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Home Lighting Design For Aging Eyes. Part 1: the Basics
Home Home Decorations
By: Ralph Pressel Email Article
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This is about the basics of a unique, self-styled home lighting design guidance system to light home interiors for aging eyes. The aim is to tailor home lighting design practically, not only sensitive to its occupants, but also easily specified and readily recognized in retail settings and by lighting professionals. Separately, Part 2 addresses the math.

Custom home designers should be taking increasing interest in home lighting design and they're not. Mature [that's PC for older] clients [and those who aren't soon will be] eyes, as compared to eyes in youth and early-middle years, need more light and need light presented more selectively.

A standard section of a custom home plan should be an Electrical and Lighting Plan that involves all aspects of this article and its Part 2 partner. Otherwise, there appears to be little guidance that bridges research and hands-on application and buyers are leaving it all up to someone else.

Home lighting "design" often arises from: arbitrary allowance; (sub)minimum standards; personal want, not informed need; poor fundamentals of lighting design; limited forethought; contractor-styled installation; getting the certificate of occupancy; thoughtless grasping


Layer lighting: Two-plus layers ambient evenly distributed; not more than two layers task, evenly distributed in utility spaces, such as crafts; absolutely one layer task in strictly utility spaces such as laundry (excluding accent lighting); absolutely one layer task in potentially hazardous spaces such as stairs, workshop, etc. (excluding accent lighting).

Apply dimmer switches wherever possible (Lutron makes applying dimmer switches a whole lot easier than it used to be, including 4-way dimming involving every device in the gang), except in potentially hazardous spaces.

Apply incandescent illumination as a last resort.

Define illuminance on three levels (approximately, not obsessively, allowing to the high side) – 40, 70, 100 foot candles, or lumens/foot squared [or fc, lm/ft squared, respectively, equal and used synonymously throughout this article].

Sidebar: Aspects of home lighting design metrics settled without wiggle-room, to communicate with house lighting pros: Again, 1 fc = 1 lm/ft squared, where foot candle = fc or ftc and lumen = l or lm, which metrics measure illuminance, or the perceived intensity of light or light level. All light bulbs or lamps – incandescent or fluorescent – have illuminance ratings in lumens/Watt (LPW or lm/W or lpW), a measure of illuminance efficiency related to the Watts you pay for in bulb and electricity.

The author derates published lpW by a 0.8 multiplier, or 20% discount, for merchandising hype, resistance wear, and dirt accumulation.

Arrange illuminance so that in-between abutting spaces, the fc change shall be no greater than 30 fc and may grade in levels less than 30 fc in the interims.

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Before The Architect's Ralph and Jean Pressel design, draw, and consult on custom house plans. They have worked hands-on in designer house plans and house construction going-on four decades-plus both on their own and for others. They publish a periodically updated e-book Home Design Standards - Home Building Standards, currently approaching 600 pages, and a nearly 1000 page website of text and pictures .

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