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The right light: selecting low energy lighting – introduction for designers and house builders (RR11)


This practical guide for house builders and designers is an introduction to the selection of low energy lighting. It compares the categories of low energy lamps and sets out the considerations important in the selection of LED lamps, which offer increasingly efficient and economic lighting solutions. Also included are recommendations for lighting levels for different rooms in the home. The project was supported by the NHBC Foundation and the guide prepared and published by the Energy Saving Trust (EST). The EST has published a blog on this new guide.

Summary of content

The right light: selecting low energy lighting – introduction for designers and house builders (RR11) comprises:


Historical view – emergence and development of LED lighting technology.

Low energy lighting – definition, compliance and safety

European perspective: explanation of energy ratings for lamps and their comparative energy use. Phased out ratings and new ratings. Energy efficient lamps compared with the performance of outdated tungsten incandescent lamps.

UK perspective. Low energy lighting compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document L1A (England) 2013. Best practice low energy lighting. Safety notes for downlighters.

Domestic lighting – available technology

Compares the characteristics and performance of main lamp types available today: halogen incandescent, linear fluorescent (LFL), compact fluorescent (CFL), light emitting diode (LED). Includes cost comparison for individual lamps and for the lighting of a typical home.

Considerations when selecting low energy lamps

  • Efficiency – thinking in lumens, not watts
  • Distinguishing lumens from lux
  • Importance of beam angle/directional vers non-directional lamps
  • Colour temperature
  • Colour rendering
  • Lumen maintenance
  • Rated life
  • Operating temperature
  • Drive current
  • Cost
  • How to specify good quality LEDs

Lighting guidance for the home

Sets out an overall 3-level approach: background, task and accent lighting. Includes lighting guidance for lounges, dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, home offices, halls and stairs.