Lighting Survey Tool Measures Occupant Satisfaction
Building owners acknowledge the importance of lighting quality, but decisions are usually made solely on the bases of cost. Part of the problem is that while individual elements of lighting quality are definable and can be expressed using metrics, an overriding lighting quality metric remains unattainable.
A new free tool from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), launched in association with the Department of Energy’s Commercial Lighting Solutions program, seeks to define lighting quality in office buildings. Funded by the Department of Energy, General Services Administration, National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the Lighting Controls Association, the Light Right Survey Tool enables building owners to survey office lighting workers about their lighting equipment, level of satisfaction, and preferences.
The result is a metric for lighting quality—as expressed by the people who use the lighting.
The Light Right Survey Tool uses 50 questions to profile respondents. It identifies the type of lighting in their workspace, how satisfied they are with various aspects of their lighting, and their preferences. The questions were developed by people with a high level of knowledge in lighting—including TED’s lighting columnist Craig DiLouie—but geared toward people with very little knowledge.
The results can be used to identify problem areas for corrective action, measure the effectiveness of lighting upgrades, justify investments in higher-quality lighting to the building owner, facilitate communication across stakeholders, and support choices that produce higher satisfaction. By studying the results, the owner will be told by the people who actually use the lighting—workers whom the owner wants to see satisfied and productive. Distributors can use the results to justify various lighting options that not only save energy, but may also improve lighting quality.
The survey begins with general questions about the type of work performed and asks respondents to describe their personal workspace, type of computer screen, availability of windows, etc. It then goes on to ask further questions about the lighting environment, such as:
To what extent can light levels from your overhead lights be adjusted?
What type of shading system do you have to control the amount of daylight entering your windows?
Are you satisfied with your ability to control your overhead lighting?
Are you satisfied with your ability to control your task lighting?
Are you satisfied with your ability to control your window shades or blinds?
Is your work surface is evenly lighted without very bright or dim spots?
If the majority of respondents indicate that there isn’t sufficient light levels for tasks they perform, this information can be used to determine which fixtures to include in an upgrade project.
Acuity Brands has an extensive portfolio of lighting fixtures, giving building owners and lighting designers a wide range of options to best meet the occupant needs that are indentified in this survey. One example is the Lithonia Lighting AL LED, which provides superior light quality and color consistency. When the nLight™ lighting control system is included in the solution, the end result is a lighting system that provides quality lighting while reducing energy use.
Survey results that detect insufficient satisfaction with the availability of natural light could indicate that a Sunoptics High-Performance Daylighting Solution should be included in the project. Sunoptics patented signature series prismatic system provides greater daylighting with no hot spots, glare, moving parts or UV damage. When combined with Acuity Brands lighting and control systems, building owners and designers can provide one of the most cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing lighting environments available.