Quality of Light is Essential to Quality of Life

The lighting industry calls for a practical lighting energy policy.

Lighting consumes 20 percent of all electric energy in the United States. We believe saving energy is vital, and the positive effects of good lighting on quality of life are equally important. While light is a commodity we take for granted to be able to see, lighting is also a tool used to create needed visual environments for people to live, work, play, learn, shop, communicate and do business. Light is an especially essential element in that most personal of spaces-our own home.

To help optimize American productivity and comfort in the twenty-first century, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), the American Lighting Association (ALA) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) urge governments to adopt energy policies that recognize the importance of the proper application of lighting and its impact on human well being and commerce.

Energy efficiency and lighting quality should go hand in hand in shaping effective energy policy.

Lighting exists to enable us to see; higher or lower light levels affect the visibi lity of what we see. The more visible tasks are, the more effiCiently, accurately and safely we perform them. For this reason, selection of light levels is critical to health, safety and welfare. Energy policies should ensure that light levels meet accepted IES standards.

Good lighting provides sufficient light levels without glare, which can be irritating or even impair vision. Just as older people need more light to see clearly, they are also more sensitive to glare, making vision and glare critical issues for America's aging population. Energy policies should incorporate visual comfort as a requirement to promote lighting choices that do not trade off efficiency for glare.

Light and shadow are tools that lighting designers use to make faces, objects and spaces more visible or more attractive. Energy policies should ensure choice of lighting that promotes effective communication, commerce and safety using modeling.

Within spaces, patterns of light and the appearance of lighting equipment itself convey vital information to people such as scale, function and wayfinding while emphasizing points of interest such as artwork. Light patterning can articulate architecture and foster mood and atmosphere. Energy policies should ensure choice of lighting that enable users and owners to effectively interact with other people, building spaces and the neighborhood.

Visible white light is comprised of colors; the spectral composition of a light source, whether it is "cool" or "neutral" or "warm" in color appearance, can affect how we perceive the colors of faces, objects and surfaces. Energy policies should promote light sources with good color rendering ability and choice of color appearance.

Poor lighting may negatively impact health and well being by producing glare, eyestrain, flicker, tension and interference with the body's circadian rhythms. It can also produce unsafe conditions by failing to properly illuminate hazards such as curbs, stair edges-even labels on cleaning products. Energy policies should promote lighting that in turn promotes safety, security and well being.

Light is how we see.
Lighting is how we see the world and each other.

The proper application of lighting improves satisfaction and performance, draws attention, influences social interaction, fosters mood and atmosphere, beautifies space and architecture, facilitates communication, promotes safety and security, and increases visual comfort.

Poor lighting can have opposite effects – among them headaches, gloom, glare, distraction and lower productivity.

We acknowledge the importance and value of energy-efficient lighting, and believe it should be achieved in a manner that does not compromise the lighting's primary intent-to serve human needs in a world in which most information is gathered through the eye.