Monday 18 Apr 2011


Delivering an energy saving scheme without compromising your design.

Lighting within residential projects has become a more difficult challenge with the stricter implementation of Part L1b of the UK building regulations. This states;

1 light fitting per 25 metres squared of dwelling floor area, or 1 per 4 fixed lighting fittings (25%) must be installed within all new dwellings or refurbishment projects unless otherwise excluded (usually via listed building status).

In previous years this was achieved by using large compact fluorescent type fittings (once marketed as low energy lamps) within certain areas of the house resulting in a clear visual distinction between front and back of house. The market then saw the emergence of many LED type down-lights which promised compliance but often delivered a poor beam shape, cool and inconsistent colour and sadly in many cases early failure through over heating. It is only very recently that LED down-light fittings have emerged that deliver on the original promise. That of achieving warm white light, and with a reliability that allows the specifier confidence that the products achieve Part L1 compliance without compromising their design.

Whilst these products offer an alternative to standard tungsten halogen down-lights, there are other ways to achieve Part L1b compliance. The code requires a minimum of 40 lumens per circuit watt; linear fluorescent, cold cathode or compact fluorescent can also achieve this. These light sources allow coves; coffers, light boxes and all sorts of other integrated lighting solutions to be achieved. If approached in the right way Part L1b can result in a more interestingly lit environment with a mix of sources and approaches throughout a home.

The final consideration with regard to Part L1b is the use of lighting control. Whether this is a local dimmer or a whole house system, dimming tungsten halogen for example by 10% is claimed to double the lamp life. Many designers consider a control system as a means of scene setting and forget the additional benefits such a system can offer with automatic daylight control savings and even occupancy sensing in back of house areas on larger properties.

The lighting industry now offers some fantastic and reliable alternative light sources to achieve Part L1b compliance, when used in a creative way, these products can achieve residential schemes that exceed the regulations and without a compromise.