For health and safety reasons it's a legal requirement to provide adequate lighting in a workplace. Appliances and fittings must be safe, and lighting levels must be good enough for people to work and move around safely.
Good lighting systems also enhance a business space for both staff and customers and can be used to create a specific effect. For example, using lighting in a shop to highlight selected displays helps to attract customers to particular goods.
However, using higher than recommended lighting levels can be counter-productive. Areas that are too brightly lit can be uncomfortable to work in because of the glare.
Reduce the need for lighting
Lower lighting levels can make working areas more comfortable and also help to reduce energy costs.
You can reduce lighting levels by:
- making good use of natural light - switch lights off and keep windows and roof lights clean and clear
- reducing the number of lights in over-lit areas - think about removing some lamps from their fittings
Use blinds to maximise daylight
Blinds can be used to enhance natural daylight instead of blocking it out, meaning that electrical lighting can be reduced or switched off. Horizontal blinds can re-direct daylight onto ceilings and higher walls, brightening the whole of the area while protecting those near windows from heat and glare.
Good housekeeping saves money
Encouraging staff to use lighting systems more efficiently can play a large part in achieving savings. Many adjustments can be made straight away and cost little or nothing. You could:
- introduce an official policy for switching off lights - remind staff to do this with stickers above switches
- put labels on light switches to help staff identify which lights to turn off in unoccupied areas
- set lighting controls to switch lights off during periods when workspaces are unoccupied
- get staff involved in lighting energy efficiency campaigns - ask them for feedback on problem areas
- train staff to use controls to create their own comfortable and efficient working conditions