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Just the Right Light

Have you ever used a hammer to tap something into place? You use just the right amount of force to get the job done. Many people overlook this principle when installing lighting. While an underlit area is certainly undesirable, overdoing it is also undesirable.

The typical commercial office space is lit by overhead fluorescent fixtures installed in a set pattern. But if you walk around the typical office setting, you will see lighting deficiencies. Not just too little light, but also too much. For example:

  • Shadows cast over some workstations, with incandescent task lights being used to compensate.
  • Monitors washed out in other workstations, as evidenced by the presence of glare filters.

These problems occur due to a conflict between office layout and lighting fixture layout. These layouts aren’t very flexible. Trying to line up cubicles to take the best advantage of overhead grid lighting or trying to adjust the grid to accommodate the cubicles is just about impossible.

Some possible solutions:

  • Deliberately underlight the room. This eliminates the washout problem, and users who need more light can use task lighting. This common approach is why many cubicle designs include built-in task lighting as opposed to portable lamps.
  • Install two lighting systems. This approach is common in conference venues. Install the main overhead lighting but supplement with additional overhead lighting that is on local control dimmers/switches.
  • Install fixtures that have adjustable shades/louvers. These are often well-worth the additional cost.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection