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Sustainable lighting designs for modern interiors

Sustainable lighting is an intrinsic element of design for interior designers, architects, contractors and property owners.

The benefits of sustainable lighting designs in modern interiors to the environment, wellbeing and finances have influenced a shift towards lighting schemes that consume less energy and cause less light pollution.

How to design energy efficient lighting schemes

Use LEDs

Energy efficient lighting schemes begin with the humble light bulb. LEDs have replaced traditional or incandescent light bulbs because they consume around 85% less energy and produce less heat. They also last a lot longer, with an average lifespan of 50,000 hours in standard lamps and 100,000 hours in dimmable lamps.

Maximise natural daylight

Integrating natural daylight into a lighting design scheme reduces the need for artificial light and therefore reduces energy consumption. Natural daylight also enhances wellbeing and improves mood.  

Layer your lighting scheme

The layering of light also facilitates energy efficient lighting design.

Combining ambient, accent and task lighting makes it possible for lighting to be used only as and when it is required, while still creating good quality light and the required ambiance. As an example, ceiling downlights can be installed in the same room as wall lights and table lamps, with each to be utilised depending on the time of day or what the room is being used for.

Lighting by Plum, who are sustainable partners of Detail Lighting, suggest to personalise the dimming levels to ensure there is no generic scene which can dilute the lighting scheme. This helps to create lighting layers which adds depth and ambience within an interior.

Layer your lighting scheme

Lighting colour temperature

Typically, artificial light ranges from 2700K to 6500K. The higher the K rating, the bluer the colour of the light. Lighting colour temperature affects our sleep, mood and productivity with warm lighting creating a relaxing environment while cool lighting makes us attentive and focused.

Using lighting colour temperature above warm whites can cause light pollution which is harmful to wildlife so it is advisable to use a colour temperature below 3200K wherever possible.

Colour rendering

Colour rendering refers to how lighting can change the colour of objects it is illuminating. The Colour Rendering Index is measured from 0 to 100. The higher the colour rendering index score of a light source, the higher the quality of the colour rendering or colour accuracy of the object.

Accurate colour rendering reduces light pollution and creates a less artificial environment.

Sustainable materials

Using sustainable materials for lighting fixtures rather than traditional materials is another factor for consideration in energy efficient lighting schemes. Also, another sustainable consideration is to re-use lighting fixtures rather than simply replacing them.

Our ‘Repair, why Replace?’ policy focuses on repair key components rather than buying new ones, avoiding embodied carbon during the manufacturing process and integrates responsible recycling at the end of a product’s useful lifecycle.

Maximising smart lighting controls

The use of smart technology to control lighting is now a key element of sustainable lighting design. Using sensors that only come on when someone is present, dimmers to reduce output when only lower light levels are needed, apps that give users control over their lighting even when they are not in the property and timers are all energy efficient smart lighting controls for modern interiors.

Maximising smart lighting controls

Sustainable lighting schemes for ceilings

LED ceiling lights should be positioned to follow the furniture layout to provide energy efficient task lighting.

Lighting by Plum suggests to use the design of the ceiling to help split up areas and add in reflected light to avoid any excessive use of direct light.

Ceiling lights also provide ambient lighting when a blanket of light is required. Using dimming technology will ensure energy efficiency is maintained.

Beam angles from ceiling lights can be used to illuminate features on walls. For a standard ceiling height of 2.4m to 2.7m, a wide beam angle of at least 60 degrees is recommended. Higher ceilings benefit from a narrower beam and more lights to fill the space.

Sustainable lighting schemes for walls

For wall lighting, LED downlights, wall washers, linear lighting and picture lights are all options for sustainable lighting schemes. Wall washers give an even distribution of light while linear lighting creates the same effect but with a more contemporary twist.

Sustainable lighting schemes for floors

Low output floor lights can be used as a more sustainable option for orientation than overhead lighting, particularly when operated by sensors. Floor lighting is also used to highlight features of a room without glare or interference with other light sources.

Choose Detail Lighting for your sustainable lighting design

Detail Lighting are specialists in sustainable lighting design. Get in touch to find out how we can help with your project.