It’s all in the code
The Light Studio
Part L of the Building Regulations is wrong – lighting
should be designed around the occupant, not the
building, argues Bob Venning
s the UK government seriously committed to possible to reduce the energy consumption through
reducing energy consumption? How many of education.
you, when asked to design lighting installations Let us consider the requirements for daylighting. Part
to the approved method in Part L of the Building L suggests that you use daylight as much as possible.
Regulations, or to BREEAM Offices or specified No targets or guidance is given, except to say that, if
So you want me to specify
products to attract enhanced capital allowances, have 20 per cent of the window wall is glazed, then within
been puzzled by the apparent differences and why six metres of the perimeter good daylighting should
there is no consistency in the advice and targets? Even be achieved. This may be true
your lighting equipment?
BSEN 12464 is not immune. for greenfi eld sites or suburban
The problem, as I see it, is that standards, building developments, but surely not
regulations and BREEAM are built around buildings for London or any other high-
Lighting is so
– and not people. density area. What do we do in
Does it meet energy standards?
It is easy to design an office lighting installation these circumstances? Follow the
to 7W/sq m, but do the occupants like it? Can they SLL code. Not only is it helpful,
than just the lowest-
● Where’s the thru-life data?
work effi ciently, without complaint, and is it a healthy it gives targets to achieve so that
energy installation – it
● Let me see the results of the photometric tests
environment? Lighting is not just about energy daylight linking systems can be
consumption, it is about the correct lighting for adopted to save energy. Here,
should cater for the
● Are you an ISO 9000 registered company?
the task, a pleasant visual environment, a healthy Part L is too wishy-washy.
people it’s ● Are your staff committed to best practice in
workplace and user satisfaction, which should lead The key factor is control.
to improved performance, increased productivity and Maximise daylight and minimise
manufacturing and application design?
lower absence rates. electric lighting. If we really
Are they members of a professional body?
Part L does not touch any of this, nor does BREEAM, want to reduce our energy
but the Society of Light and Lighting’s (SLL) Code for consumption, then we need to control what we use
● How have you provided for the recycling of
Interior Lighting does. For me, that means that the rather than minimise what we install. What we
approved method offered in Part L is wrong. Lighting install is somewhat irrelevant, because energy is only
the luminaires that are being replaced?
is so much more than just the lowest installed energy consumed (DALI ballasts aside) when the lighting is
● Can you demonstrate a commitment to
installation; why waste money on installing a lighting switched on.
installation that does not cater for the people it is meant And what does Part L say about control (in the
sustainability by showing me your
for? approved document)? Not a lot that is constructive: use
Part L does not consider visual comfort and manual switching that will comply, and you might also
Lumicom membership certificate?
health important, while BREEAM requires simple think about automatic switching too.
yet nebulous concepts mostly covering energy and Research papers show that, left to their own devices,
control, again without considering the occupant and people are good at switching on lights but fail to switch
their working conditions. The Electrical Contractors them off, so you need an automatic system to do that.
Association scheme is ‘for energy-efficient and Why doesn’t Part L start with automatic controls
environmentally beneficial equipment’ and is ‘an and add something about manual override where
important role in the government’s strategy to combat appropriate?
climate change’. In none of these documents is the Follow the code – not only will you get good lighting
occupant of the building mentioned. conditions for the occupants, but you will get low
Arguably, the health and well-being of the occupants energy consumption too. l
SLL’s Code for Interior
are of prime importance. It is they who generate the
Lighting is available
wealth, whose productivity generates profi ts and GDP.
Bob Venning, C Eng, MCIBSE, FSSL, is consultant to
from the CIBSE
Bookshop at www.
The Producer WEEE Compliance Scheme
If the occupants have good conditions, then it will be
for the Lighting Industry
26 CIBSE Journal October 2009 www.cibsejournal.com
www.cibsejournal.com October 2009 CIBSE Journal 27
p27_CIBSEMagOct09.indd 27 18/9/09 10:00:45
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