“Good lighting can make the difference between seeing and not seeing for everyone, especially people of all ages with any form of vision impairment. It can make daily tasks much easier for everyone and provide a safer, accident-free home. Good lighting will benefit people of all ages and abilities, and make a positive difference in our lives.” Lighting Research Center
It’s amazing the impact lighting has in our homes and in our lives. It is one of the most important elements in any room, yet it is frequently overlooked or misunderstood. Good lighting can create exciting moods, maximize successful performance of daily tasks, and help create a beautiful energy-efficient home. Our ability to see, and therefore remain independent through the years, is compromised by bad lighting.
Vision deterioration for most adults with good eye- sight often begins at about age 40. More than 120 mil- lion Americans wear corrective lenses. One out of every four children ages 5 to 12 has a vision problem, and more than 92 percent of people age 70 and older wear glasses. With the aging of America, nearly 10 mil- lion people may have some form of macular degeneration by the year 2030—more than double the four million-plus already diagnosed with the disorder.
Seeing is believing
Lighting in our home can have a profound effect on the quality of our life. Proper illumination can compensate for many age-related changes in the visual system. A 60-year-old needs 4 to 6 times as much light as a normal 20-year-old to perform the same seeing tasks with equal speed, accuracy, and safety.
Lighting also makes a significant contribution to our physical and psychological functioning. Better lighting can mitigate the effects of the natural physical changes we all are subjected to as we age, help increase personal independence, promote health and well- being, and prevent injuries.
In general, we should attempt to provide higher levels of glare-free illumination throughout the entire house including hallways, stairs, and closets. Every area should have good general illumination in addition to task lighting where it’s needed. Natural daylight is a good indirect ambient light source.
Currently, LED lighting is the most efficient source of light suitable for residential use. LED bulbs, called “lamps,” convert electricity to light with much greater efficiency than typical incandescent bulbs, and generate no heat, resulting in lower cooling costs, which can be a real benefit during summer months.
LED lamps in the 3500 to 4100 kelvin color range produce excellent flicker-free long lasting light.
Changing burned out light bulbs is time consuming, costly, and can be a real annoyance. Incandescent light bulbs last about 750 hours, halogens about 2,000, compact fluorescents about 8,000, and full-size fluorescent lamps around 20,000 hours. Longer life, cool operation, and substantial energy savings are excellent reasons to use fluorescent light fixtures whenever possible. American made bulbs and lamps such as GE and Philips brands are often better made than imported types and will most certainly provide longer life.
Every room or area should have a combination of good general illumination and specific or task lighting, including the kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedrooms. Natural indirect or filtered daylight and LED lighting are good sources for general lighting. Ceilings should not be dark, but should also have good general illumination.
The way we light our homes can also make a real difference in our utility bills. Energy Star labeled light fixtures meet high standards for energy-efficiency and quality, using less energy without sacrificing performance or design. Plus, they are safe, reliable, and provide just the right amount of light and color rendition.