By Tommy Harris, Vice President, Industrial Product Solutions, Acuity Brands
Spelunkers aside, nobody wants to work or play in a dark cavern.
Whether driving a forklift through a vast warehouse, shooting hoops at the local gym or window shopping inside the mall, people usually perform more safely and comfortably when large open spaces are properly lit.
A dark ceiling – or ‘cavern effect’ -- is almost always undesirable. It is unnatural and uncomfortable to the human eye, which perceives a space to be brighter when lit uniformly but duller when forced to discern dark and light contrast.
That is why facility managers are increasingly interested in adding intentional uplight – in the range of seven to 14 percent – to eliminate the cavern effect. But they are often challenged when using conventional LED lights, which by design are directionally focused, making uplighting difficult.
We’re tackling this problem by developing fixtures able to provide intentional uplight. The best-performing solutions use two LED sources to light above and below the fixture, reducing the visual contrast between the source and the ceiling.
By eliminating dark ceilings, this new uplighting method reduces perceived glare so the eye doesn’t work as hard. Illuminated luminaires more easily blend into the surroundings, reducing the contrast that can lead to eye strain – and enhancing safety while providing a more noticeably enjoyable environment.
An added benefit of the brightness generated by uplighting is that luminaires may be dimmed to a perceived light level that is acceptable for that environment. This “task tuning” method can reduce consumed wattage by 20 percent or more, further decreasing energy use beyond the levels already achieved by deploying commercial/industrial LED lighting.
Further, if each LED luminaire is connected to a networked lighting control system, more efficiencies can be achieved through time-based scheduling or automated dimming when natural light is present.
More and more large spaces are being adorned with this new method of uplighting, which is now a more uniform and efficient way to light spaces that are notoriously challenging to illuminate.
Tommy Harris is the Vice President, Industrial Product Marketing with Acuity Brands, a North American market leader in commercial and industrial lighting. For more information about Acuity Brands industrial solutions, visit www.acuitybrands.com/industrial.