bLEEDing away

Singapore 15th February 2012

There is this new craze from companies, corporate institutions and hotel operators who are coming out with these design guidelines to comply with LEED certifications, Green Marks to look like a responsible company. I don’t know about other lighting designers out there but as far as I am concerned I have yet to come across a sensible guideline for lighting design relating to energy loads that makes common sense. Most directives for lighting I have seen seems to have been developed by engineers and not by lighting designers as far as I can see (correct me if I am wrong!)

I recently received a directive from a hotel-operator asking us to design around 9W/m2 for a 5 star hotel guestroom. Now that may all look responsible and a laudable direction but has someone actually cross checked and referenced these lighting load directions with:
a- The lighting level directives
b- The other design standards for a 5 star hotel
c- Budget implications and ROI for the extra investments required?
We have just completed a 5 star hotel upgrade in which we have applied all our lighting knowledge and expertise to achieve the lowest possible energy loads, minimum number of lighting points, compliance with required lighting levels and most of all design within the allocated budget (which for all intent and purposes was quite reasonable). Guess what… we did not manage to stay within the 9W/m2. We ended up slightly under 10W/m2 (with 90% of the lights being LED and the balance fluorescent lighting).

To me if you set a directive of 9W/m2 it means you should comfortably be able to design within these limits. From my observation there is only one way we could have achieved these loads; reduce the number of lighting points and apply LED lighting only. But what about the lighting comfort, lighting levels and the cost of the lighting? Also, anyone mentioned lighting controls in this equitation? Let me put it crudely; yes I can put in one or two big (flood)lights creating all the levels I want within budget, achieving the lighting levels, but is that the mood, comfort and attraction that 5 Star hotel visitors expect? I am all for sustainability and saving our planets energy resources, but the application have to be done with thought and balance. It feels like the same story of banning the incandescent lamp….

Light Watch 3-20: I drew a quick sketch to illustrate my point. A bedroom with fluorescent style office lighting…is that where we are going. Some other alternatives below where you create one (or more) big balls of light. Plenty of light but suitable mood for a guestroom?

15. February 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Education, going green, light watch, lighting design, lighting standards | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. Dear Martin,

    How about your stand on achieving 80 lux over the water surface of swimming pool in residential developments as per SS556? Does it overkill the ambiance if we do that?


  2. Sathish
    That is not a simple question 🙂 I dont have SS556 handy so I have to answer of the top of my head, but I always wonder where they get these kind of values, we dont see luxes we see the reflection of light…So lighting levels are just a guide with the key being the actual lighting design that you apply to achieve the end result, in considration that there are many different ways to create your lighting. But most of all you must be able to anticipate what you will actally see, how your lighting will interact, not only with the water surface but with the complete pool space. In a residential social environment it is about safety/ security versus ambiance/ mood of course with an eye on energy, with the key elements to deal with being glare and reflections (water!). Angle of incidence, lighting layout versus the swimmers and the residential blocks around it! The question is what is safer, more efficient and more apropriate, floodlights from outside on to the water, or good lighting from inside the pool (under water)…See also my blog today. If you dont consider all other design and human comfort aspects what is the meaning of 80 lux??? Does it make sense?

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