Lighting Design: Strategies and Losses

The lighting design is an important element of the architecture, and when related to dining places, lighting can be considered as the most important design feature, drawing the attention and stimulating particular moods. Addressing the various innovations and strategies in lighting design in the last years, it can be stated that one of the approaches is in the issue of sustainability, where a balance between the energy consumed, the quantity of light and the type of light produced is an essential consideration in the design (Dorothy L. Fowles, 2008). The efficiency and the types of lighting, can be considered as recurring themes in many sources of literature, where generally speaking, in the 21st century lighting is a complementary part of a building that is efficient, affordable and comfortable (Department of Energy, 2003). Accordingly, as an essential part of the cost-saving features, the integration of the natural and the electric lighting is major part of a modern building design. Thus, common elements of lighting design can be seen through the maintenance of balance between the three elements, cost, type, and implementation which can be examined through the following review.

Regarding the efficiency approach, in Ozturk (2008), the article argues that the cost efficiency characteristics are not only related to the energy costs of the sources, but also to the light losses, which are not contributing to the visual needs of a place. In that regard, the article analyzed the characteristics of good lighting conditions, energy production, and the light distribution, in order to examine the light wastefulness. The main design factors outlined through examination were ”illuminance, correlated colour temperature and colour rendering, light direction and shadow effect, illuminance distribution, and glare restriction” (Ozturk, 2008). The findings of the article indicated that a created definition called “Good Vision Efficiency” (GVE) could be used to assess the losses when designing the lighting for a particular setting, with consideration to the factors outlined in the study.

The efficiency of lighting can be outlined in the form of strategies, where the Office of Building Technologies Program established design recommendations for designers and builders, related to the reduction of energy use. For fluorescent sources such recommendations include using fixtures for fluorescent lamps (CFL), using Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for recessed lights in ceiling with unconditioned space, light wall colors, and maximization of daylight use (Department of Energy, 2003). The use day light was specifically was outlined in Bachman (2004), where the author argued that the new technologies in lighting sources are approaching the efficiency of day lighting systems. In that regard, the author pointed to that the elements of successful design integration will include widely saturating and full spectrum daylight and “well-controlled and effectively distributed electrical illumination” (Bachman, 2004, p. 66). Accordingly, the author outlined that essential elements of a successful integration, which will reduce harm of such scenarios such as the daylight is too dim, while the artificial illumination is over-illuminating, are blending, dimming or task/ambient separation. Additionally, the author pointed to the fact that day lighting techniques are not limited to windows and their positions, where “Mirrored heliostats, sun tracking fiber optics,… and a host of similar inventions are being used…” (Bachman, 2004, p. 69).

The factor of the quality of light, as stated in Fowles (2008), is concerned with “having the right amount of light in the right place” (Dorothy L. Fowles, 2008). Analyzing the issue of sustainability of lighting design, the author examined several elements of design related to the issue of sustainability. Addressing the quality of light, the author indicated such techniques as adding a sparkle (i.e., small amounts of bright light) while reducing the general light level, providing “light-valued surfaces for ceilings, walls and floors”, using indirect, direct/indirect, or low intensity direct lighting to eliminate the discomfort in lighting contrast, and control of glare (Dorothy L. Fowles, 2008). The latter were also outlined in Ozturk (2003), where the study evaluated the effect of the differences in luminance/brightness of surfaces on interior perception. The findings indicated that the perception of the interior is affected by the luminance distribution of the inner surfaces, which implications indicate the necessity to control the luminance through the determination of the reflectances (Ozturk, 2003).

In Phillips (2009), the lighting design principles were outlined specifically as elements of stimulating restaurant environment. As a part of the review in the work, Philips combined the aforementioned element as daylight, ambient light, and sparkle, stating that the differentiation of the lighting sources should be accustomed to the specific areas in the restaurants, e.g. bright light in washing and receiving areas, while lower lights can be lowered in areas such as waiting areas, and between dining tables (Phillips, 2009).


It can be seen that most of the studies are too general in terms of the lighting strategies related to the restaurant setting, where such elements as perception and comfort are not measured in the context of customers’ responses. Additionally, it should be mentioned that cost-saving features in a restaurant should be perceived in another perspective, where efficiency can be reduced in favor of architectural design elements and atmosphere. Additionally, the differentiation of dining places, between café, fast food restaurants and hotel restaurants implies a differentiation between the functions, designs, and accordingly different considerations when implementing.

Conclusion and Recommendations

It can be concluded that the main subject in lighting design in the recent years is mainly directed toward increasing the efficiency, while reducing the costs. In that regard, it should be mentioned that lighting is perceived as a part of the overall design of the place. Accordingly, the considerations of the design are made to be intact with the general principles of the place, such as the architecture, the energy, and décor. Nevertheless, it can be seen that sustainability is a major trend in lighting, where the type of lighting is measured in terms of its cost saving characteristics and the way it can be implemented effectively in the right place. Thus, the main direction of research should be established through narrowing area of examination toward specific variables, which might requires designing specific tools of measurement.

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