I have been immersed in the architectural lighting world and its jargon for well over 20 years now. (What other industry uses such refreshingly technical terms as "Luminaire Dirt Depreciation"? But I digress.) Sometimes I forget that when I refer to a light bulb by its correct name, "lamp", that many of you picture this.
But I'm referring to this.
"Bulb" is the glass part of the lamp...er...light bulb.
So I want to illustrate some of the lighting terminology that I use.
In the picture below, we see several important lighting elements.
Ambient Lighting. In this example, ambient lighting is provided by the recessed lights that are mounted in the red ceiling. Ambient lighting is the general lighting in the space. It is the baseline that is just needed for walking around.
Task Lighting. In this example, task lighting is provided by the fabric pendants. Task lighting is lighting for the task. In this restaurant example, it is the lighting necessary for seeing your food and your dinner companions' faces. Energy can be saved by using task and ambient lighting appropriately.
Accent Lighting. In this example, accent lighting is provided by the track lights. Here it is the light that is aimed at the art on the wall. It accents this interesting parts of the space. Without accent lighting, there is plenty of light for seeing, but the space can be boring.
Daylighting. Light that comes from the sun. This could be from any kind of window or skylight.
Interior Surfaces. Wait, interior surfaces aren't a light source, are they? Well, yes and no. The reflectance of an interior surface makes such a huge difference in the impact of lighting on a space and on one's ability to see. You can perceive it in this photo. The yellow wall on the left hand side of the photo is brighter and reflects much more light back into the room than the dark orange or green wall on the right hand side of the photo. The color, reflectance, and contrast of interior surfaces are critically important.
There. You are enlightened. Maybe you will be able to understand me just a little better when I talk about lighting.
~ This post is dedicated to my mom.
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC