Office Lighting Lux levels

  • Lux is the unit to show the intensity of light hitting a surface, such as a wall or floor in a lighting design. One lux is equivalent to one lumen per square meter. Lumens show how bright the light source is, while lux measures the actual light that hits a surface. One lux equals with one lumen per square meter.

Lux levels are also known as illumination. The effectiveness of illumination can be affected by factors including light quantity & quality, contrast, amount of flicker, shadows, and intensity of glare.

The larger the room/area, the more lumens the luminaires need to give in order to create sufficient light levels. These can change when other factors enter the equation, such as natural light and the purpose of the room.

When it comes to offices and other workplaces, it is the employer’s legal responsibility according to Regulations 1992 to provide “suitable and sufficient lighting” to his employees.

Insufficient light (low lux levels) is a common cause of fatigue and muscle strain. This becomes more likely if the exposure is consistent over longer periods of time. On the other hand, excessively high lux levels can distract and cause distress or even impair people’s vision.

 

  • According to the standard EN 12464 Light and lighting – Lighting of workplaces -Indoor work places, the light level recommended for office work is the range 500 – 1000 lux.  This depends on the activity, being higher for detailed tasks. For ambient lighting the minimum illuminance is 50 lux for walls and 30 lux for ceilings.

Here are the recommendations according to the different tasks that might be performed in an office environment:

General office: 500 Lux
Filing/copying/printing: 300 Lux
Technical drawing area: 750 Lux
Conference room: 500 Lux
Design office: 1000 Lux
Archives: 200 Lux
CAD workstation: 500 Lux
Reception desk: 300 Lux
Toilets: 250 Lux

  • The Estates Department should measure the lux levels in an office using the above limits to confirm that an area is sufficiently lit according to the standards. This would be appropriate at the time of installation when it comes to a new building. These guidelines could imply changes to existing lighting scheme, especially when there are people with visual impairments. Occupational Health or Access to Work are entitled to advise regarding the necessary changes. Alteration of the existing lighting provision must not take place without approval of the Estates Department. An exception is where tablets or touchscreen desktop computers are commonplace as it is extremely difficult to provide a lighting design that reduces reflections and glare where these are used.

Speak to the experienced RICOMAN lighting team and we can provide a lighting scheme that balances the regulation with your company’s individual needs.