Don’t forget the importance of a good lighting plan — it’ll save you money and enhance your home.
Household lighting accounts for seven per cent of electricity usage in Australia, according to government research. By considering your home’s lighting before you renovate, particularly by consulting with a lighting design professional, you can achieve a warm and inviting home that will leave you and your family with more money. This is certainly something worth considering when you take a look at the projected cost rise in electricity over the next couple of years.
When it comes to your home’s atmosphere, though, it’s not all about efficiency and output. We spoke to a number of lighting professionals who offered their opinions on how to get the best result in your home.
Timothy Hill, lighting designer with Small Australian Projects, says, “A key part of making lighting comfortable is to manage glare. Wall lights that reflect light back on their wall surface can use the wall itself as a reflector, giving a gentle comprehensive glow.”
He continues, “It is rewarding to make lighting very simple, to adjust with key lamps sometimes on or off to change atmosphere rather than complex switching programs or dimmers. It is always a pleasure to be able to adjust the atmosphere of your own environment.”
JSB Lighting’s Ian Cerfontyne agrees: “Interesting lighting really comes from the contrast between light and dark and often the ability to change a space can have a huge impact on the feel of a room at different times.”
When selecting a lamp for his own home, Ian bases his decision on colour temperature. “This has the most impact on the feeling of the space. Correct selection can make a space feel warm, relaxing and inviting, while poor selection can make the same space feel cold, clinical, even hostile.”
The incandescent lamp was the first form of electric lighting ever introduced to homes and, as of November 2009, the Australian government began a national phase-out whereby incandescent lamps would no longer be available for purchase. The incandescent globe is an extremely inefficient source of light with only five per cent of the energy used being converted to light, the remaining 95 per cent released as heat
The halogen lamp has a similar make-up to that of the incandescent lamp, with halogens added. Again, a large proportion of the energy consumed is transferred to heat rather than light. However, halogen lamps do produce a brilliant light with a narrow beam and they last more than twice as long and are more suited to task lighting. Typically, these small bulbs are 12V and require a transformer to reduce the mains voltage to match.
The LED (or light-emitting diode) is relatively new to the lighting game and, as a technology with great potential, is rapidly improving in terms of what it can achieve. It generates very little heat, which is why it is such an efficient source of light. We are particularly interested in the growing availability of LED globes that come with standard bases (screw-in and bayonet) so they can be used in your home’s current light fittings.
A metal halide lamp is a type of high-pressure or high-intensity discharge lamp. This type is very hard to beat in terms of efficiency because it produces a very large amount of light for its small scale. Significantly, it also has low thermal output, excellent colour rendering and a long life. These lights are often applied in commercial settings because they can be easily and accurately directed, but there is certainly a market for them in the residential sector.
Currently, compact fluorescent lamps are the most likely replacement for residential incandescent bulbs. They reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent compared with incandescent, last 15 times longer and have been developing rapidly, with many of the common gripes now eliminated. They light up quickly (without flicker), have colour temperature options and many manufacturers are producing them in the classic bulb shape as opposed to the icecream-cone squiggle synonymous with energy-saving lamps.
Small Australian Projects,
112 Bowen St, Spring Hill QLD 4000, Australia
1300 000 727