Not that type of light? A guide to lighting

Lighting is most probably the most important element of our homes, offices, schools and many other parts of our life. Apart from the obvious illumination light provides, a good and proper selection brings out the aesthetic beauty of our homes, bars, restaurants, schools, offices and other places. Lighting in homes consumes a staggering 8-20% of the average household electricity budgets or even about 7% of its energy use although the makeup of the installed lighting technologies, lighting designs, and user behaviour can make a world of remarkable difference in more ways that we can imagine. This is the reason why proper care and attention has to be given to our choice of lighting which can also include custom lighting solutions. Efficient and well-designed lighting can yield a rather large percentage of household energy savings allowing us to invest our money in other spheres of desires or other electrical gadget needed at home.

The primary aim of light in our homes is to provide an adequately safe, cozy, visually appalling and desirable environment as well as enabling us to be as energy efficient as possible. Determining which lightning best suits the different rooms in our homes requires a whole lot of scrutiny and basic knowledge of their importance. Thoughtful and meticulous lighting design combines in reasonable proportion many daylighting and electric lighting strategies to optimize the distribution of light inside the building. It puts into a wise consideration, the whole building energy impacts and factors to minimize to the barest level the building’s overall energy usage and integrates the design of daylight entry through windows and skylights with electric lighting, including controls. It takes advantage of the shading strategies and glazing technologies to moderate the intensity and spectrum of the daylight admitted to the home, to minimize heat gain during the cooling season and heat loss during the summer seasons. It also puts into consideration, the best window aperture sixes, glazing and shading designs for each orientation to reflect the expected solar angles, heat gain, and glare criteria.

The concept of layering light is particularly important in the living or family room, an area of the house where people tend to gather for a long period of time and engage in a variety of activities, including conversation, watching television, reading, playing board games. Because of the activities in the living room, it is often nice to use lights that bounce off the ceiling for ambient illumination because bouncing light creates a sense of brightness in the room and avoids the shadows or downward direction of recessed lights. If there is a bookcase or an entertainment unit that doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling, there is an opportunity to add a piece of millwork and put a linear fluorescent behind it.

In the Australian market today, there are a whole lot of trendy lights that serve different purposes to meet our desires at any time of the day. One of which includes the incandescent lighting- most lighting found in homes are incandescent lighting. In an incandescent lamp, electric current heats up a metal filament in the light bulb, making it glow white-hot and give off light. Stage lighting also uses LED lights so that they use very less energy while entertaining people. The only deficiency is that only about 12-20% of that electricity is actually used in the production of light hence may not be highly desired in saving energy in sufficient amount. The electricity not used to produce light usually ends up as heat. During the winter months, incandescent lighting is an expensive form of electric heat but during the hot weather conditions of the summer months, it makes the air conditioner and fan work harder than it has to on a normal day. Improvements have been made on incandescent bulbs as manufacturers have produced new incandescent bulbs also known among professionals as technical halogen-IR bulbs. These bulbs look and perform just like traditional incandescent but use about thirty per cent energy less helping in saving a considerable amount of energy and reducing heat as well as the workload of air conditioners during the hot summer periods. A wide variety of halogen lamp types are available in the market and they are most often used where high light quality or precise light focusing is required. While halogen lamps are an upgrade on traditional incandescent lamps in the fact that they are more energy-efficient, they cannot come close to the energy efficiency levels of light emitting diodes also called solid-state lighting.

Light-emitting diodes also called solid-state lighting are also highly trending in Australia as well as available in the market n affordable fees. The technology of light emitting diodes is evolving rapidly as the newest and most energy-efficient option for a variety of residential lighting applications. A light-emitting diode is a pen-sized device that uses semiconducting metals to convert electricity to light. Light emitting diodes are thirty per cent more efficient than the fluorescent lamps and about seventy-five per cent more efficient than the best halogen incandescent lamps. The price ranges from the US $300-$500.

Another type of light is the compact fluorescent lamp. It has improved light quality, greater product variety from which one can choose from, lower cost and the fact it is aggressively being marketed by major retailers makes it very common. The high performance of compact fluorescent lamps means that they waste much less electricity in the form of heat. The price is between $100-$300 depending on the type and quality.

Other types include the linear fluorescent lighting which is found in high-quality fixtures designed for use in places other than your garage or basement workshop. High-intensity discharge lighting is also popular and is typically used along streets and in parking lots.

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About the Author: Jay Walker

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