Lighting Design

Lighting is emotional. The best way to start a fight between two people sharing an office is to ask them “how’s the lighting in here?”.

Amazing as it seems, electric lighting was invented less than 150 years ago. Thomas Alva Edison’s famous quotation after inventing the incandescent lamp was “After the electric light goes into general use,” said he, “none but the extravagant will burn tallow candles.” The incandescent lamp makes light at an efficiency of about 10 lumens per watt. for more information about lighting basics, please see Lighting Basics

After about  138 years, the efficiency of modern lighting equipment is exceeding 150 lumens per watt. Along with the amazing improvement of efficiency, the lighting characteristics, color, and color rendering, have vastly improved. Incandescent lamps provide a warm color (think yellow) of about 2800 Kelvin, and this worked very well back when the competition was candles, which make a warm color too. However, a warm color light source, it turns out, does not make cooler colors (think blue) see-able. If you are looking at socks under an incandescent light source, you cannot tell the difference between a blue sock and a black sock. fluorescent light sources do a better job of this, but not much better, as a “cool white” fluorescent lamp should be called a “cruel white” lamp for what it does to the color of our faces, making a “white” person more “gray or blue gray”. Cool color lighting in a grocery store meat case does not show the juicy warm red color of the meat.

You can see, that providing a lighting design that not only is energy efficient but also is appropriate for what the light is supposed to be showing is of utmost importance. When you come to Balance Engineering, you can be assured that not only will the lighting be bright enough and of high efficiency, but the character of the lighting, color and color rendering of the source, will also be appropriate.

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