Luminaires & Distribution
Last Update: October 30, 2010
Adjust text size: Decrease text size.Restore text size.Increase text size.

Importance of Luminaires

Imagine a world without luminaires: Bare lamps, sockets and ballasts would be visible to users, with light typically emitted in all directions. Highly efficient, yes. But glaring, ugly and dull.

Luminaires provide designers with an essential tool for controlling light. With luminaires, designers can control the intensity of the light emission, where it goes and in what overall pattern, from highly precise pin spots covering details and artwork to wide flood distributions covering large areas. Luminaires also enable various aesthetic statements through selection of equipment that is architecturally integrated, neutral or decorative, all of which communicate information about the space and its owner to users and visitors. The result is a rich diversity of luminous effects and conditions that can be achieved.

These effects directly impact user task performance and also user perception. Putting the aesthetics of the luminaire aside, different distributions, for example, can render faces as younger, older, tense, pleasant and so on, and spaces as private, public, enclosed, spacious and so on. By enabling designers to control light, luminaires further provide the means to control how people perceive the spaces they live, work, learn and play in.

This section describes luminaire light distribution and its relationship to efficiency, glare control, visual comfort, facial and object modeling, task and space surfaces, and exterior light trespass and skyglow. It also discusses luminaire aesthetics, architectural integration and what makes an advanced luminaire.

Light Distribution
Effective lighting design means putting light where it is wanted and needed, and eliminating light where it is unwanted or not needed. Many lighting quality issues, such as task visibility, direct and reflected glare, light pollution, and light trespass relate to where light is directed and where it is minimized.
More »

Luminaire Efficiency, Efficacy, and Effectiveness
Controlling the distribution of light often reduces luminaire efficiency. Lenses, louvers, reflectors and baffles all extract some efficiency from a lamp and ballast system when compared to a bare lamp.
More »

Lighting Quality Issues
Beyond luminaire metrics of efficiency and efficacy, there are lighting quality issues of equal importance. These issues vary according to the type of project, the interests of the owners and managers, the needs of the users, etc.
More »

Definition of Advanced Luminaires
Advanced luminaires may have one or more features that distinguish them from conventional luminaires.
More »