Businesses have long taken an energy-efficient approach to lighting, using fluorescent lighting in common and even in office spaces. However, in the last ten years, lighting has changed so much that a lot of the layout for lighting used in office spaces has become out of date. In this article, I will discuss energy-efficient strategies that will improve worker productivity without sacrificing cost.
In the 1960s, when fluorescent lighting was invented, many businesses began to use it heavily and even exclusively. It is no wonder that this was the case. Fluorescent lights are four or five times more efficient than traditional incandescents, and it provided workplaces with the opportunity to cut their lighting costs proportionately.
In the last ten years, however, there have been significant improvements to energy-efficient lighting. No longer are long, fluorescent tubes the only type of energy-efficient lighting available. As a result, businesses have the option of changing to lighting layouts that are not bound to the fluorescent tube. Retail businesses have mainly done so, however, most businesses still illuminate their work spaces as though fluorescent tubes were the only option.
This is poor for worker productivity. Using only fluorescent tubes creates flat, shadowless light that simply fills a space without providing it any texture. However, the lack of texture in lighting design leads to daydreaming, as workers don’t have anything in their actual visual field to keep them motivated.
As a result, I would recommend the following four things to create texture while still saving on costs:
Use fluorescent wall lighting: Fluorescent wall lighting provides light that hits objects sideways rather than simply from above, as is usually the case with business lighting. By adding a few wall sconces with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) in them, worker productivity can be improved dramatically.
Use lamps in common areas: Common areas such as a lunch room or a small kitchen can be used to revitalize employees before they can get back to work. Lamps in those rooms, powered by CFLs, will provide interesting texture that will bring back an enthusiastic worker, rather than a bored one.
Use some LED accent lighting: LED bulbs provide highly attractive accent lighting that is even more efficient than fluorescent lighting. With a few decorations illuminated by LEDs, you will provide a more stimulating workplace at little cost.
Use LED desk lamps: Surprisingly, many companies still use incandescent bulbs for desk lamps, which are very inefficient. Others use CFLs. The problem is that neither of these lighting types actually provide very good desk task light. LED bulbs provide bright, directed task light that costs a fraction of what incandescents cost.
Businesses have done a good job for fifty years of using energy-efficient lighting. However, the business lighting design culture has now reached a point where lighting is being designed around out-of-date technology. A few simple changes can produce happier, more productive workers.