Each room of a house requires different levels of general lighting and task lighting. Ideally, general or ambient lighting which is the base level of lighting for the whole room, should be as even as possible. Many home owners today are concerned with how they can reduce artificial lighting for home construction so that the home’s artificial lighting can be as practical and energy-efficient as possible.
The ideal way to approach this issue is to develop a lighting plan. This lighting plan should include both the location and the specifications of the fixtures and controls respective to the architectural plans. Decorative, task, focal, and safety lighting should be addressed in the lighting plan and specifications, along with the ambient lighting prescribed in the codes.
For home owners seeking guidance this can be retrieved from professional lighting designers. Typically, these designers are architects or interior designers with a specialty in lighting. If you are interested in locating a lighting designer in your area then simply contact the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America or the International Association of Lighting Designers.
Another way that a home owner can actively reduce the use of artificial lighting throughout his home is by the use of fluorescent fixtures. Where existing incandescent fixtures can’t or won’t be replaced with fluorescent fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs can be used to reduce the electricity usage. As an example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with an 11 to 15 watt compact fluorescent, allowing for roughly a 76% reduction. Although compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cost more than incandescent light bulbs, in reality each bulb saves a great deal of cash over its lifetime. In order to maximize their benefit, use CFLs in rooms with the most traffic. For lights that are used for only short periods of time, specify incandescents with dimmer switches.
Adding dimmers to lighting switches allows several lighting functions, such as task lighting at full illumination and decorative or safety lighting at lower settings. This is especially good as dimming increases lamp life and saves energy because less electrical wattage is used. Even incandescent lamps last longer when a dimmer is installed. For fluorescent fixtures these require either dimmable ballast or additional wiring. Dimmer switches and other lighting controls are rated for total controlled wattage, type of wiring, and type of fixture such as electronic ballast, incandescent, or other.