Lux levels measure the amount of light illuminating a space, so understanding the basics of this metric is key to creating a well-lit, comfortable environment. Lux levels have become important for office managers and building owners for the simple fact that light quality in a space can have a tremendous impact on occupant wellbeing and productivity.
This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about lux levels: how they are measured, the different types of lighting, and how to determine the ideal lux level for your space.
We’ll also discuss the importance of lux levels, the benefits of improving light quality and the consequences of having too little or too much light in a given space. With this understanding, you’ll be able to create an environment that is both comfortable and conducive to productivity.
What are lux levels?
When it comes to light quality, lux levels are the most common metric. Essentially, lux levels measure the amount of light illuminating a given space. The scale is somewhat proportional, meaning that each increase of one represents a ten-fold increase in brightness. For example, a lux level of 100 is ten times brighter than a lux level of 10, and a lux level of 1,000 is ten times brighter than a lux level of 100.
Lux levels can also be used to determine the brightness of a light source in lumens. A light source with a brightness of 100 lumens has a lux level of 10.
A light source with a brightness of 1,000 lumens has a lux level of 100. To put things into context, below is a table showing some examples of lux levels in a range of daytime conditions.
|Lux Level Examples|
|Bright summer day||100,000 Lux|
|Full daylight||10,000 Lux|
|Overcast day||1,000 Lux|
|Dark day||100 Lux|
Watts or Lumens – what’s the difference?
Watts are a unit of power, so it is the amount of energy needed to light a room. You might have heard that light with a higher wattage is brighter, but that’s not always the case.
When determining what wattage you need, you also need to take into account the distance between the light source and the surface you want to light up.
The wattage required for the distance between the light source and the surface will be lower if the light source is closer, so a higher wattage does not necessarily mean that the light is brighter.
Lumens are the measurement of light output. It’s important to know the lumens of the light bulbs you’re using so that you have an idea of how bright they are. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be.
When determining what lumens you need, you need to take into account the room size and the task that needs to be performed in the room. The larger the room, the higher the lumens will need to be. The smaller the room, the lower the lumens will need to be.
Determining the ideal lux level for a given space
When determining the ideal lux level for a given space, it’s important to consider both the time of day and the activities that will take place in that space.
A lux level of 500 is recommended for workspaces where mainly paper-based tasks are carried out, while a lux level of 300 is sufficient for workspaces where screen-based tasks are done.
These are the minimum lux levels at which people can comfortably function, but higher lux levels can be helpful for general wellbeing, productivity and creativity. Higher lux levels are shown to reduce eye strain and improve creativity, while those below 300 can cause fatigue and eye strain.
Though there are no hard and fast rules for what constitutes an ideal lux level, you’re likely to notice benefits from implementing the recommended light levels as long as they don’t cause discomfort or eye strain.
The benefits of improving light quality
The health benefits of improving light quality can be significant. In fact, poor lighting is a common cause of headaches, sleep issues, and even eye strain, which can lead to reduced productivity.
Light levels can also have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of a space. Areas with low light levels often have a cramped, closed-off feel, while brighter spaces feel more open and inviting. Brighter spaces can feel more spacious, which can be helpful in rooms with low ceilings.
While these are important considerations in how a space can appear and feel subjectively, it’s also worth remembering that the most important factor is comfort. For occupants, an optimal light level will make all the difference when it comes to being able to work productively and healthily.
Best practices for managing lux levels
There are several best practices for managing lux levels in your office.
First, determining the ideal lux level for a given room is important. While it may seem intuitive to turn on more lights when additional brightness is needed, doing so can actually reduce the overall light quality of the room.
Room-darkening shades are an excellent way to control light levels. You can also use dimmers to control the brightness of lights. Finally, choosing high-quality light bulbs can also be helpful.
Measuring lux using light-level monitors is probably the best course of action, as it allows you to see exactly where and when light levels are too high or too low. Light level sensors, like Beringar’s HX2, accurately measure the amount of light in a space, which can help office managers and building owners appropriately manage light.
Aside from occupant comfort, the cost savings of well-managed lighting can be enormous, especially with so much emphasis placed on the price of utilities at the moment. Businesses that have implemented building automation systems hooked up to light-level monitors have shown how it’s possible to make real-time changes to light in order to better reflect the usage of that space, saving unnecessary energy expenditure when a room is not in use.
Light levels and productivity
We spend the majority of our day in the office and it’s essential to our productivity that we have the right light levels. Too much light and it can be uncomfortable, and too little and it can be difficult to work. Being aware of the office light levels and their effects on productivity will help us make the most of the time we spend in the office.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to office light levels and how they can affect our productivity. Firstly, if there’s too little natural light, it can lead to feelings of fatigue and a decrease in productivity. Secondly, artificial light should be bright enough to work comfortably, but not so bright that it causes discomfort. Finally, the quality of the light should be taken into consideration. The light in any space should be free of flicker and harsh glare to reduce eye strain.
With a little awareness and knowledge, you can ensure that the office light levels are just right and that you can maximise the comfort and productivity of the building occupants. The next step is measuring light in real-time, so you can make crucial adjustments to the delivery of light when spaces are in use or vacant.
We’ve been helping leading businesses implement light-level monitors to save energy and boost employee productivity, so if you want to see how light-level sensors can help your business, get in touch today.