Other Office Lighting

Task lighting (Fig. 35-1) is often integrated with office furniture, eliminating problems with changes of furniture layout. Initial construction costs are reduced, as are energy requirements, since the light and task are close together. Each occupant has on/off control of task lighting, including the possibility of position control. Maintenance is easy, as fixtures are accessible from the floor. Fixtures mounted on furniture take advantage of higher depreciation rates than fixtures on building surfaces.

Furniture mounted fixtures may have trouble dissipating heat and minimizing magnetic ballast noise so close to the user, so electronic ballasts should be used. Veiling reflections from reflected glare are always present as the fixtures shine on the worksurface. The luminance ratios in the near and far surrounding areas may exceed recommended levels. It is difficult to light a freestanding desk with furniture-mounted fixtures, as most fixtures are under-counter or sidewall mounted. Lighting a large table or an L-shaped desk area is also difficult, as the fixtures tend to concentrate light. Control by automatic switching and dimming is not easy either. In addition, unless the light source can be repositioned, you may need fixtures on both sides of the work space to accommodate both right-handed and left-handed people.

Wall cabinets and cabinets attached to furniture partitions create disturbing shadows on the vertical surfaces they overhang. A low quantity of lighting should be provided to remove this shadow and maintain a balance of brightness. Undercabinet lights with opaque fronts are available commercially or sold as part of the furniture system. A single T8 lamp generally provides too much

Figure 35-1 Open office task lighting.

light, so it should be coupled with a 50-percent-output ballast, which reduces the amount of light, reduces energy consumption, and balances the brightness.

Compact fluorescent desk lights allow workers to control their own lighting to meet individual needs. Articulated task lights, which allow adjustment in all three planes, are effective and inexpensive, and are preferable to under-cabinet lights for task lighting.

Private offices need a combination of task and ambient lighting. The ambient lighting may be spill light from the task, especially if a pendant unit with an up-lighting component provides it.

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