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Utilization Factors in Lighting

Updated February 21, 2017

Designing the lighting in a new room involves more than just picking out a light fixture and plugging a few lamps into the wall. When you add lighting or change the lighting in your home, several different factors should be taken into consideration. The utilisation factor of the lights affects how the lighting in your home is perceived, as well as the total effectiveness of the lighting arrangement.

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What is Utilization Factor?

The term utilisation factor in lighting refers to what percentage of the actual light physically reaches the surface of the room. The utilisation factor of a room can be affected and changed by several different components of the room. It is important to understand the utilisation factor of your lighting when you install lights in a room, so you know how much lighting you need.

Room Size

Utilisation factor is affected by the size of the room. The larger the room, the smaller the utilisation factor for each light. Take into account the size of the room and the brightness of each light you consider installing in the room, to ensure there is adequate lighting.

Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces affect the utilisation factor because they increase the brightness of lighting. If your light bounces back off a mirror, it appears brighter and increases the utilisation factor of that particular room. Reflective surfaces include mirrors, glass and wall paint. The lighter the colour of paint on your walls, the more reflective it is. Darker colours do the opposite and draw in light, making rooms seem darker, which reduces the utilisation factor.

Other Factors

The contents of a room, as well as the use of the room, determines how much lighting to use. A retail store or office building is expected to be significantly brighter with more lighting than a home or a storage warehouse. The use of the building or room plays a part in determining the final utilisation factor.

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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

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