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Lighting Indoors and Out for Safety, Efficiency, Comfort, and Security

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Yesterday, we provided tips for improving workplace lighting to boost safety and productivity. Today, we offer some tips from Facebook on indoor lighting as well as advice from DOE on outdoor lighting.

Facebook, which is always a consistent innovator in technology and media, is now leading the way in energy efficiency, says BLR Legal Editor and Green Team member Amanda Czepiel, J.D. According to Naveen Lakshmipathy, a 2011 EDF Climate Corps fellow at Facebook, the company’s new 1 million square foot office campus can teach other companies three lessons in energy efficiency.

1. Plan ahead. The best way to integrate lighting energy efficiency without losing good design is to involve many people in the design process, from architects to engineers to energy efficiency experts, to ensure that all factors are considered from the start of the design process. For example, walls can be painted in appropriate shades to reflect light where it is best to do so.

2. Know how you want your lighting system to behave. If you want to use lighting controls such as occupancy and daylight sensors to vary light levels and optimize energy efficiency, you must plan ahead of time how you want your system to behave and test its functions.

3. Remember productivity and occupant comfort. There is a direct relationship between workplace comfort and increased productivity, so effectively using daylight to reduce the use of artificial lighting and eliminating overlighted or underlighted areas should be a priority.

Outdoor Lighting

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, effective lighting for safety and security should consider:

Horizontal illuminance. This is the standard for assessing effective lighting primarily because many tasks are horizontal and the measurements are easy to make. However, this is less critical for security than other metrics such as vertical illuminance and uniformity.

Vertical illuminance. This is critical because one of the main security issues is identifying persons and vehicles and their movement that is best done by viewing their vertical surfaces.

Uniformity and shadows. This is important primarily to avoid dark areas where people or objects may be hidden. Uniformity has also been found to be useful in enhancing video camera effectiveness.

Glare. Lighting aimed in the wrong direction can cause glare that can adversely affect the ability of occupants and security personnel to identify people and/or objects.

Furthermore, research shows that simply increasing light levels or maintaining high lighting levels does not necessarily promote or maintain enhanced safety or security. It is primarily factors associated with the placement and quality of exterior lighting that enhances facility and employee safety and security outside your workplace.