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Lighting Quality Requirements Proposed For Green Building Standard

Paul Nastu

Lighting requirements to enhance productivity and comfort of occupants have been proposed for a green building standard from ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, provides a design standard for those who strive for high performance buildings. It covers key topical areas of site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy ef¬ficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.

Proposed addendum m would add lighting quality requirements to the scope of the Indoor Environmental Quality section of the standard. The proposed addendum is one of nine proposed changes to Standard 189.1 open for public review from Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2012. To comment on the proposed changes or for more information, visit www.ashrae.org/publicreviews

“It has been clearly established that good lighting has a positive effect on the occupants of a building,” Richard Heinisch, a member of the Standard 189.1 committee, said. “Or, looking at it from the opposite direction, when occupants are dissatisfied with their lighting, this can increase absenteeism and employee turnover which, in turn, decreases the sustainability of the enterprise.  Any building, and particularly a high-performance building, should address issues of lighting quality (including visual acuity, task performance, visual comfort, health, safety and aesthetic judgment) so as to enhance the comfort and productivity of its occupants.”

This particular addendum addresses a subset of the lighting quality issues with the expectation that future addenda will be developed to address remaining issues. Subsections 8.3.6.1 and 8.3.6.2 require that the occupants of certain space types be given some level of control over the light levels in that space.  As pointed out in the foreword of the proposal, citing a research study on the effects of lighting on office workers: “Normally, the persistence and vigilance of office workers will decline over the course of a workday.  However, the presence of personal control of their lighting increased subject motivation allowing workers to sustain their performance—they persisted longer on difficult tasks and were more accurate on a task requiring sustained attention.”

A proposed third section, 8.3.6.2.1, ensures that certain media, such as whiteboards, are more likely to be properly illuminated by requiring separate lighting and lighting control for these surfaces, independent from the general lighting and control in the space.

The other addenda open for public review are:

  • Addendum h, which clarifies the requirements for a continuous air barrier in Section 7 (Energy Efficiency) as well as the requirements for airtightness commissioning in Section 10 (Construction Plans for Operation).
  • Addendum i, which modifies the climate zones to which the heat island section 5.3.2.3 (Roofs) applies.
  • Addendum j, which clarifies shading provided by vegetation for the site hardscape and walls for heat island mitigation (5.3.2.1 Heat Island and 5.3.2.2 Walls).
  • Addendum k, which updates the Section 7.4.3.7 (Variable-Speed Fan Control for Commercial Kitchen Hoods) to reference the language in ASHRAE/ANSI/IES Standard 90.1-2007, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.
  • Addendum l, which adds Table C-17 to include the minimum transformer efficiencies for building designs following path B of Section 7.4.3.1 (Minimum Equipment Efficiencies).
  • Addendum o, which adds a new mandatory provision to Section 9 (The Building’s Impact on the Atmosphere, Materials, and Resources), establishing maximum mercury content levels for certain types of electric lamps.
  • Addendum p, which removes the “Acceptance Testing” provision in Section 10.3.1.1 (Building Acceptance Testing) for small buildings.
  • Addendum q, which clarifies that system commissioning must include commissioning of the associated control systems.
  • Addendum s, which clarifies the requirements for outdoor airflow monitoring in Section 8 (Indoor Environmental Quality), along with operational requirements for such monitoring in Section 10 (Construction and Plans for Operation).


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