Why hire a professional?
Utilising the skills and knowledge of a lighting professional gives you access to both up front savings in luminaire costs and on going savings through energy efficient, effective lighting solutions in your home.
More importantly, the changes to home lighting maximum energy usage in the NCC BCA J6 section (deveopled by the ABCB) in May 2011 (for Victoria) mean that all residences where a Building Permit has been issued must comply with the 5W/M2 requirement. The BCA is applicable across Australia.
The danger for all home owners is that they may end up with a lighting solution that meets the energy targets - but fails miserably on actual light.
There are no Australian Standards for residential lighting levels, however we can extrapolate from the Interior Commercial standards to determine what levels may be acceptable. Lighting in a home really comes down to personal preference, however starting with some guidelines can be an excellent way to clarify your expectations.
Kitchen & Food preparation areas = 240Lux
Offices/Work Areas & Reading = 320Lux (this is specific to the work area, not required for the entire room)
Public Toilet = 80Lux
Spaces for the serving and consumption of food or drinks = 80Lux
Movement & Orientation = 40Lux
So you can see from that excerpt, that not only do you need to achieve 5W/M2, you also need to ensure you have enough usable light in your home for the daily tasks of living.
Energy efficiency does not mean we have to sacrifice liveability in our homes, especially when it comes to light. It simply means we need to be smarter in our selection process, and in the types and styles of lighting we use.
There are various calculation methods for determining if your home complies with the BCA J6 requirement - Lamp Power Density (when no control system is in use) and Illumination Power Density (for calculations making use of the adjustment factors, which give you more Watts per meter, through the use of lighting control). Part of the home lighting design process is to complete these calculations on your behalf, proving to inspectors that your lighting solution complies.
Lighting is both an Art and a Science. As such, there are no hard and fast rules, and nor is there likely to be only 1 solution for any given problem. The guidance of a professional lighting designer will enable you to better outline your expectations, providing inspiration, recommended solutions and specification detail for your project, ensuring you end up with the home you desire.
There are many influencing factors on lighting outcomes. Surface colours, floor finishes, furniture and ceilings all impact on how much light you have in your room. This is separate from the output of the luminaire you select - A luminaire that produces 700lumens (for arguments sake) will create a far brighter end result in a room with light coloured walls, ceilings, furniture and finishes than in a room with dark feature walls, dark floors and dark upholstery.
Being able to determine how much light you will need in your own home to work with the interior decoration style you've chosen, is the key to good lighting design.
At Mint Lighting Design, we play with light every day. We look at luminaires from all the suppliers, and compare how they perform, always working to have the best current knowledge of the ideal home lighting available in the market. As a result of this exploration of light (and many years experience) you can be sure when you engage Mint Lighting Design on your next project that we will work with you to clarify your expectations and ensure you get the sophisticated lighting solution your new home or renovation deserves.