Good Lighting = Happy Workers, Clients 8/5/15 08/06/15 8:08:39 PM
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David Blagg of Cassem Tierney Adams Gotch & Douglas says their conference rooms’ new lighting has worked out “very well” for them, providing bright but diffused light.
Good Lighting = Happy Workers, Clients
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
Not many people give much thought to how light can affect an office space and that’s unfortunate because, as John Mayberry, commercial lighting specialist at Echo Systems, said, it can make a huge difference not only in how clients view the office space, but also in how the space affects the people working in it.
Mayberry said that lighting is used for aesthetics and functionality. How he uses light will depend on what the client wants. “Some want a modern look; others want something more clean,” he said.
Lighting can be done “in layers,” he said, with each layer adding something different. Overhead lights, in the ceiling, provide one layer. Another might be lights set into the walls to highlight placards, framed photos or paintings, and educational degrees. A decorative layer might include lights positioned above a counter that has colored glass on it. Table lamps in the waiting room would provide another layer. “There may even be directional lights in the ceiling,” he added.
Cost is always a factor when it comes to lighting design, he said, but in his 20 years of experience, he has discovered that, in general, law offices will “spend money on aesthetics. They will include nicer finishes – for instance, cherry wood accents – and they will want to accentuate those, they will want to illuminate those items.”
“Privacy is very important, so some law offices will have electronic shades installed to cover the windows,” he said. “They just have to press a button. These can even be custom engraved. If they select that feature, they can illuminate the table by dimming the perimeter lights. It’s very intuitive. And we program it for them.”
Lighting design should not be an afterthought, but should instead be discussed during the planning stages of construction. “It’s essential during the design stages,” he said. “The earlier we get involved in the project, the better. For those thinking of remodeling, OPPD has lighting incentives for those who want to update their lighting. You can save energy and be paid to do so.”
With regard to lighting, a few questions that Mayberry might ask a client are: What is the purpose of the room? What types of ceilings will the office have? What kind of furniture will be used?
“If the walls will be dark, they will need a higher lumen level,” he said. “The foot candle [a unit of illumination equal to that given by a source of one candela at a distance of one foot] is very important. It is the end result of light bouncing around the room.”
Because many law offices still deal with paper documents, a higher level of light will be required in those areas.
“We make sure that it is a low glare light,” he said. “And the color of light is important, which we can help them choose. Having the right light can increase productivity and prevent mistakes. It ensures that they can read the paperwork in its entirety.”
David Blagg’s firm – Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas – used Echo Lighting’s services, and he agreed that having the right lighting is important.
“The lighting in our office is good. We have dimmable cans if we need to do something in the conference room. They are useful for using the monitor to look at documents and for viewing screens and videos.”
Because they are in the office, often for very long hours, Blagg said that having the right lighting can keep someone from getting eyestrain.
Since he started working in the industry, Mayberry said that there have been many changes and they have been for the better.
“New LED fixtures have changed everything. They are more efficient and last longer. You can dial in color temperature. They have perfected that and made it more consistent.”
Lighting design doesn’t have to be a luxury, which means it doesn’t have to be expensive, Mayberry said. “We work within any budget from the ultra high end to the new guys just out of law school.”
Echo Systems has an in-house design department that offers whole office lighting, including recessed, ventilation, central vacs, landscape lighting, intercoms, and any specialty lighting. In addition, dimming and control layouts, home automation with audio and video products are available.
Their Omaha office is located at 4315 S. 120th St. They are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also have locations in Sioux City, Iowa; Hastings and Norfolk in Neb., and in Worthington, Minn.. For more information, call 402-334-4900 or go to echosystemsmidwest.com and echolightingdesign.com.