Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Insert from book chapter 10 entitled Policy Challenges for the Built Environment: The Dilemma of the Existing Building Stock. Insert entitled Energy saving developments in lighting. Book entitled Understanding the global energy crisis, Coyle & Simmons, Purdue University Press. (pp 262-265).

ISBN 9781557537010

This book is made available through Open Access (CC-BY-NC) thanks to the support of over 200 libraries working together as part of the Knowledge Unlatched collaborative,


Recent developments in artificial lighting design, lamp technology and control options provide potential for significant energy savings going forward. Historically, equal illuminance across the whole working plane was the goal of lighting designers, however this is now considered wasteful of energy. For example, in an office setting the working plane was interpreted as the whole plan area of the room at desk height; 300 to 500 lux was specified, depending on whether work was mainly PC based or paper based. This resulted in arrays of lights that provided high levels of lighting throughout the space, whether needed or not, and often for periods extending beyond the working day, as evidenced in large cities where empty office blocks had lights switched on well into night hours. This criterion of near equal illuminance across a working plane also tended to lead to rather boring and monotonous interiors. Today such energy inefficiency is unacceptable. LED lamp development also provides potential for energy savings as these lamps replace less efficient lamps.