What Type Of Light Bulbs And Fixtures Are Best For Office Environments?

What Type Of Light Bulbs And Fixtures Are Best For Office Environments?

When it comes to promoting productivity and morale, every detail about the office environment is important. Although you may not consider factors such as the color of the walls or the type of lighting that illuminates your workspace, such factors can make dramatic differences to those who work in the office each day. After all, humans are visual, and nearly every occupation requires affixing one’s attention to a particular object, be it a computer screen, a piece of paper, or anything else for hours at a time. This kind of attention can be mentally draining and physically tiring, particularly if workers are forced to strain their eyes throughout the day due to improper lighting.

The Effects of Bad Lighting

As an employer, your top priority to help your employees be at their best. Looking after your workers’ needs is, of course, your legal obligation. In addition, creating an environment in which your workers feel comfortable and happy encourages them to care more about their work and to do better work. Sometimes, little changes can be the impetus for promoting pride in one’s work and driving a worker to be more detail-oriented and motivated each day.

Because lighting is part of the background environment, a worker might not recognize that eyestrain or lack of focus is related to poor lighting. Thus, he or she may shrug off those feelings as simply a bad day or some other more obvious factor in the work environment. Because of this, your employees may not report these feelings to you or complain about lighting. Yet every day, your employees will have to expend extra effort just to reach baseline productivity. This extra effort may not only reduce efficiency and encourage workers’ attention to wander, it can also harm morale, causing problems that will stretch into the future and affect your bottom line. Morale encompasses everything from productivity to retention, meaning that even a seemingly minor concern such as lighting can have major consequences to your business.

Best Lights for Office Environments

So which are the best lights for office environments? One key factor in this determination is consistency of light production. Any lighting option that creates darker and brighter spots in places can lead to a dungeon-like feeling and is highly undesirable. In addition, excessively harsh or bright lighting can cause headaches. Because they are not designed to shine light to guide work for hours on end, regular light bulbs are typically not an ideal option.

One good option is a spiral fluorescent lighting setup. This setup allows you to have lighting at various wattage with long-lasting service requiring minimal maintenance. Light is consistent and cost-effective, which is highly beneficial for office environments. These lights do not encounter the same problems with reliability that traditional filament-based bulbs do, so you can enjoy long-lasting, dependable lighting.

Another reliable and favorable option for lighting your office environment is LED lighting. These offer another highly cost-effective option and can last up to 10 years. Installing LED lighting is simple and quick, and they can be used in place of flood lighting, which may only last as little as three months. Thus, replacing floodlights with LED lights can be a significantly better investment, and LED lights can offer much better and more pleasant lighting for your employees, helping improve productivity and employee morale.

What Are The Most Efficient Office Lights?

What Are The Most Efficient Office Lights?

Lighting for your office can be a significant, ongoing expense. According to the Energy Trust of Oregon, lighting accounts for about 35 percent of electricity use in a typical commercial building in the United States. Choosing the most efficient office lights can result in significant savings.

General Considerations

The most basic measure of lighting efficiency is the number of lumens a fixture generates per watt of energy consumed. This can vary from as low as 43 watts per lumen for a compact fluorescent lamp to as much as 104 watts per lumen for a T5HO fluorescent lamp with electronic ballasts.

Since it generates less heat, more efficient lighting can also reduce energy use for cooling your office.

Another factor to consider is a light source’s color rendering index, or CRI. Most interior lighting systems meet the minimum standard of 80 (out of 100) on this index, so it is probably not a significant issue. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have a lighting professional bring a fixture to your workplace for a test drive.

One can also assign a correlated color temperature (CCT) to a light source. Measured in degrees Kelvin (K), the CCT indicates the color present in light. A candle has a low score of around 1,500, indicating “warm” light that contains some red. Pure white light has a CCT of about 3,500, while daylight casts some blue light and has a CCT in the area of 6,500.

Several lamp types have CCTs in the range from 2,700 to 5,000. Compare this to a CCT of around 2,600 for a standard incandescent lamp. Again, when deciding on your office lighting, ask a lighting professional to test various light sources at your office to see what looks best.

Determining the Most Efficient Office Lights for Your Workplace

Let’s look at some specific types of lighting and summarize their attributes, starting with the most energy-efficient lights and working our way down. Remember that these are general guidelines, and other considerations, such as installation cost, may be just as important as energy efficiency. This review won’t discuss the CRI or color temperature, as all the choices are satisfactory in this regard.

A T5HO fluorescent fixture with electronic ballasts generates about 92 to 104 lumens per watt. This lamp should last from 30,000 to 40,000 hours. It is mostly used in larger installations and so may not be appropriate for your office.

A T8 high-performance fluorescent with electronic ballasts puts out from 86 to 96 lumens per watt and should last 24,000 to 42,000 hours. This lamp is a good choice for general lighting in spaces with lower ceilings, such as offices and retail spaces.

A T5 with electronic ballasts issues from 83 to 93 lumens per watt and has a life of 30,000 to 40,000 hours. This is another good choice for offices.

New LED lights generate from 60 to 90 lumens per watt and last up to 50,000 hours. These are another good choice for general office lighting. They don’t emit heat, they come up to full light immediately, and they can be dimmed. However, LED replacement lamps are not as efficient, putting out only 45 to 65 lumens per watt.

Hard-wired compact fluorescent lamps issue 43 to 71 lumens per watt but only last from 6,000 to 12,000 hours. These lamps can replace incandescent lamps in existing fixtures.