FAQ

Q: What are the 3 types of lighting?

Ambient lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as general lighting, it radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and allows you to see and walk about safely. In some spaces such as laundry rooms, the ambient lighting also serves as the primary source of task lighting. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights and with lanterns mounted on the outside of the home. Having a central source of ambient light in all rooms is fundamental to a good lighting plan.

Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, working on hobbies, playing games and balancing your chequebook. It can be provided by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting and under cabinet lighting, as well as by portable floor and desk lamps. Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.

Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of an interior design scheme, it is used to draw the eye to houseplants, paintings, sculptures and other prized possessions. It can also be used to highlight the texture of a brick or stone wall, window treatments or outdoor landscaping. To be effective, accent lighting requires as least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it. Accent lighting is usually provided by recessed and track lighting or wall-mounted picture lights.

*A good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area according to function and style.

Q: What should I keep in mind when planning my home’s lighting?

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Identify the activities that occur in each room (reading, food preparation, hobby work, grooming, laundry, homework, etc.).
  • Identify the mood or ambiance that you want to create in each space.
  • Identify any decorative elements you wish to emphasize, such as artwork or wall textures.
  • Identify areas with dark wall colors and finishes. These areas absorb more light than those with lighter finishes, so supplemental lighting may be required.

Q: I want to switch to energy efficient bulbs but I don’t know what type can replace my old ones. Help!

The new bulbs have a measurement in lumens. More lumens means it’s a brighter light; fewer lumens means it’s a dimmer light. When buying bulbs, think lumens, not watts.

  • To replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 1,600 lumens.
  • To replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 1,100 lumens.
  • To replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 800 lumens.
  • To replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that gives you 450 lumens.

Q: What types of energy-efficient bulbs are there to choose from?

  • Halogen incandescent light bulbs are the “new and improved” version of the old incandescent bulb.
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are simply curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lights you may already have in your kitchen or garage.
  • The light emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technologies. This type of light bulb is more than five times more energy-efficient and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

For more information on bulbs, visit the American Lighting Association’s website.

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