Lighting Glossary

This lighting glossary provides detailed information regarding all terminology used within the lighting guide and throughout the site.


Accent lighting

Direct higher light levels used to emphasize artwork sculpture or particular objects or areas, to direct attention to that field of view to add drama and interest.

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Adaptation

Adaptation is the ability of the eye to adjust to various levels of darkness and light. The adjustment course and time are determined by light density throughout the process of luminosity transition. Adjustment during the transition phase from dark to light only takes a few seconds; however the eye takes approximately 20-30 minutes to fully adapt from bright sunlight to complete darkness. In this process, the eye's perception of colour changes as well. The respective adjustment status determines sight ability.

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Basic lighting

See General lighting

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Bathroom lighting

For application in humid conditions specific lighting is necessary. They are only safe to operate, if safety type and class fulfil the requirements for the particular safety zone in accordance with building regulations. See attached diagram for guidance. bathroom zones

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Cable systems

Lighting becomes flexible through the use of cable systems designed in low-voltage or GU-10 mains technology. Light fittings can be positioned and attached where required. The systems include all cable, attachments and tensioning devices. Low voltage systems are typically 5m in length and come with 3 or 5 lights and a transformer. Extra lights can not be added to low voltage systems because of the transformer loading. Mains systems are sold as cable kits in 3m, 5m, 7m, & 10m lengths which can be cut to suit, lamps are sold separately and the cables can carry many more lights (within their rated capacity). They are often attached to walls but also suspended from ceilings. Connective components also allow for geometrical structures on the mains systems.

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Ceiling lighting

Lighting mounted directly on the ceiling. The body of the light is visible.

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Clip lights

Clip lights can easily be moved from one place to another, through a clip which allows easy but tight fixture of the lamp to different surfaces. Clip lights are available for indoor use.

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Colour reproduction

Colour reproduction indicates the colour effect caused by light illuminating coloured objects. It specifies how natural colours look and how they are reproduced in artificial light.

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Dimmer switch

Dimmers are devices used to vary the brightness of a light. By decreasing or increasing the RMS voltage and hence the mean power to the lamp it is possible to vary the intensity of the light output. Although variable-voltage devices are used for various purposes, the term dimmer is generally reserved for those intended to control lighting but also to save energy. With phase advancers, bulbs and halogen lamps (230 V) as well as low-voltage halogen lamps operating on magnetic transformers can be controlled easily. Phase advancers are used especially for the control of low-voltage halogen bulbs in electronic transformers. When dimming mains halogen, always be sure to use a dimmer with double the capacity of the lamps to be dimmed. They are also suitable for bulbs and halide bulbs (230 V). Compact fluorescent lamps generally speaking are not dimmable.

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Dawn to dusk

See photocell

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Direct lighting

Lighting is direct if the lamps emit light directly into the space and onto a level or area which needs illumination. See also indirect lighting.

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Downlight

A recessed light or downlight is a light fixture that is installed by recessing into a hollow opening in a ceiling. When installed it appears to have light shining from a hole in the ceiling, concentrating the light in a downward direction as a broad floodlight or narrow spotlight. Downlights require fire hoods when fitted in ceilings with accommodation above. Adjustable angle downlights are available. Downlights are also ideal for interior lighting of wardrobes or shelving. Downlights are available for low voltage halogen lamps, mains voltage GU10 halogen lamps, low energy GU10 lamps and other compact fluorescents and LED which comply with part L1 of the building regulations. Downlights are available IP65 suitable for bathrooms. Downlights are available to convert old style R63 & R80 fittings to low voltage and main halogen lamps.

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Efficiency

Efficiency = how economic is a bulb? It indicates how many lumens (lm) per watt (W) are created by one bulb. The higher the lumen/watt ratio, the better the transformation from power into light. Examples: 12 lm/W tungsten bulb is equal to a 20 lm/W halogen bulb which is equal to a 60 lm/W energy-saving bulb which is equal to a 90 lm/W triple-tube fluorescent lamp.

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ENEC

ENEC is the European safety standard for lamps and other electronics devices. It is issued by neutral testing and classification institutes in Europe - in Germany, the brand is issued by the VDE, where in addition to the ENEC brand the testing authority marks the products with the number "10". ENEC is the abbreviation for European Norm Electrical Certification.

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EVG

EVG is an abbreviation for an electronic series device. EVG and dimmable EVG have become the preferred industry choice: in comparison to conventional devices they are energy saving and provide for highly comfortable viewing. Further advantages: more individual bulb light output, sustained immediate start, longer lamp life and automatic disconnection of faulty bulbs.

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Fire protection

The letters "F" or "M" in an inverted triangle are symbols of fire protection. They provide information concerning how strongly the heating of a lamp is reduced and on which fire-resistant materials it can be installed. For lamps with these markings, the mounting instructions must be adhered to.

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Floor lamps

Floor lamps aren't fixed to a specific location. Lamp shades or reflectors redirect light mainly downwards. Uplighters are suitable for indirect lighting.

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General Lighting

General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. General lighting is basically the lighting that replaces sunlight and is fundamental to a lighting plan. It ensures the visibility of general surroundings and provides location awareness. There are many ways to achieve a comfortable level of overall illumination inside or outdoors. Use chandeliers, ceiling or wall brackets, surface or recessed items and lanterns. In addition, accent lighting can be used to illuminate special features in a room, such as artwork, architectural details and furnishings, creating drama.

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Glare

Glare is caused by a light beam striking the eye directly hence reducing visual ability (physiological glare) and visual comfort (psychological glare). Glare can result directly from lamps or other surfaces with a high luminous density, such as windows (direct glare) or indirectly by reflection from shiny surfaces (glare caused by reflection). Glare reduces the visual ability.

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Grille lamps

Lights equipped with reflector screen shielding, mainly used in combination with tube or compact fluorescent lamps. Reflector screens are implemented for controlled light distribution and give glare protection at the same time. They are often installed in offices and commercial environments.

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Indirect lighting

Indirect lighting is illumination by reflected or diffused light. Bulbs are shaded from the face of the viewer; light output above eye level protects against glare. Indirect lighting is often used in combination with direct lighting. Entirely indirect lighting could lead to a diffuse spatial effect. To achieve the same illumination intensity, indirect lighting consumes more energy than direct lighting.

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Ingress protection (IP)

Structural and operational designs determine a lamps protection grade. All protective measures to avoid electric shock are specified by three protection grades: Protection grade I: Lamps for connection to network safety conductors. The symbol is placed at the connection port. Protection grade II: Lamps with additional or reinforced insulation. There is no connection for the safety conductor. Protection grade III: Protected low voltage lamps. See IPvalues

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Light fitting

A light fitting is an artificial source of visible illumination. It is a complete lighting unit consisting of all components required for mounting, operating and protecting the bulb(lamp). The light fitting protects the bulb, redirects and regulates its light and protects against glare.

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Light fittings for wet rooms

Light fittings with a minimum protection grade of IP44 are considered usable in wet rooms.

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LED

LED = Light Emitting Diodes. A LED is an electronic semiconductor structural component, which emits light in red, green, yellow and blue when a current is passed through. Together with the internal light layer, it creates blue-emitting LED white light. LED lighting has primarily been used for orientation lighting (guide & marker lights) but is now used more and more for general lighting purposes. Important parts of LED technology are longevity, no maintenance, absence of IR/UV, extremely energy efficient, colour accuracy.

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Light bulb(lamp)

No light without the bulb! A bulb is used as an artificial light source in a light fitting, which distributes and redirects light from the bulb and protects against glare.

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Light colour

Light colour describes the bulb's colour appearance. Light colour is defined by the colour temperature: Kelvin (K). Colour codes are often used on low energy lamps, shown above in brackets. viz:- very warm white (827)<2700K similar to 'normal' incandescent bulbs giving a warm cosy feel; warm white (830)<3,000K the colour of most halogen lamps. 'Whiter' appearance than normal incandescent; white (835)<3,500K, The standard colour for many fluorescent and compact fluorescent tubes; cool white (840)<4000K, gives a more clinical or 'high tech' feel; daylight (860)>6,000K. Fluorescent lamps simulating natural daylight.

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Luminaire

Synonym of light bulb

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Luminous flux

Luminous flux is the overall light output of a bulb. It describes the output emitted from a light source in all directions in the visible spectrum and is measured in units of lumens (lm).

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Luminous flux density

The solid angular luminous flux density in a given direction from a light source. It may be considered as the luminous flux on a small surface normal to the given direction. 1 lux corresponds to a light flux of 1 lumen, which illuminates 1 square meter uniformly. Luminous intensity is measured by a luxmeter on horizontal and vertical surfaces. A white space appears to be lighter in the same luminous intensity than a dark space (see reflectance).

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Luminous intensity

Luminous intensity (abbreviation: I) is part of luminous flux, which radiates in a specific direction. The spatial distribution of luminous intensity (distribution of luminous intensity) specifies the light emission of lamps and reflector bulbs.

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Pendant

Pendant lamp = a hanging lamp: "Pendant " is a common term for residential lamps, often used to illuminate dining tables, kitchens and dinettes.

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Photocell

A light-sensing device, which turns the lamp off during the day, and turns the lamp on at night, in response to detected light levels.

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Picture lights

Picture lights are defined as wall mounted lights, to illuminate pictures. The lights are either fitted to the wall or with special fittings to the picture frame, in order for the light beam to directly illuminate the picture from a short distance.

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PIR

A Passive InfraRed sensor (PIR) is an electronic device that measures changes in infrared (IR) light radiating from objects in its field of view. PIR devices used in conjunction with switching lighting are usually fitted with variable light ON timers typically ranging from 5 seconds to 5minutes and an adjustable photocell for light level control. Detection range varies typically 8m to 15m and 110 to 180 degree.

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Protection grade

See Ingress protection (IP)

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Protection type

The protection type ensures the operational safety of lamps. Protection is specified by an IP code (Ingress Protection), with a double key. The first number (1 to 6) specifies the extent of the protection against the ingress of foreign bodies; the second number (1 to 8) identifies the humidity protection grade. A higher grade of protection always contains the lower grades as well. If one or both protection grade numbers are unspecified, a capital "X" for "untested" will be in its place.

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Radiation angle

The radiation angle is the vertex angle of the cone of light emitted at the exit face of a lamp or reflector lamp. It is defined by the way the reflector light is designed. For uniform light distribution (general lighting, spot lighting), a wide angle light is used with radiation angles up to 80 degrees (= flood). For accent lighting, a narrow beam light with small radiation angles up to 24 degrees (= spot) is first choice.

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Recessed lights

Lamps for mounting in cavities or in ceiling dividing walls. The biggest part of lamp is not visible and is built into the ceiling, often enclosing the light aperture output so that it remains in alignment with ceiling.

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Recessed floor lights

Built-in floor lamps which mostly consist of reflectors with symmetrical or asymmetrical light intensity distribution, are used mainly for outdoor lighting. These lamps are built into the floor, paving or ground and they can be walked on and driven over; the protection grade (IP 65 or IP 67) is very high.

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Reflectance ratio

The ratio of the total amount of radiation of light, reflected by a surface to the total amount of radiation incident on the surface. Lighter surfaces have a higher reflectance ratio whereas it is lower with darker surfaces. White walls reflect up to 85% of the light, light timber panelling up to 35%, however red bricks only up to 15%. Conclusion: the darker the space, the more light is necessary to achieve the same luminous intensity.

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Reflector bulbs

Reflector bulbs are equipped with an integrated reflector (reflecting glass bulb), which regulates the light and determines the output angle. Reflectors are installed in normal bulbs and PAR bulbs as well as in low-voltage halogen bulbs.

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Reflector

Incandescent and highly incandescent reflectors in lamps and reflector bulbs serve the light regulation. Luminous intensity distribution and output angles are altered variably according to the design.

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Remote switching

Remote switching is required where the power source and lighting is remote from the desired activation point. Typically at the end of a path or drive where lights radiate from the power source. A battery powered radio transmitter is fitted at the point of control or entry with a radio receiver built in at the point of power from which the lights are wired. The radio transmitter can be in various forms i.e. normal switch, hand held fob or PIR and ranges vary from 50 to 200m.

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Security

See Photocell See PIR

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Sensor

See photocell

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Spectral colour

A colour corresponding to light of a pure frequency; the wave lengths of visible electromagnetic radiation - light - range from 380 to 780 nanometres (nm; 1 nm = 10-9 m). Each wavelength corresponds to a specific colour on the spectrum. An optical prism makes the colours of the spectrum visible - e.g. in a rainbow, created by raindrops which work like a prism.

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Table lamps

Table lamps are small standard lamps which can be placed on tables, drawers or other furniture. The light beam is directed by shades or reflectors and so emitted mostly downwards and sideways.

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Transformers

Transformers convert a line voltage of 230 V (primary side) into safe voltage (secondary side) of 6, 12 or 24 V.

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Uniform lighting

In addition to the required lighting levels, uniform distribution of lighting is essential to enable visual tasks: Hence consistency of light density or lighting intensity is very important.

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Uplighter

A lamp or wall light designed or positioned to cast its light upwards, often designed with movable reflectors on wall parts nearer the ceiling. To prevent causing glare they illuminate the room indirectly. For direct ceiling uplighters, the reflector allows for light to shine through below.

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Wall lights

Wall lamps are simply lights that are mounted on a wall. They're good for producing general background light or to provide additional accent light. They can be directional, as with wall-mounted uplighters. Outdoor wall lights are used on entrance doors and around the house.

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Wall wash

A wall wash is a light that concentrates light on the wall, up or down or both depending on the design. Wall wash gives reflected light so is soft on plain surfaces but dramatic over stone. On narrow stairs it is not desirable to look into the light source but the treads should be well lit, so a down wall wash would be selected.

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