The fact that city buildings and the area around them are beautifully lit at night has become customary for residents of large cities. It is a decorative and artistic aspect of the city at night. And more and more structures (government agencies, shopping centers, historical buildings) are not just equipped with lighting, and get a unique light appearance.
The tasks of architectural illumination of facades
- aesthetic effect on people;
- recognition of the building (city);
- emphasize the purpose of the building;
- increase attractiveness to tourists;
- to emphasize the beauty of the building;
- to conceal possible flaws;
- to ensure the safety of people, their comfort.
What is the architectural lighting of buildings
Facade lighting is installed to:
- To make the illuminated object look the same as during daylight hours (this approach is mainly used for historic buildings).
- Create a night-time image of the building, which may have nothing in common with daytime (more common for Modern Art or Hi-Tech buildings).
By their type architectural lighting is:
- Floodlighting (general). The purpose is to fully illuminate the facade of the house. Used powerful floodlights mounted on the ground (ground), on poles, close to houses. Suitable for large objects, historic buildings, temples. Such light does not disturb the integrity of perception.
- Local (accent). Sources of directional light are mounted on a facade and highlight its specific elements.
- Contour. Light highlights the outer contours of the building, the largest elements of architecture. Usually performed by LED tapes, linear lights and spotlights. The highlighted elements seem to float in the air, flying away from the base. The building gets a futuristic look.
- Background. When the shape of the building is revealed through the lighting of the background. The foreground is highlighted with less light. Looks on buildings with columns, it looks majestic, austere – but weightless. Works with diffused light fixtures. Can serve as a base on which to apply a brighter illumination.
According to the method of installation can be distinguished between conventional and hidden architectural lighting of facades. Lights with a hidden type of deployed in such a way that they are not visible from the side, you can see only the light.
Lighting can be static, or its elements can be changed at different speeds – a dynamic illumination.
At the architectural object, as on a three-dimensional screen can be applied stunning by the power of the visual impact on people 3D-mapping technology, which makes it possible in this case, refer to the architectural lighting.
Backlighting of glass facades
Due to the fact that the glass has a low backscatter coefficient and a large reflection coefficient, especially at low angles of incidence of light, the traditional methods of illumination on such facades practically do not work.
One way is to illuminate the interior, which will be visible from the outside as a glowing building. The problem is that it must not cause problems for those inside, especially if it is a dynamic light. For this reason, this method can not be used in hotels, residential buildings, it is problematic in office buildings.
Another workable way is to illuminate elements of the inner layer of double glazing or exterior contour lighting of the building.
The best illumination of a glass facade:
- illuminates the entire façade area;
- Changes the intensity of light vertically;
- emphasizes the stylobate parts of the building and the shapes completing the top (spires);
- emphasizes the vertical structural parts with light;
- adds lightness to the structure;
- can highlight objects with color (change the color scheme).
Architectural lighting requirements
Here are some of these requirements:
- floodlighting of the facade should create a high uniformity of brightness – the level of deviation no higher than 0.3 for smooth single-color surfaces; no higher than 0.2 for relief and multi-color surfaces;
- color temperature of the luminaires should also be suitable for the surface: 4000-6000 K for “cold” white places, 2200-3500 K for “warm”;
- quality of light – for multicolored objects color rendering index is not lower than 80;
- powerful (over 150 W) lights must be installed so as not to dazzle the drivers of vehicles, or have screens, protective covers.
Luminaires for architectural lighting
In order to ensure safety and durability of light sources for architectural illumination, they must have a suitable degree of protection IP – at least 65. Such light sources are protected against water and dust and can be used in all conditions.
Access to luminaires installed at the site for repair/replacement is usually difficult, special equipment or industrial climbing is needed, so there are high requirements for durability. Although now the quality of structural plastics can be quite high, for the architectural lighting should choose models with metal housings, preferably stainless steel, aluminum or steel with a galvanic anti-corrosion coating.
Another requirement – in the lamps should be high quality LEDs with a long life of trusted manufacturers. Such diodes will shine without reducing the brightness, its entire life.
In our conditions, the voltage of power grids can be very different from the nominal 110V, usually in a smaller direction. Therefore, drivers installed in luminaires for architectural lighting must have an extended operating voltage range and be assembled from reliable radio components.
Types of luminaires
Several types of luminaires are used for architectural lighting. These can be spotlights – fixtures of strong directional light. They are the main, most used source of light in architectural lighting. Usually it is a specially designed model. Robust metal construction, where you can choose the direction in two planes and fix it securely. There are many different models on the market.
Projectors with a small angle of disclosure of the beam are installed for local lighting and zoning, with a large – for flood light. There are white light projectors of different light temperatures, controllable RGB (CMY) projectors for color dynamic illumination. Linear LED projectors with an opening angle of 15 ° to 30 ° are put to highlight the bottom, “flood” projectors – to highlight the upper part of buildings. Vertically directional light (bi-directional projectors) for columns, porticos, bas-reliefs;
Linear lights for architectural illumination are available with different length, power, beam opening angle. Can be assembled into a long glowing line for illumination of cornices. Suitable for emphasizing facade details – friezes, openings, balconies, as well as for zonal lighting.
Spotlights have a lower wattage (up to 25 W) than spotlights. Suitable for local illumination, highlighting certain elements of the facade – columns, balustrades, rustics, plinth.
Recessed lights are installed to highlight stairs, facades, can work as UpLight or Downlight. They are small power, with a different angle of opening. Tubular LED lights are put for contour lighting. Light in all directions, the opening angle of 360 °.
You can also use to work on architectural and artistic lighting recessed into the ground fixtures, marker, cluster, special.
Difficulties with the choice of architectural lights?
We will prepare a complete calculation of the cost, necessary equipment and 3D visualization for lighting your facility. It’s free – even before you buy and sign a contract, you can find out, “How many and which fixtures will fit?”, “How much will it cost?”, “What will it look like?” and even “How much will the meter run?”
Architectural LED lighting
If you trace the evolution of architectural lighting, you can see that it was determined by the development of lighting technology and the emergence of new light sources with new qualities. Simple incandescent lamps were replaced by halogen, then mercury and metal halide came forward, adding to the fill zoning lighting, etc.
However, now almost the entire toolkit of architectural illumination relies on LED light sources, because of their exceptional characteristics. The vast majority of customers of our company, Intera Lighting, have already completely switched to LEDs.
The advantages of LED lighting:
- Energy efficiency – light output reaches 150 lm/W, one and a half times higher than that of metal halide lamps (MGL);
- The effect of LED sources enhances their special feature – the light from LEDs is directional, it goes in the right direction;
- several times longer service life than that of MFL;
- a variety of fixed colors;
- large range of color temperature of white light (2700-6500 K);
- changeable backlight color (RGB technology) and light color temperature;
- High quality of light – high color rendering index of company diodes, no flickering;
- Efficient light control – instantaneous switching on (as opposed to metal halide), changing the light flux of the source (dimming) and its color make dynamic illumination possible;
- Features of the design of LEDs have led to the development of new forms of lighting fixtures – linear and flexible light cords.
The control system in the architectural lighting
Transition to LEDs also marked a breakthrough in the development of computer-based lighting control systems (use of protocols to control lighting fixtures, increased programming capabilities).
The control system is an important part of the lighting system that determines its level. At the push of a button, the operator has full control over all lighting – on/off, backlighting by zones, changing color temperature, color, light intensity, triggers dynamic backlighting.
The control software develops several lighting scenarios:
- Evening Scenario – for the evening of each day, turns on as darkness falls. The building is presented in all its beauty until the appointed time.
- Standby Scenario – turning on after the evening scenario, retaining the basic features of the lighting, but saving energy by turning off some of the lights. Outdoor lights are turned off at dawn.
- Holiday Scenario – which turns on the lights separately designed for holidays (important occasions) that are not part of the normal evening scenario (e.g. dynamic lights). Additional hardware, such as 3D mapping, can be specially brought in and installed for it.
Additional scenarios can be created with intermediate parameters, or so that the building looks different every day of the week – a wide scope for the creativity of the lighting designer.
The control system also “plays” specially written scenarios of dynamic lighting, depending on the object, the installed equipment and the task. If you add music to such a scenario, the effect of the holiday with a concert of dynamic lighting art will be unforgettable.
Energy saving and cost reduction in architectural lighting systems
The main costs of architectural illumination systems are electricity and maintenance costs (replacement / repair of fixtures that are no longer working). Energy savings should be considered at the time of design. Reduce energy costs by installing sources with high light output – LEDs. In addition, LEDs by design provide directional light, making the luminaire more efficient.
Another way is effective light control (energy consumption) using sensors, as well as the use of scenarios. The motion sensor that works so well to reduce energy consumption in conventional industrial and landscape lighting systems does not work here. In order to turn on the lights “minute by minute” as soon as daylight fades, and turn them off at dawn, no sooner or later, without wasting energy beyond what is needed, a light sensor is installed.
To achieve a significant reduction in energy costs can be achieved by the proper operation of scenarios in light control. To reduce the maintenance costs of the lighting system, you need to choose lighting equipment with a long lifespan, which will rarely break down – reliable, with high quality.
It will not necessarily be expensive equipment promoted foreign brands. We offer a quality alternative at affordable prices. We are able to do this because of direct procurement of German and Japanese components, without intermediaries, without overpayments.
Architectural Lighting Design
Architectural lighting starts with a project. A job of this complexity, taking into account the functional and artistic component of the lighting can only be done by an organization with experience in such developments. On account of our company Intera Lighting dozens of completed projects of architectural lighting of houses, offices, shopping centers, government agencies. We have accumulated extensive experience, have specialists and software.
Stages of work on the project
- An interview with the client. He expresses his wishes, discusses the characteristics of the planned system of architectural lighting, provides drawings of the building and a plan of the surrounding area, which will be used in the work on the project. If there are no drawings, or they do not provide all the information, you will need to facade survey of the building.
- A three-dimensional model of the facade(s) is created. The resulting lighting is calculated and specialized software is used. The regulations, the purpose of the object, its size, style and geometry, and location of neighboring buildings are taken into account.
- Designers select the type, power and location of luminaires. For a preliminary arrangement (based on the experience of experts, the geometry of the building and the tasks set), a model calculation is made, based on its results the location and power of sources are adjusted, everything is recalculated – until the desired result is achieved. The required cross-section of the wiring is calculated, the wiring scheme of the lighting system is studied in accordance with the norms. Here is especially important qualification of the project executors. Competent project can save a lot of money during installation and then in operation.
- 3D visualization of architectural lighting – is performed at the request of the customer. Most of the information a person receives visually, so the visualization is the best way to give the customer an idea of how the object will look like after work. This facilitates coordination of the project.
- The customer receives a finished project of architectural lighting with installation diagrams, specifications, cost estimates, power consumption calculations.
Lighting layout, installation, commissioning
The installation of architectural lighting can be trusted only to a team with experience in such work, with knowledge of the finer points – for example, that the installation must leave free access to wires and power sources. Workers must have permits to work at height and high-altitude equipment.
It is desirable that the installation of such complexity is supervised by the design organization. A good option for the customer is when the designer and performer are the same organization, which will be fully responsible for the results of the work.
Common mistakes in architectural lighting systems
The worst mistake is conceptual, or rather the lack of this concept, of a single coherent artistic image. Important elements are not highlighted, insignificant elements are highlighted and so on. All the equipment is there, but it doesn’t work “together”, for one image.
The rest of the mistakes are technical. The main reasons for their occurrence – underfunding of the project or low qualification of executors, who did not pay the necessary attention to insignificant, in their opinion, details.
The most common of these mistakes are:
- uneven brightness across the façade, the light from one group of fixtures is noticeably brighter than the light from others;
- unequal color temperature of the luminaires, noticeable “spots;
- there is no effect from the properly aligned lighting, the building looks dull – not enough power of the installed lights;
- the street light was not corrected, as a result the bottom of the building is illuminated by the street lights, instead of the regular lighting;
- monotonous casting of the façade with no emphasis or emphasis on the architecture, an impersonal building – possibly a project that has not been completed and no local lighting is present.
Errors associated with the lack of qualification of performers could have been avoided by choosing a contractor responsible for his work. Our company, Intera Lighting, takes its reputation very seriously. We monitor the quality of the equipment, comply with regulatory standards and guarantee our work.