Everything you wanted to know about lighting

So as I type, I am sitting in a training put on by PSE on energy efficient lighting.  And this is great stuff!  I thought I would pass on tips, and ideas for PLU as I hear them today.  Live action energy efficiency training, lucky you!

The cheapest way to make a light efficient is to turn them off.  Just flip a switch, people!  The problem at PLU is that no one is sure when another person may be using a light.  Possibly establishing clear occupancy hours will help with this problem.  And if that happens, lighting controls would be a great option to automatically shut off lights when they are not being used.

Coloring Temperature is the appearance of light itself, measured in Degrees Kelvin.  Warm (yellow) light is is in the 3000K range, cool (blue) light is about 4100K.  It’s important to know the coloring temperature of artificial light because light affects people strongly.  Studies show that women prefer warm light and men prefer cool light, for whatever reason.  And poor light may cause headaches, lethargy and general moodiness.  I know this is true for me.

Color temperature is important to energy efficiency, as well.  The most efficient lighting may be good for energy, but not for people.  That’s not sustainable.  Think of sustainability as a 3 legged stool, the legs being people, profit and the planet.  If this is less bad for the planet, but way bad for people, it’s not sustainable.  Technology has a way to go before society has a sustainable solution for lighting.

But here is a list of what IS possible at PLU now.

1.  Parking lot lights just need light, no matter the color.  There are no desks set up under parking lot lights.  So this is a great opportunity for using the most efficient lighting.

2.  Install motion sensors in Olson’s hallways.  Those are always on, sometimes for no reason at all.

3.  PLU could make a CFL trading program for the residence halls, giving students a chance to trade out their dim, expensive incandescents with compact fluorescent light bulbs for free.

4.  Their is such thing as zero-energy, organic light.  Photoluminescence is being used now in exit signs, at about $70 a pop.

5. Daylighting is better for you in so many ways.  Indirect sunlight reduces glare and makes you feel better.  Offices and classrooms should be arranged to make sure that they are effectively using their daylight.

6.  WA code says you need 20 footcandles in a gym.  Do you think we have that?

7.  I need input on other lighting projects I don’t know about yet.

There is an open house at Seattle’s Lighting Design Lab on Dec. 10th.  If any reader would like to go, email cooleycs@plu.edu to carpool.

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