Lighting power budgets

Singapore, 10th July 2012

Today again I had to “climb in the pen” as we say in Dutch, to let of some steam as I had received one of those typical energy consultants directives telling me how much watts per m2 I was allowed to specify. It really gets to me as these recommendations are made without any understanding what it actually means. Many of those so called “green” consultants just follow numbers and other peoples recommendations without really thinking. Somehow they think lighting should be an easy target, number of lighting points, watts per point, total watts per m2. Easy peasy. Do they understand that other visual aspects of lighting should be considered and that there are recommended international lighting standards for public safety in lighting to be complied with as well?

Time and again I get these directives imposed on me (often by a junior graduate who just copies the values from an energy saving guide) and time and again I get worked up. Don’t get me wrong I am totally in favour to maximise energy saving (or should I say optimising), we do that anyhow as a standard lighting design practice, it is the thoughtless and inconsiderate way these energy saving guidelines are being used that really frustrates me. So I responded to the team (in the most composed way possible 🙂 ) explaining that trying to be green and sustainable has many other factors to consider than only watts per m2. In an interesting twist the Singapore Standards (SS) that we follow in this project for attaining Green Mark certification refer to another SS code of practice for lighting of workplaces, which clearly states that it is important not to compromise the visual aspects of a lighting installation by simply reducing the energy consumption!

Somehow no-one ever cross references the operational and safety guidelines of lighting with the lighting power budget recommendations. And then we have not even start talking about the client’s budget as some in some cases where we did make the cross reference and tried to meet both the power budget recommendations as well as the operational lighting standards, it was only achievable with top quality optical systems, which most of the time are outside the clients financial budget.

Light Watch 3-101: Some more pictures and colourful compositions from the Singapore Garden Festival where I enjoyed taking some snaps

10. July 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: going green, Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and the economy, lighting standards | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. Dear Martin,

    i am one of the Green Mark consultant you talking about and i am agree with you, therefore, would appreciate if you could tell me where to refer to the operational and safety guidelines of lighting? so that we will not take the lighting power budget for granted 🙂 or is it SS554 you were referring to?

    Speaking of lighting power budget of GM, i also having a problem in the lighting power budget in one of my hotel project.

    The ID design specify all LED and LED stripe in hotel room, but ironically still burst the lighting power budget, haha..and no way of reducing them because if still reduce it, how they going to lighting up the room.

    When this lighting budget burst, we will check on the burst area Lux level, if do not exceed the Lux required, then we have to let go that area and look for other area of improvement, this is our way of deal with the burst lighting..

  2. Dear Chin Hong
    Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. The operational guidelines vary from operator to operator. Each hotel for instance has their own guide. The thing is that if you strive to a certain wattage per square meter for instance you have to balance that with quite a number of other things, like minimum lighting levels, comfort, safety, mood and ambience in short the lighting performance that is needed or required for that space. I always tell the green consultants that I can do zero watt/m2 but as you can guess I would have zero light. Just to put things in perspective. That is where your lighting designer comes in and make sense of the Green Mark directions and whether they are achievable or not. From my knowledge you can balance the power budgets over a whole floor so even if you can not make it in some areas you can compensate in other less important areas. That is where you experienced lighting designer comes in. You may contact me at for more information and assistance
    Thanks Martin

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

Get Adobe Flash player