Using Metrics to Optimize Lighting Performance

Because some 85% of human impressions are visual, proper quantity and quality of light are essential to optimum performance. The mission of lighting management is to provide the optimum quantity and quality of light to its users at the lowest operating cost.

Lighting metrics are used to understand and predict how a lighting system will operate. They deal with quantity of light (light output and light levels), quality of light (brightness and color), and fixture efficiency (electrical efficiency and how much light leaves the fixture).

Quantity of Light

Luminous Flux (Light Output). This is the quantity of light that leaves the lamp, measured in lumens (lm). Lamps are rated in both initial and mean lumens.

Initial lumens indicate how much light is produced once the lamp has stabilized; for fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, this is typically 100 hours.

Mean lumens indicate the average light output over the lamp's rated life, which reflects the gradual deterioration of performance due to the rigors of continued operation; for fluorescent lamps, this is usually determined at 40% of rated life.

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