Managing Internal Loads: Lighting Fixture Selection

How does lighting fixture selection impact the internal energy loads of my building?

A lighting fixture consumes electricity while generating light and heat. With regards to building performance, an optimum lighting fixture is one that delivers the required amount of light while consuming the least amount of electricity and generating the least amount of heat.

If early analysis suggests that internal loads associated with artificial lighting are the main drivers of energy use in your building, you will want to engage your lighting designer, engineer consultants and/or potential lighting reps early in the design process to assess the performance impacts of potential lighting fixtures.

Here are some things to keep in mind as the design team turns its focus onto fixture selection:

  • The lighting fixture is the electrical device that creates artificial light. It uses an electric lamp to do so.
  • The electric lamp (e.g. a light bulb) is a replaceable component that produces light from electricity.
  • Selection of the lamp will be informed by its ability to produce light (luminous efficacy), its color temperature and its ability to render color (as quantitatively compared to an ideal or natural source)
  • Selection of the fixture, with regards to performance, will be informed both by the fixture’s compatibility with the selected lamp, as well as the fixtures own operational efficiency.

Ultimately, your high-performance solution will seek a fixture and lamp combination that provides the most light for the least watts. To further optimize internal loads resulting from artificial lighting, consider implementing lighting controls.

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