Top 6 Tips for Incorporating Sustainable Lighting Design in Your Home
Sustainable lighting design has become an increasingly important aspect of sustainable architecture and design. Sustainability allows for the use of resources in a way that does not deplete or destroy them, or impact the environment. It is about meeting the needs of future generations without compromising present-day lives. The baseline for a sustainable lighting design, therefore, lies in minimizing our impact on the environment while still providing quality lighting services for the occupants of a space.
3 Main Elements of Sustainable Lighting Design
To determine whether or not your lighting design meets the sustainability standards, there are several guiding factors you should look at. The three main aspects include the following.
One of the most important aspects of sustainable lighting design is energy use. Sustainable design is not just about reducing the amount of energy that is used, but also about making sure that it is being used in the most efficient way possible.
Opting for energy-efficient light fixtures that consume less energy and installing them in the right applications is therefore highly essential in your sustainable lighting design. Approximately 15% of the annual electrical consumption in homes is attributed to lighting. Employing energy saving measures in your lighting design can allow you to minimize your lighting energy consumption by up to 70%.
A good lighting design must take into consideration the welfare and comfort of the occupants in the room. It should allow for visual comfort, minimize glare, and avoid eyestrain of its users. When properly designed, sustainable lighting carries the benefits of boosting productivity, as well as improving the sleeping cycle and circadian rhythms.
A sustainable lighting design should aim to minimize its impact on the environment. Durable artificial light fixtures with longer life ratings, for instance, will minimize landfill disposal caused by frequent replacement. Rule out light fixtures made out of harmful substances that may be hazardous to your health and the environment. A good example is Compact Fluorescent Lights which have been identified to have high deposits of mercury. Identify sustainable lighting brands that make an effort to utilize lightweight, non-toxic, and sustainable recycled materials, such as recycled glass, in their production and packaging.
However, environmental conservation in sustainable lighting design is not simply limited to recycling, reuse, and material selection. Another essential element that needs to be addressed is the reduction of light pollution. Designing in such a way as to avoid over-illumination and light trespass into unintended areas is therefore key.
The Top 6 Tips for Sustainable Lighting Design
It is indeed a fact that the world runs on energy, and that artificial lighting is one of the largest consumers. The following are ways in which you can play a part in sustainability by optimizing your lighting design.
1. Maximize Natural Daylight
Natural daylight is the most sustainable and clean light source available since it is free and does not impact the environment. Natural light has been proven to improve productivity, boost the mood, and improve the health of occupants.
Therefore, you can design your spaces to maximize the use of natural daylight by allowing for large glazed windows and doors oriented in the North-South direction. This enables you to enjoy the ample benefits of daylighting in your spaces throughout the day.
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2. Install Energy-Efficient Light Fixtures
The more energy-efficient a lighting fixture is, the lower its energy consumption. LED lighting is currently the most efficient and sustainable light source, allowing you to save up to 50% on your energy usage. It supplies a higher lumen output and quality lighting at a lower wattage compared to other conventional light sources. Additionally, LED light bulbs have up to five times longer rated life compared to incandescent bulbs, which greatly minimizes their impact on the environment.
You can also go the renewable energy way by installing solar-powered lamps and light sources, particularly for your outdoor areas, to complement your other electric lighting fittings.
3. Select the Appropriate Luminaires
Finding the right luminaires for the intended application can contribute to sustainability by minimizing energy use, avoiding light pollution, and ensuring visual comfort. Every light fixture is differently designed depending on its application. For instance, focused directional lighting emits concentrated light which makes it the perfect choice for task lighting, accent lighting, and art lighting applications. On the other hand, an omnidirectional light source generates uniform lighting in all directions which is essential in the ambient lighting of your existing building.
Additionally, you must consider the light output and quality of your light source for visual delight. In art lighting and exhibition lighting applications, a light bulb with a high Color Rendering Index of over 90 is necessary in bringing out the true color and details of the art piece. Pay attention to the color temperature and how it affects the mood of the space, as well as the beam angle and how it frames your pictures to avoid the spillage of light onto the walls.
Perfect Picture Lights supplies a vast range of quality art lighting fixtures with adjustable beam angles and adjustable lighting levels that will fit seamlessly into your décor and home art gallery lighting applications.
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4. Install Smart Controls
Automating your light controls is a sure way to ensure that they are only switched on when they are in use, therefore saving your energy. Smart control technologies come in various forms. Dimmer switches, for instance, allow you full control over your lighting levels. Occupancy sensors and motion sensors can detect movement within the room and will hence turn off the lights when the room is vacant.
Photo sensors can detect a reduction in the lighting levels and will automatically switch on during the day and off at night when a given light level is reached. Finally, you can also program a time-controlled lighting system to gradually adjust your lighting levels throughout the day or switch off your lights, as per the set time.
5. Light Your Activity Zones Differently
Avoid over-illumination, glare, and eyestrain by introducing task lighting to your various activity zones. Instead of washing over your entire room with high illuminance levels, identify the different activities carried out in your spaces and provide zone lighting as required. This allows you to reduce your lighting energy costs, while still providing the right amount of light for your space.
Your lighting plan should address the needs of the space by providing more lighting where specific tasks are carried out such as reading, cutting, or working, while providing lower ambient light levels in the other areas.
6. Design your Home Architecture for Sustainable Lighting
Besides orienting your green building in the North-South direction for maximum daylight, working with an open floor plan layout in your architectural design will allow for a free flow of light within the rooms. This will reduce the amount of light you need to illuminate individual spaces. Additionally, brighter wall paint colors and reflective surfaces in your interior design allow for the reflection of light within the room for a brighter, airy feel. It allows you to make the most of the light fixtures you have installed.
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Adopt Sustainable Choices for a Bright Future
The world is in a constant state of change, and with it comes the need for us to adapt. The lighting industry offers us advanced lighting technology to equip our homes with sustainable lighting design solutions for utmost energy efficiency, visual comfort, and environmental conservation. The above tips will get you started on your journey to sustainable lighting and architecture. You can also hire an expert lighting designer to assess and provide sustainable lighting solutions for optimizing your home.
Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design as well as 3D visualization skills for architectural and interior design.