An Overview for Creating Lighting Layouts|
Article - March 15, 2016 By LarsonElectronics.com
An Overview for Creating Lighting Layouts
Lighting layout software is a robust tool that can be used to analyze the performance of fixtures in a lighting system. It is capable of handling a variety of spaces, including residential kitchens, as well as stadiums and other large facilities. Furthermore, different types of lighting products may be plotted in a layout to achieve cutting-edge performance.
Read on to understand the various elements found in lighting layouts and learn how such drafting processes are relevant to efficacious lighting.
Benefits and Factors to Consider
Creating a lighting layout could help businesses visualize the application of luminaries around the target location. There is a mound of information that one can get out of a lighting layout, such as the following:
• View minimum/maximum lux or footcandles
• View average lux or footcandles
• Calculate light loss
• See light interaction with objects and obstructions in the location
• Pinpoint dark spots in the target area
• See data related to the type of fixtures to be installed in the location
• View the dimensions of the room or space
• Calculate room reflectance
• View light-blocking obstacles
With these variables in mind, below are the fundamental steps to creating a lighting layout using software.
Step 1: Complete Lighting Layout Questionnaire
Before diving into drafting, one must first get a complete overview of the objectives, elements and requirements of the space. This can be done by asking a series of questions that can help you gather the information you need for your lighting layout. Most lighting manufacturers request their clients to fill out a specification template prior to starting on the layout.
These specifications could include any of the following variables:
• Type of building
• Width, length and ceiling height
• Color of walls, ceilings, floors and objects
• Current fixtures in the space (type, mounting height, number, voltage and etc.)
• Fixture grid pattern
• Desired footcandle and brightness
It is important to also check the type of activities being conducted in the target location. This may determine the level of illumination required in the space, which can be verified using official lighting regulations established by an authoritative agency, such as the Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).
Step 2: Start Sketching the Layout of the Space
The initial sketch is a simple replica of the target location. Some individuals draft the initial sketch manually on a large piece of graphing paper and go over it with the client before plotting the confirmed sketch in the computer. Others start plotting the layout into the software and double check their sketch with the client. Both processes can be used to arrive at your lighting layout goal. Choosing to either sketch on a draft paper or directly into the software is a matter of personal preference; or the option may be determined by the lighting layout process already in place by the manufacturer or specialist.
The initial sketch of the room should include all of the elements in the live environment. This includes furniture, walls, desks, computers, benches, lighting poles, surfaces and etc. Such components are represented with geometrical shapes. For example, in AGi32 it is possible to use a cylindrical object to represent a customer service kiosk in a store. To streamline this process, some lighting layout software offer object libraries that allow people to choose from a menu of preset objects to insert in the sketch.
It is crucial to be as detailed as possible during this step. In addition to using a geometrical representation of objects in the space, you could specify the type of surfaces and other properties of the components in the room that could affect lighting performance. One should also take the placement of ceiling joists into consideration, in order to avoid hitting such foundational components during installation.
Step 3: Plot the Lighting System (Zones and Fixtures)
Using the questionnaire as a guide, it is now time to add lights into the layout. When adding luminaries in the layout, one should take the following factors into consideration:
• Distance between lights and nearby objects
• Types of luminaries
• Lighting technique to implement (for example, lighting up a wall for indirect lighting)
• Ceiling height
• Placement of switches
• Dimming capabilities and features (if any)
• Light colors and color temperature ratings
• Changes in dimensions (for example, sloped ceilings)
• Wet or hazardous locations with specific lighting requirements
Setting a focal point is great place to start. For instance, when drafting a lighting layout for a conference room, a focal point could be the main table where meetings are conducted. If this is the option you’re going with, you could plot lights over the focal point and insert the rest of the fixtures around it (with proper spacing). If the room does not have a focal point, you could plot the first luminary at the center of the room and add more lights (using the first luminary as a reference) accordingly. In order to get the most out of this step, it is vital to apply best practices in lighting application, spacing and illumination.
Step 4: Check for Inconsistencies
Before revealing the layout to the client for finalization, one must first check for any inconsistences in the design. For example, the creation of shadows in lights that are close to the wall may become a problem, especially if the room requires uniform lighting conditions. Light reflection should also be taken into consideration, with focus on shiny surfaces and reflective colors. If the room is extremely large, you could divide the space into different sections to ensure each area is thoroughly accounted for.