How to Create a Better Lighting Environment

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Lighting Upgrades and Sustainability: Lighting Upgrades Go GreenPt. 2: Energy Efficient Lamp and Ballast ChoicesPt. 3: Lighting Controls Offer Multiple Ways to Save EnergyPt. 4: Lighting Systems and IEQPt. 5: Where to Find Incentives and Rebates for Lighting UpgradesPt. 6: This Page


NEMA representatives suggest the following tips for improving lighting quality in commercial applications. These do not address daylighting or exterior lighting, but rather interior electric illumination:

  1. Increase visual comfort by distributing light on walls and ceilings.
  2. Specify a color rendering index (CRI) rating greater than 80 when color rendering is an important issue in the application, along with “white” light sources between 3000K and 4100K in color temperature.
  3. Consider lower or translucent partitions in open plan offices.
  4. Choose an 80 percent or higher reflectance for ceiling finishes and a 70 percent or higher reflectance for walls and vertical partitions. For indirect lighting and daylighting, a 90 percent ceiling reflectance is preferred.
  5. Use lighting systems (lamp-ballast combinations) that provide a minimum maintained efficacy of 90 lumens per watt.
  6. Specify occupancy sensors wherever practical to ensure that unused lighting is shut off.
  7. Consider high-efficiency fluorescent electronic ballasts.
  8. Consider high-lumen “super T8” lamps in combination with low-output ballasts to reduce power or with standard or high-output ballasts and then delamp or reduce fixture count.
  9. Consider lower wattage, energy saving T8 lamps (30W, 28W and 25W) with any of the high efficiency electronic ballast options for additional savings.
  10. Consider low-wattage ceramic metal halide lamps as an alternative to halogen lamps, and pulse-start metal halide instead of probe-start metal halide. (New metal halide fixtures operating 150 to 500W lamps will utilize pulse-start systems to meet new federal fixture efficiency standards.)
  11. In some indirect lighting applications, it may be possible to use one T5 HO (high output) lamp in place of two T8 lamps or otherwise increase the fixture spacing, reducing the number of fixtures or lamps used.
  12. Use only electronic ballasts for linear fluorescent, compact fluorescent and metal halide lamps.
  13. If using incandescent or halogen lamps, control them with dimmers. Consider compact fluorescent or low-wattage metal halide instead when feasible.
  14. Layer the lighting design where practical so that the general lighting system does not do the heavy lifting of task lighting.
  15. Choose lamps with maximum service life to minimize maintenance.
  16. Choose light fixtures that offer the highest optical efficiency. Fixture design is an often overlooked but powerful strategy for achieving energy efficiency. Select fixtures that get the light where it’s needed at the greatest possible efficiency.


A Wealth of Lighting Upgrade Information

If a facility executive is looking for more information on lighting upgrades, a good place to start is the enLIGHTen America Web site: www.nemasavesenergy.org. This information-rich virtual environment covers a wide range of material, including:

  • Energy-saving lighting solutions
  • Energy-savings calculators
  • Case studies
  • Tax and other incentives for energy saving lighting upgrades
  • Fluorescent lamp recycling

Energy-efficient lighting products covered on the Web site include HID and compact fluorescent lamps, luminaires, lighting controls, NEMA Premium ballasts, LEDs, exit signs and more.

Information comes from a range of sources. A library section features links to many key resources on lighting upgrade topics, from planning to incentives to technology. In the exhibition hall, visitors can find information from a multitude of leading lighting manufacturers.

The Web site also includes checklists, magazine articles, conference presentations, an interactive networking lounge and other useful sources of information.

Nemasavesenergy.org is sponsored by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the country’s leading lighting manufacturers.


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  posted on 7/2/2009   Article Use Policy

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