This section brings together the various design principles and techniques to provide a practical approach to efficient and effective lighting for the home. Efficient and effective lighting design means using the most efficient sources with the required controls that will supply the lighting layout desired.
When considering a lighting layout, it is a good idea to focus first on people, then architecture, then art. None is excluded, but lighting a home is primarily for people – to enhance their comfort and communication, as well as to facilitate the daily tasks of eating and working.
In home lighting design, light layering uses four primary layers of light – ambient, task, accent and decorative – and there are some common techniques that supplement and enhance light layering, such as grazing, silhouette and wall washing.
Part of the design process involves controlling the fixtures in an intuitive and appropriate way. The best way to do this is to visualize the space as you carry out day-to-day tasks. What events take place when you park in the garage and come in with groceries? Where would you like the switches to be? Which light fixtures would you like them to control? When you have company over for dinner and want to create an intimate atmosphere, which fixtures would you like to be able to dim?
Various equipment for effective and efficient lighting system design
Ambient light is soft, diffuse light that fills a room, reduces shadows and creates a sense of openness and comfort.
Task lighting provides additional light to carry out a particular job.
Accent lighting requires an understanding of where items might be placed that deserve particular attention, such as paintings, photographs, flower arrangements, art pieces or architectural details.
Decorative fixtures are often meant to look attractive rather than provide much useful light. Wall sconces and chandeliers are the two most common decorative products.
Wall washing puts light where we see it best—straight ahead on the walls – and is a great method of creating soft ambient light.
Silhouette a special object in an alcove by shining light on the wall behind. This can create interest and provide drama.
Grazing is a method of highlighting wall texture by passing a narrow beam of light from top to bottom.
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Lighting system control equipment of any environment
Dimmers or switches should be used for each layer of light. Three-way switches allow control of lights from two locations, a useful approach in rooms with multiple entry points. Consider dimmers to extend the life of lamps and generate energy savings.
Motion detectors can detect the movement of heat sources such as our bodies. These provide convenience and energy savings and work well in locations such as garages, storage rooms and play rooms, as well as outside to discourage trespassing, vandalism and theft.
Photocells control a fixture so that it turns on with darkness and off with light. Motion detectors can be combined with photocells to provide best of security and energy savings.
Whole-house controls are available, but due to their complexity, a great deal of research is required to ensure the chosen system is easy to use, effective, expandable if required and functions as desired.
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