Efficiency expectations

Maria Holton of Luceco explains how the importance of lighting comfort in the workplace has grown in importance, alongside the focus on efficiency.

The minimum requirement of an office space should be to enable professionals to be able to work efficiently and comfortably. Good quality lighting also optimises the working environment, boosting employee productivity. End-users are exploring new ways to enhance employee wellbeing, whilst maintaining a focus on energy savings, and improved efficiency.

Recognising continued growth in many sectors and in particular the commercial office market, lighting manufacturers
are endeavouring to play a huge part in providing high quality lighting design specialism for clients. Combining cutting edge design with the latest LED technology results in the very best lighting solutions for the workplace environment.

Pushing the boundaries of what lighting can achieve and focusing on providing energy savings are the key elements for lighting office space. LEDs have improved hugely in a very short period of time, and alongside good colour rendering is excellent life expectancy, plus lumen outputs are up, and wattages are down. There is no longer a sacrifice in quality for efficiency – both are now achievable without blowing the budget.

Understanding and anticipating the end-user’s requirements requires lighting designers to create bespoke lighting solutions to address the need of the office environment. As well as continuing to consider the importance of good glare control, they are placing significance on ‘lighting the task’ and enabling the client to save money on areas that were previous under or over lit.

A quick solution would be to simply offer a one-for-one replacement. Energy saving can be achieved, by some, using this principle, however, it’s invaluable to also encourage reduction in luminaire quantities

where and when it is possible. Delivering good lighting means taking into consideration where and what the task is and recognising that not all employees require the same solution. It is also the role of the lighting designer to create an environment for good communication and enabling employees to focus.

The office should ideally inspire staff, and because we spend most of our time behind our desks, this is where lighting can play a big role. This means good lighting levels, so that the office worker can perform their task effectively, uniform lighting so that their eyes are not trying to frequently adapt, and a minimum of shadows, because these will distract attention. In larger, open plan areas with so many different activities and individuals in one place, it also helps to have good quality lighting to provide a pleasant and motivating workspace.

Various buildings within the Hertfordshire County Council Estate (HCC) have recently been refurbished with cost-effective LED lighting solutions to improve energy efficiencies and reduce maintenance, including a major office lighting upgrade at HCC’s Farnham and Robertson House Buildings in Stevenage.

The extensive open plan office facilities were originally lit with 55 W PL compact fluorescent luminaires. To meet their objectives, Hertfordshire County Council required a lighting refurbishment where significant cost savings and return on investment could be demonstrated, energy efficiencies made to lower CO2 emissions and a massive reduction in maintenance. HCC also recognised the benefits of good lighting and providing ambient surroundings that stimulates a feeling of wellbeing and motivation in the workplace.

LED luminaires offer excellent efficacy and these qualities allow for a sizeable reduction in the number of luminaires helping to provide additional return on investment for a lighting refurbishment.

Maria Holton is senior lighting design engineer at Luceco