Lighting Design

Photo: Adrian Grycuk. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Energy-efficient lighting is seriously misunderstood by many in the green building industry. Long associated with CFLs and poorly lit spaces, today’s energy-efficient lighting uses state-of-the-art LEDs, controllers, and optics to direct light just where you need it.

Outdoors, LED streetlamps use advanced sensors and are optimized for maximum efficiency, yet they produce little light pollution that could disrupt local wildlife.

Indoors, LEDs can be integrated into DC power systems via power-over-ethernet cables. The color can be changed to help increase worker productivity, improve patient moods, or mimic natural outdoor light to help maintain our natural circadian rhythms.

New forms of LED and OLED lighting are revolutionizing how we light our buildings.

Lighting Design

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.

  • Lighting Design for Health and Sustainability: A Guide for Architects

    Feature Article

    A report providing architects guidance on how to design sustainable lighting that supports health and wellness while reducing energy use.

  • The Death and Rebirth of DC Power

    Feature Article

    Direct current is replacing AC in microgrids and other setups that maximize the efficiency of lighting, HVAC, and onsite renewables.

  • LEDs: The Future Is Here

    Feature Article

    LEDs have finally become an economically viable lighting option, but choosing the best LED products still takes knowledge and skill.

  • Controls Go Wireless

    Feature Article

    Particularly for lighting and ventilation controls in retrofit situations wireless systems offer potential energy, money, and resource savings. The technology is still new, however, and potential drawbacks like health risks, interference, and even the potential for increased energy consumption need to be examined.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.

  • Circadian Rhythm and the Role of Lighting


    LEDs with color tuning are now being sold, but do we really have the light formula for waking us up and putting us to sleep?

  • Induction and OLEDs: Past and Future Lighting Technologies


    Fluorescent and LED lighting get most of the attention, but there are other efficacious lighting technologies that could illuminate our future.

  • How Electric Lighting Works


    How do incandescent, fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, and light-emitting diode lighting technologies work, and what are their relative efficiencies?

  • Shedding Light on Light Quality


    Two terms commonly used to refer to light sources-color temperature and color rendering index-tell us about the quality of light, but can at times be counter-intuitive. Lights with a low color temperature, for example, actually feel "warmer" on the color spectrum.

Product Guidance

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In The News

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Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.

  • CFLs Aren't Perfect


    The lifespan of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) is shortened by frequent switching on and off, but in most applications they're worth using anyway.

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