Lighting in offices and workplaces

luminaria oficina

In the past, fluorescent tubes were used to illuminate workplaces, resulting sometimes in cold atmospheres, and inefficient lighting. Today, we must take into account multiples factors, including the quality of light, luminous efficiency (how well a light source produces visible light), the design of the lights , and  energy efficiency.

If lighting at the office is not adequate, the workers may get tired quicker, with more visual fatigue, which may affect their performance. To optimize work efficiency, we will therefore have to choose the right lighting. Not only does the lighting system must guarantee visual comfort, it must also contribute to create a pleasant lighting atmosphere in the office. To boost productivity of employees, a high level of illumination is required at the office. This is essential, since a physical and psychological well-being result in higher productivity.

For efficient lighting, we must take into account the activity undertaken.  Lighting levels should match the workplace and the work tasks being performed. The different areas which will be illuminated, the number of jobs, will also influence the lighting system and the quality of natural light, as well as the energy consumption induced. The laws and specific rules for office lighting should also be taken into account.

Visual comfort is influenced by many aspects of lighting . Proper lighting makes all work tasks easier. People receive about 85 percent of their information through their sense of sight. Appropriate lighting, without glare or shadows, can reduce eye fatigue and headaches at the office. Direct glare from the lights makes it difficult to work with computer, and over time can cause eye irritation to the employee . The ambient lighting usec should be low or glare free. Indirect or direct/indirect light fixtures provide the best lighting solutions for many offices. This kind of light fixture hangs from the ceiling and gives more even illumination. The office should be arranged to minimize glare from overhead lights, desk lamps, and windows. Excessive contrasts cause also variations in the adaptation of the eye , which slows down the work and result in errors .

Generally speaking , the minimum levels of lighting in the workplace are defined by regulations.  These levels are measured with a light meter and expressed in lux , and this lighting unit is produced by a lumen ( amount of light emitted by a light source ) on a square meter of surface. The CIBSE Code for Lighting recommends a maintained luminance of 500 lux for general offices (e.g. writing, typing, reading, data processing, etc.) and for CAD work stations and conference/meetings rooms. Where the main task is less demanding, e.g. filing, a lower level of 300 lux is recommended. 

Although it is recommended to have natural light in offices, there is no minimum requirement. But no natural light throughout the day ensures uniform lighting , and therefore it is recommended for to combine direct and indirect lighting in offices. To achieve this double exposure to direct and indirect light, we should use different light fixtures. For example, direct light from the ceiling ( neon tubes or LED lighting integrated in the roof ) can be completed with indirect lighting (desk lamps , wall … ) .

Airfal, the lighting manufacturer, features different lights  that are perfectly suited for office lighting in its catalogue :

DECO luminaire

An innovative and economical option for lighting offices , malls, etc. . With a body of pre-painted steel sheet that includes a polished aluminum reflector

SUPERDELTA luminaire

An industrial luminaire with a decorative touch. Possibility of making continuous lines with the accessories, rails, etc. existing for the Delta model. Its main applications are in schools and shopping centres –

METALLIC luminaire

With pre-lacquered steel plate body and gloss aluminium reflector or optionally pre-lacquered steel plate reflector included, it is distinguished by its aluminium slat, making it the perfect luminaire for schools and offices