How to Determine Target Light Levels

Industrial lighting in a marble hallwayThere are many factors that influence light levels on different spaces. Target light levels depend on the function of the room: meaning the tasks that are being performed. Target light levels also depend on the ages of the people inside the rooms and the importance of speed and accuracy. When selecting your new lighting fixtures, you need to think about things like will the new fixture be efficient enough and what the lumen output of the lamp is.

How to Successfully Target Light Levels

To get a rough idea of target lighting levels, take a look at the chart on page 7 of this PDF from IES, but when considering commercial and industrial light levels light levels for specific industrial and commercial applications, there are a number of factors to consider including:

• Details of task
• Reflectance and contrast (task and background)
• The age and condition of the eye
• Importance of speed and accuracy

Each lighting application will have a unique set of details of tasks that are to be performed in the space. Likewise, the machinery or furnishings in the space will impact target light levels because they reflect light. Although light can be absorbed, it can also be reflected in different ratios, depending on the surface it touches. Other factors impact reflectance and contrast as well including the type of fixture, how dirty or clean the fixture is, available sunlight, the colors of the walls, floor, the ceiling and the total size of the space where the fixture is.

To increase the efficiency of the space and to provide the best possible light, it’s important not to under-light or over-light the space. When upgrading a lighting system, sometimes it’s easy to overdue a little bit. In the past, there were spaces that were designed for 200 foot-candles in places where 50 foot-candles were just enough. The reason for this common mistake was confusing the quality of light with the quantity of light. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America has listed three factors that dictate the proper level of light. These factors are:

• Age of the occupants
• Speed and accuracy requirements
• Background contrast.

Let’s say you’re lighting a school computer lab. The overhead light fixtures should provide up to 30 foot-candles of light. The additional task lights should provide more foot-candles to achieve a luminance of 50 foot-candles needed for reading and writing.

Each industrial and commercial lighting application has dozens if not hundreds of considerations to factor in to determine target light levels. Lumax Lighting has been designing and producing highly efficient, quality luminaires since 1976. We have the product and the team to help you with your next industrial and commercial lighting project. Click on ‘Sales Rep Locator’ to find a local Lumax Lights reseller.