By Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP
Architectural success is impacted by choices in lighting, both for the interior and exteriors of spaces and buildings. Lighting affects how we perceive the building itself, as well as the people and objects within it. Lighting can be used to define zones within a space, change the mood, and influence how we feel as we work or shop within the space.
With today’s more sustainable and energy-efficient options for lighting, we can alter the look of a space while lowering the building’s energy cost.
By replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), we can apply warm or cool colors to spaces while considerably reducing energy usage and the amount of time between replacements.
For example, an LED has an average lifespan of 50,000 hours, compared to 8,000 hours for a CFL, and 1,200 hours for an incandescent bulb. A space that uses 30 incandescent bulbs would use about 3285 kilowatt-hours per year, compared to 329 KWh/yr for LED lights and 767 KWh/yr. for CFLs.
Considering some of the substantial savings that can be achieved, it’s not surprising that so many owners of commercial and office buildings are retrofitting their buildings to use more LED lights. Retailers and restaurant owners are discovering that LED lighting can be extremely versatile in showcasing merchandise or creating the right ambience.
In contrast, LED bulbs are exponentially more expensive, so the upfront, out-of-pocket expense is greater. For example, a 60W incandescent bulb costs approx. $0.50, a comparable CFL may cost $1.25 and an LED bulb could cost $20.
We have used LED bulbs successfully in a multitude of projects. We have incorporated them into retail displays in storefronts. They are used throughout food-display cases in the Whole Foods Markets we design.
On a lobby renovation project, we utilized LED bulbs in a unique fashion. LED bulbs were installed at the top of a long acrylic tube, allowing the light to illuminate through the tube, into the space, while not overheating the material or the wood dowels around it.
If you want some specific ideas on how lighting can enhance the look and efficiency of your office or retail space, give us a call at 941-894-6888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.