John Bullock Lighting Design
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Who's finger on the switch?

02-06-2011

I've already written about the suggestion that Part L requirements should introduce the concept of TIMe into energy planning, shifting the design metric from lm/W to kWh/m2. I'd just like to add afew words about how such a thing would need to be organised.

The obvious way to control energy uage in lighting is to carry on with the message that has been drummed into us for the past 20-odd years: SWITCH IT OFF! If you're the last one to leave a room, do the decent thing and flick the switch. It works for me at home and in my home office, but there's an obvious limitation when it comes to large commercial floor plans.

We've tried dangling pull-chord switches above desks - that didn't work, and we've tried presence detectors that worked a bit better, but leave lots of things unresolved (such as ... just how safe is it to sweep office spaces with microwaves throughout the working day/month/year). And automatic systems might work in shopping malls, but in offices??

Here's a thought for offices; why not reduce the overall levels of ambient illumination by, say, 30% and then we won't worry so much about the micro-control - you've just saved nearly a third of your energy, after all! But then you top up lighting levels with local task lighting around nests of desks (re-design the desk ergonomics if you have to - I'm just a lighting designer), then we're putting real control for a good proportion of the working illumination into the hands of those who use it.

Yes - it'll cost more to buy the lighting hardware, but that's just money. It only costs you REAL money when you switch them on.

 

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