Lighting: How codes and guidelines affect lighting design
Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Good lighting enhances building design, conserves energy and increases productivity, safety, security, personal comfort, sales, attendance and profit. According to several government sources, up to 40% of the total energy used in commercial buildings is used for artificial lighting.

In lighting, one size/type does not fit all. LEDs in particular have gained prominence in lighting design for their energy efficiency, holistic lighting options and operational savings. LED retrofits can save 40% or more energy when compared with traditional light sources such as incandescent, halogen and high-intensity discharge.

Before starting any lighting design specifications, several resources must be considered, such as:

Engineers also should seek third-party objective sources for information on and comparison of directionality, efficacy and other properties. Check groups like the Department of Energy’s CALiPER program, Energy Star and LED Lighting Facts for independent testing, and investigate commissioning authorities’ experience on performance.

Learning objectives:

  • Learn which codes and standards dictate lighting design.
  • Understand when and where LEDs should be specified in both new and existing nonresidential buildings. Understand when LED luminaire retrofit kits can be specified for existing buildings.
  • Know what types of testing and/or commissioning are required to ensure lighting meets all codes and standards.
  • Gather techniques and tips on meeting codes through lighting designers’ examples.