Attractive, functional and cost effective lighting from the right balance of daylighting, electric lighting and control systems.
Successful lighting depends on a balance of natural lighting (daylight and sunlight), effective and energy-efficient electric lighting and integrated control systems. These should complement the building’s design and support human activities. With experienced lighting experts and first-class facilities, we provide professional consultancy, advice, analysis, research and training on all aspects of electric and natural lighting, including occupant needs for lighting.
Lighting for new spaces
BRE experts provide impartial advice on the performance of new lighting technologies or innovative strategies, and on integrating electric lighting with daylighting.
We advise on developing the design brief and design specification, perform design assessments and prototype evaluations, and offer guidance on selecting lighting systems (light sources, luminaires and lighting controls) by evaluating their flexibility, suitability, value for money, energy efficiency, user-friendliness and maintenance costs.
Lighting in existing buildings
Our experts measure the effectiveness of current lighting systems, assess problems such as glare, flicker or inadequate quantity and quality of light, and suggest remedial measures.
We provide particular expertise on the best lighting for activities such as display screen equipment use, the appearance of lit spaces, colour appearance and colour rendering properties, impacts on user performance and wellbeing, the selection of appropriate lighting controls, and obtrusive light. Once lighting has been installed we offer and carry out occupant surveys to gather views on comfort levels and identify any problem areas.
Daylight and sunlight
We offer guidance on window design, measuring daylight, solar shading, and avoiding excessive solar heating and glare. Our experienced daylighting team helps with designing site layouts to optimise daylighting, and with issues such as the right to light, overshadowing, and the effects of trees on daylight and sunlight. We can assess daylight and sunlight for planning, including writing Environmental Statement chapters for submission as part of planning applications, offer expert witness and review services and perform Rights to Light analysis.
See our Natural light page for more details.
Lighting and health
We advise on the health effects of lighting in new and existing buildings, including daylighting or circadian electric lighting (sometimes termed human-centric lighting). We draw on the latest research in this field, and relevant codes and standards such as the WELL Building Standard and standards published by the CIE (the International Commission on Illumination).
Light pollution (obtrusive light)
Lighting installations can cause unwanted spill light to other properties or to the night sky. We assess light pollution from proposed developments and infrastructure and advise on cost-effective remedies. Our experts can provide reports or Environmental Statement chapters for submission as part of planning applications, and give evidence at planning hearings and public inquiries.
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For more information
Selection of BRE lighting publications from the BRE Bookshop
Lighting and health, IHS BRE Press 2015
Selecting lighting controls, BRE Digest 498, IHS BRE Press 2014
The essential guide to retail lighting: Achieving effective and energy-efficient lighting, IHS BRE Press 2013
Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight: a guide to good practice, BR 209, IHS BRE Press 2011
LED lighting: A review of the current market and future developments, IHS BRE Press 2011
Specifying LED lighting, BRE Information paper IP 15/10, IHS BRE Press 2010
Lighting and colour for hospital design, The Stationery Office 2004
Office lighting, IHS BRE Press 2001
First class testing facilities
Our laboratories and test facilities enable us to compare the performance of various lighting strategies, and provide experimental validation of innovative lighting solutions, including colour and illuminance evaluation. We also test downlights to acoustic standards for compliance with Building Regulations Part E and test LED fire alarm warning beacons.
Example lighting projects
Working with major retailers and businesses
Reviewing design briefs, evaluating existing lighting schemes, and implementing methods of reducing energy use while improving space appearance and user wellbeing. Assessing the market for different forms of lighting and how it will develop in the future.
Solid state lighting: overcoming the barriers
A human factors study comparing LED and traditional lamps when viewed side by side. This showed that people preferred the colour of the best performing LEDs to that of tungsten halogen lamps.
Detailed computer modelling based research investigating the daylight provision calculation methods in BS EN 17037 and providing guidance for daylighting practitioners on applying the daylight assessment methods in the standard.
People friendly lighting controls
Human factors study assessing different forms of lighting control – important in ensuring controls for LEDs are user friendly and intuitive.
Field research on the effects of circadian lighting on occupants’ health and wellbeing, linked with control schedules to identify optimal control strategies for circadian lighting so that health and wellbeing benefits are maximised.
Field research on the capability of artificial skylights to improve office work performance and productivity, as well as enhance space appearance.