We recently posted an article on the importance of lighting design in places of worship, pointing out that lighting in these spaces must attend to several goals, not the least of which are safety, task/utility, ambiance and energy efficiency. We’re posting a response to that article by lighting designer Carrie Slife. Carrie works for Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting here in Boston.

Both how warm or cool a light appears and how true the color of a material appears under the light are two stark factors when calculating the appropriate lighting for a room. Source: BostonCampusConnections.org

Both how warm or cool a light appears and how true the color of a material appears under the light are two stark factors when calculating the appropriate lighting for a room. Source: BostonCampusConnections.org

There is a common perception that LED lighting is not aesthetically pleasing to look at. In fact, LED technology evolved in recent years, and manufacturers continuously develop products to create fixtures with light quality that is visually pleasing to the observer. Color temperature—how warm or cool a light appears—and color rendering—how true the color of a material appears under this source—are both considerations when specifying appropriate lighting.

Because incandescent sources were traditionally used in places of worship, color temperature is of particular concern when specifying an LED fixture for dimmable applications. Luckily, there are a myriad of “dim-to-warm” fixtures on the market; their color temperature shifts warmer with reduced light levels.

LED technology has sharply progressed to the point where it can create lighting that is aesthetically pleasing. Source: SladenFeinstein.com

LED technology has sharply progressed to the point where it can create lighting that is aesthetically pleasing. Source: SladenFeinstein.com

It isn’t only architectural fixtures that benefit from efficient LED lamping. Places of worship typically possess existing recessed or decorative fixtures designed for incandescent lamps.  LED retrofit lamps are now readily available with a variety of bases and shapes. Special diffusers or optics are used to create the omni-directional glow of an incandescent lamp or the sparkle of a candelabra bulb.

Flexibility and control are key when designing lighting for the various activities that occur within religious spaces.

Flexibility and control are key when designing lighting for the various activities that occur within religious spaces. Source: Facebook

Flexibility and control are key when designing lighting for the various activities that occur within religious spaces. Source: Facebook

Flexibility: Providing fixtures with the capacity to produce varying light outputs to serve different conditions, as well as additional zones of dedicated fixtures for specialty programming within the space. For example, adjustable fixtures aimed at the altar, paired with recessed downlights for general illumination that can be dimmed when desired.

Control: Designers can set established zone with multiple combinations of illuminated fixtures used for varying tasks. A user-friendly control system allows for necessary switching and dimming, and can allow a selection of pre-set scenes for ease of use.

Having the option to provide varying light outputs and fixtures with specialty programming, as well as fixtures that can be used for a myriad of different tasks, are essential when designing lighting for religious spaces.  Source: Facebook

Having the option to provide varying light outputs and fixtures with specialty programming, as well as fixtures that can be used for a myriad of different tasks, are essential when designing lighting for religious spaces. Source: Facebook

 

Flexibility and control will make a space seem dynamic, rather than flat and stagnant. Having a fixture that adds sparkle as a point source, as well as an architectural fixture that provides general illumination, combined with decorative luminaires for visual interest allow one to create multiple layers of light within a space. When intelligently zoned and controlled, these three illumination-types can be used in numerous combinations to create a well-lit, comfortable space suitable for a variety of tasks.

Want to learn more about LED lighting and lighting for places of worship, contact us at Leslie Saul & Associates today.