Due to the recent changes to lighting regulations and the halt in production of incandescent light bulbs, it is imperative that homeowners understand the options and implications when lighting their own home, whether it is an existing property or a new build. Guidance from a professional, such as an architect, is crucial to ensure the right solutions are sought to create an attractive lighting scheme.

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Changes to the building regulations state that, from the 1st October 2010, all new dwellings must be lit by at least 75% low energy lighting. The consequences of this stipulation can feel like a minefield for those choosing to build a new home but an expert architect will be up-to-speed with the rules and able to creatively apply them to the property. The positive side of this change in regulation is that your running costs will be lower, due to the considerable reduction in the energy required and bulbs should last longer than traditional and halogen light bulbs. A common misconception is that low voltage is the same as low energy, it isn’t. Always check how much energy (in watts) a fitting or bulb will use.

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With the recent EuP Directive outlining a halt on the production of traditional light bulbs, homeowners will soon have no choice but to choose low energy light bulbs. Technological advances have made low energy lighting options – the most common being the compact fluorescent which is derided for being slow to light a room – a much higher quality with better colour giving homeowners a more aesthetic yet energy efficient option.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the best low energy lighting solution for a residential scheme, providing a flexible light with good colour and warmth. The requirement for 75% low energy lighting can be achieved by carefully planning the lighting layout to maximise the features of a home. For more involved lighting schemes, you can employ the services of lighting designer to help create effective and atmospheric lighting schemes, well within the regulation limitations.

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LEDs can be used creatively inside the home across a variety of areas such as foot washers to light stair treads and rope lighting to up-light roof lanterns. Externally, a country house can be subtly lit without flooding the countryside; pools of light by the door add great atmosphere to the entrance.

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The lighting of the project shown in the corresponding images was designed by Yiangou Architects and Lightmaster Direct. Established in 1981, Yiangou Architects LLP works across the entire country from its base in Cirencester. The aim of the practice is to create the most considered and well-crafted buildings in the country and its work is richly diverse ranging from traditional to contemporary. Rather than adhering to a ‘house style’, the practice prefers to focus its creativity and experience on creating buildings that are both beautiful and appropriate.  

Follow Yiangou Architects on Twitter: http://twitter.com/YiangouArch

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Yiangou Architects is a member of ProjectBook which has been created to help owners of listed or period properties understand how their buildings work and to help them find appropriate craftsmen, products and specialist information. The online Heritage Register contains over 540 registered businesses, the largest directory of its type in the UK. For more information, visit www.projectbook.co.uk.

  • Chris Jones

    LED lighting so far doesn’t quite satisfy most people, but as you say, it is advancing rapidly. I’ve been unhappy with the extra spike of blue from so-called white LEDs. But in a UK lab, I have seen LED based lighting which solves that problem, and more.

    I saw one unit designed as a reading lamp, and another as an uplighter producing light equivalent to a 480 watt halogen at much lower energy usage–with a better quality of light! In fact, I drafted the patent applications for the inventor… Someday we’ll be able to buy such lighting for home use.

    If you have nice artwork, designer curtains, or anything else like that which isn’t adequately shown off by current lighting, the lighting I saw in the lab will bring it alive.

    I’ve put up a blog at http://www.nextgenlite.com to help people understand not just the efficiency differences between types of lighting, but why each one looks the way it does. Whenever the inventor’s lovely, truly-like-daylight LED lighting becomes available commercially, I will announce it there.