choice for use as task lighting, where you need a lot of direct bright light, as they throw a narrow beam of light downwards. All are circular in shape, but different coloured trims are provided which allows you to pick a colour that will suit the room’s decor. The most commonly used bulb in a down light is a halogen bulb, however compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs are quickly becoming the preferred choice due to their energy efficiency.
Looking to light up an area in a creative way? Track lighting – ceiling mounted from metal tracks is most often used to highlight displays in lobbies or along hallways. This type of lighting is very effective at drawing attention to key areas.
Everybody loves a pendant light, versatile and uber stylish; they come in a countless array of styles, shapes, colours and alike. They are sometime called drop or suspended lighting, because they hang from above – usually from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod. Pendant lights often come in multiples and create a focused source of light for dark areas, incorporating a unique decorative element. Great choice when floor space is a priority, as they take up much less space than floor lamps.
Too bright? Easy, just turn the lighting down with a dimmer. Controlling the amount of light gives you full control with the ability to instantly adjust the required amount of light for a task and as an added bonus it helps with energy consumption also.
Want to make a statement? Install a chandelier in the foyer, reception area or hallway of any office and you’ll be sure to create a grand first impression.
Chandeliers are different from pendant lighting as they consist of multiple lamps and hang in a branched frame.
As great as chandeliers are, they can present some challenges. Knowing correct sizing and how high to hang one can prove tricky. A simple rule is not to hang it any closer than four feet from any wall and hang a chandelier low enough so they light up the desired area, but not so low that anybody will hit their head.
Why not snazz things up a bit with cove lighting? This form of indirect lighting is built into ledges or other recesses and illuminates both the ceiling and the adjacent walls for a truly beautiful lighting effect.
Office Lighting Checklist:
- Is there sufficient natural light in the workspace?
- Does the selected lighting correspond with the visual task(s)?
- Is the balance of direct and indirect light guaranteed?
- Is there a need for optimisation in regards to the use of energy saving lamps?
- Are you using glare- free and flicker-free lighting?
- Is the light intensity in the workspace individually adjustable?
- Are you using pleasing, bright colours – warm white, neutral white?
- Are you avoiding glare and distracting reflections?
We make choosing the right lighting for your office an easy process.
Call Prolux Electrical Contractors today on 1800 800 880 and let us transform your commercial or industrial workplace with lighting solutions that will stimulate productivity.