Lighting refers to the phenomenon through which everything around us is made visible or known to our eye. Every object in the universe reflects this light making it perceivable to us. Lighting is also used to get desired illuminating effects for aesthetic as well as practical purposes. It beautifies our homes, enhances productivity, and also ensures safety along with several other health benefits. Lighting or illumination can be generated through natural and artificial sources. Both types of lighting have their own advantages and limitations and are also indispensable to our lives. Let’s learn more about them.
1. Natural Lighting
Natural lighting or commonly known as daylight refers to the light that is generated with the help of natural resources such as the Sun or other stars. It is a crucial element of lighting because of its various health and cost benefits. It is an effective and efficient source of illumination, at the same time, it is also vital for the sustenance of life on planet earth. Natural lighting rejuvenates a home while capturing the natural beauty around it. It provides natural colour and warmth to enhance the overall ambiance of your space. If you have large windows, doors, or skylights in your home, letting in controlled daylight could do wonders for you. It is absolutely free so you do not have to worry about high energy bills as well. Plus it costs nothing to the environment as well. Additionally, natural lighting has a number of health benefits also. It helps your body produce vitamin D, regulates your heart rhythm, improves your mood, and also kills harmful germs and bacteria in the house. Reports have argued that people who get ample daylighting experience better productivity.
2. Artificial Lighting
Artificial lighting, as opposed to natural lighting, refers to light that is produced from artificial sources such as fire, candles, electric means, etc. With modern technology, artificial lighting can easily be manipulated to achieve the ideal lighting outcome. You can customise the light temperature, colour, brightness, and also direction to allow it to create a range of effects as required by your space. Artificial lighting sources have gradually become the most important tool in modern homes and work spaces as well. Even if you have several windows in your room, it can receive only so much natural light. This can be a problem for spaces such as the bathroom, kitchen, or study room, where you need light to see what you are doing. Enter artificial lighting, to brighten up the dark corners and illuminate your space during the night with the freedom to install it wherever you want. During the dark and gloomy days of winter also, your indoors do not get enough sunlight. This causes a shift in the mood and a lot of people start feeling uninspired. Similarly, a lack of enough lighting affects your plants as well. It can stop their growth too. But with artificial lighting, you can easily solve these issues. The new era of artificial lighting means you can easily mimic natural lighting and install fixtures to help your plants grow as well. It is almost impossible to think that there was a time when we lived without any control over lighting!
3. Integrated Lighting
Integrated lighting refers to a lighting fixture that has LEDs built right into the fixture itself. Unlike a standard lamp configuration, an integrated lighting fixture does not have the option to swap out a conventional light bulb. Direct connections to low- or line-voltage electrical systems are made through integrated LED lighting. The design of LED fixtures is comparable to that of conventional lighting fixtures. But unlike other traditional fixtures, which cannot be used with LED light bulbs, they are specifically made to do so. Track lighting and ceiling lights are a couple of examples of fixtures.
What are the Usage Areas of Lighting?
There are many uses for lighting in daily life. Life without both natural and artificial lights is unimaginable today. Architects and interior designers keep a stern focus on ideal and ample lighting in their designs to ensure the well–beings of the residents. Thus, indoor, as well as outdoor lighting, has gradually become an integral part of building plans. When creating a lighting plan, a designer must take into account a number of important factors such as lamp life, light distribution, corners of interest, cost, and efficiency among others.
There are two major usage areas of lighting; residential lighting and commercial lighting.
Residential lighting: Residential lighting revolves around the interior and outdoor lighting of your home. It requires thoughtful and careful planning and design to get the ideal illumination for your home. Proper lighting makes a huge difference to how one feels at their home. It has the potential to let homeowners enjoy their homes to the fullest. It can make small rooms appear big and more inviting. Residential lighting design takes into consideration factors such as daylight integration and management, layer lighting, and decorative lighting among others. While residential light designing is very much about styling your home as an inviting space, energy efficiency is also a central part of it. It is crucial that you use the right fixtures and light sources for your home as this helps you save big money on energy bills. Great lighting design involves a variety of elements but the ultimate objective is to use lighting wisely to give the homeowner a sense of well-being and comfort.
Commercial lighting: Many a time, people get confused between residential lighting and commercial lighting because they almost require similar planning and designs. However, to put it simply, commercial lighting can be understood as specialised lighting solutions that are used in commercial spaces such as hotels, restaurants, modern workspaces, hospitals, etc. Lighting used to illuminate public infrastructures like roads, highways, etc. also fall under the category of commercial lighting. Moreover, commercial lighting solutions heavily differ from residential lighting solutions when it comes to the purpose and cost of lighting. Commercial lighting tends to have higher initial costs such as maintenance and service costs but is also highly durable and has better energy-saving options and has long lives when compared to residential lighting. The main purpose of commercial lighting is to accomplish a task without much strain on the eyes while making the environment comfortable and productive for the employees. Modern offices are increasingly using specialised office fixtures and smart lighting for this purpose. These lights are bright enough, glare-free, and energy efficient since commercial lights need to be left on for long periods of time. Top commercial lighting manufacturers argue that proper lighting not only ensures ideal illumination but also contributes towards better and more productive employee moods by providing a safe and comfortable environment to them.
What are Lighting Products?
Lighting products are the different elements of an artificial lighting source that come together to create artificial illumination for us. Here we talk about the two most important lighting products without which we can hardly imagine our lives. A major revolution in energy consumption, lighting fixtures, and bulbs paved the way not only for modern living but also for the workforce.
We can not talk about electrical lighting without mentioning bulbs. Just as electricity is a household name today so are light bulbs. It was more than 150 years ago that the idea to invent light bulbs was conceived and truly, its invention has been one of the biggest turning points in modern history. It has completely transformed the way we use energy today and has drastically improved the average working hours. While the electric bulbs we use today are a result of multiple improvements on the original idea of the light bulb, the majority of the credit for its invention goes to an American scientist, Thomas Alva Edison. He truly revolutionised the usage of electricity and was among the first people to conceive the idea of traditional incandescent bulbs. This was followed by the attempts of inventing fluorescent bulbs triggered by the 1973 oil crisis. The first CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) hit the market in the mid-80s but were hit with complaints of being too expensive, bulky, and inconsistent with their performance. Energy efficiency was another major concern for these new inventions. However, the modern improvements on CFL designs have done wonders as CFLs are now considered one of the most price-effective and energy-efficient options. Moreover, modern CFL bulbs come with a long life as well making them a viable option for residential and commercial uses.
While incandescent bulbs and the CFLs have been around for a long time, the fastest developing lighting technology when it comes to bulbs is that of LEDs (light emitting diodes). They have completely changed the face of energy consumption and are considered to be the most energy-efficient bulbs available in the market. Much like CFLs, early versions of LED bulbs faced mixed reactions on account of them being expensive upfront but with fierce competition, the prices of LEDs have considerably gone down. It also means that now we have a myriad of options available when it comes to LED bulbs. They are colourful, customisable, and even come in smart options, giving you full control over the colour, contrast, brightness, and operations of your bulb with the help of a remote or merely your smartphone. While some of these options may seem expensive upfront, in the long run, they more than makeup for it. As most scientists in the field are claiming, LEDs are the future of lighting.
A lighting fixture (also known as a light fitting or a luminaire) refers to the electric devices that hold lighting sources (bulbs or lamps) to provide illumination. All lighting fixtures have a fixture body, switches to control them, and one or more sockets to install the light source. In some cases, such as LED fixtures, the bulb comes hardwired into it. Similarly, fixed fixtures such as Chandeliers or sconces may not have a light switch on the fixture but an external switch to control its operation. Often confused and interchanged with lamps, fixtures are in fact different from lamps. A lamp is a part of the fixture while the fixture is the whole body of the device that generates illumination. Sometimes, portable fixtures are also referred to as lamps, for example, a table lamp or a desk lamp. With growing demands, there is now a fixture available for all kinds of needs. They are classified according to their materials, how they are installed, their lightning function, or the kind of lamp that is used. There are also specific fixtures available for indoor and outdoor uses. To ensure that you pick the right fixture for yourself, it is important to keep in mind certain factors such as its specifications, applications, and purpose. A thorough understanding of the above not only ensures perfect illumination for your space but is also crucial from a safety perspective. Wrong voltage, material, or wattage can have severe implications and may also cause a short circuit. It is therefore advisable to understand your needs, consult professionals and read the instructions carefully before picking up your light fixtures.