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6.2: How Much Lighting is Needed

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    How much light is needed in a room depends on the task(s) being performed (contrast, requirements, space, size, etc.). There are three different types of task-oriented lighting: Ambient, Task, and Accent. The light requirement also depends on the ages of the occupants and the importance of speed and accuracy of the task.

    • Ambient lighting is general purpose lighting—an example is the lighting used in hallways for safety and security. An illumination of 30–50 fc is generally the maximum that one needs for this purpose.
    • Task lighting is lighting that is designed for specific tasks. Reading and writing are the most light-intensive tasks and require about 50 fc at home. Tasks like cooking, sewing, or repairing a wrist watch require more -- about 200–300 fc. However, the area with this level of illumination will be small. Increasing the light everywhere is not required and is a waste of energy.
    • Accent lighting is the lighting that is provided to highlight certain objects or areas, for example, the use of flood lights to highlight a painting or a statue. Accent lighting also illuminates walls so they blend more closely with naturally bright areas like ceilings and windows. Accent lighting can be high intensity or subtle.

    The video below explains more about the three types of lighting.

    Color Rendering Index

    Lamps are assigned a color temperature (according to the Kelvin temperature scale) based on their "coolness" or "warmness." The human eye perceives colors as cool if they are at the blue-green end of the color spectrum, and warm if they are at the red end of the spectrum.

    The video below shows examples of the light sources that temperatures represent.

    The ability to see colors properly is another aspect of lighting quality. Objects' colors appear to be different under different types of light. The color rendering index (CRI) scale is used to compare the effect of a light source on the color appearance of its surroundings. A scale of 0 to 100 defines the CRI. A higher CRI means better color rendering, or less color shift.

    This page titled 6.2: How Much Lighting is Needed is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sarma V. Pisupati (John A. Dutton: e-Education Institute) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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