Luminaires & Distribution
Last Update: October 30, 2010
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Interior Luminaires

There are thousands of variations of interior luminaires for virtually every application and performance need, but these luminaires can be simply categorized according to lamping (e.g., fluorescent), application (e.g., interior), function (e.g., accent), distribution (e.g., asymmetric), mounting (e.g., wall-mounted) or other method.

This section of the Advanced Lighting Guidelines describes ceiling recessed and semi-recessed, ceiling-mounted, suspended, track, wall-mounted and wall-recessed, task and furniture-mounted and portable interior lighting.

Ceiling recessed and semi-recessed luminaires, for example, are well suited to architectural spaces with low ceilings and where a clean, uncluttered ceiling appearance is desired. Ceiling-mounted luminaires are suitable for lower-ceiling spaces where the luminaires cannot be recessed. Suspended luminaires are suited to spaces with higher ceilings where a degree of uplight is desired and/or where recessing luminaires is not possible.

Track luminaires provide flexibility in moving luminaires, particularly for accent lighting needs. Wall-mounted and wall-recessed luminaires distribute light on walls and ceilings or can be used to make a decorative element luminous, such as a sconce. And task and furniture-mounted lighting provides flexibility for users while placing light efficiently at the task.

The right luminaire for a given application will depend on many factors, but always begins with who is using the space and how they are using it.

Interior – Ceiling Recessed & Semi-Recessed
Architectural spaces with low ceilings (9’-0” or lower), or spaces where a clean, uncluttered architectural appearance is needed are candidates for recessed luminaires.
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Interior - Ceiling-Mounted
Ceiling-mounted luminaires are a good solution for spaces where a recessed luminaire might compromise the fire rating of the corridor, compromise the insulation value of the building, or provide light in buildings with inaccessible ceilings (that contain asbestos, for example).
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Interior – Suspended
When room ceilings are high (usually 9’ or more), luminaires can be suspended to provide effective uplight that softens shadows, improves modeling of faces and objects, and reduces obscuring reflections on shiny reading materials (“veiling reflections”).
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Interior - Track-Mounted
Light track is a convenient, inexpensive, and flexible way to deliver power for lighting.  Track heads usually have integral transformers (for low-voltage halogen lamps), ballasts (for metal halide or fluorescent lamps) or power supply/drivers (for LEDs), allowing them to all operate on the same track.  However, not all sources are dimmable or compatible with each other in dimming, so check with the luminaire manufacturer if you want to dim track heads.
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Interior - Wall-Mounted & Wall-Recessed
Luminaires mounted to walls have the same considerations as pendant-mounted luminaires:  mounting distance from ceiling, light distribution, etc.  (). In addition, if a luminaire is mounted below 6’-8” above the floor, and if it is in the path of egress, it cannot project more than 4” from the wall (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
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Interior – Task Lighting & Furniture-Mounted
Task-ambient lighting systems are an effective way to reduce energy use while allowing employees to customize the lighting for their individual work areas. The ambient lighting system provides a low-to-medium level of uniform lighting throughout an office, for example, or an industrial facility.
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Interior – Portable
Portable luminaires are typically plug-load devices providing flexibility for easy addition, removal and movement of lighting equipment in an existing space after construction; some luminaires are battery-operated. Portable luminaires are also suitable for use in temporary installations such as an outdoor art display or event, or worksite lighting.
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