LED Lighting | Daylighting Sky Lights | Light Controls | Solar Tubes

As a primary building system, lighting has a critical role to play in sustainable buildings. At first glance, “sustainable lighting” appears to be a fancy way of saying energy-efficient lighting. However, it encompasses the satisfaction of the lighting system’s design intent for the lowest life-cycle environmental impact. And, it has become associated with quality lighting practices that do not directly save energy but are related to worker or inhabitant satisfaction, such as providing access to daylight and views.

Lighting relates directly to 23 points in the Green Building Design & Construction rating system, most of them tied to energy savings that compare to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2007.

Indoor Lighting

Indoor lighting system improvements can be roughly sorted into two categories: optimizing energy efficiency or turning off lights.

To optimize efficiency, indoor light fixtures should be energy-efficient. The baseline rating is an ENERGY STAR rating of 69. To add to efficiency while controlling glare and light pollution, LEED also offers credit for lights with a luminance (a measure of light intensity) of less than 2,500 candelas per square meter.

Energy efficiency can also be targeted by lower levels of lighting; all lighting in shared spaces must have a mid-level or dimming option.

Recessed LED lighting will make any room look larger and more open

One reason for this is because recessed lights are concealed in the ceiling, they do not interrupt the visual space of the ceiling. Not having a fixture hanging down from the ceiling will create the feeling of a taller ceiling and larger room.

Another way recessed lighting makes a room look bigger is through wall washing. This effect involves reflecting light on the wall to wash the wall in overlapping ambient light creating a feeling of more space.

Turning off the lights can be controlled easily by motion activation and part of automation system, and results in money savings.

Outdoor Lighting

According to the International Dark-Sky Association, at least 10 percent of all outdoor lighting, even fully-shielded lighting, creates light pollution. LEED incorporates some credits based on this issue into their certification, with the goal to reduce light trespass between properties, improve nighttime visibility, and reduce the impact on nocturnal ecology.