A simple guide to hotel lighting levels

Getting the lighting levels exactly right in hotels is a complex business with contrasting needs for different areas.

The perfect balance between design and functionality ensures that guests have an enjoyable stay and feel positive about the hotel while staff can work efficiently and professionally

The CIBSE Code for Lighting is the comprehensive bible for all aspects of illumination – below is a brief guide on lighting levels. The code is a reference for lighting designers and planners, complementing  aesthetic skills and knowledge.

Since 2002, the Committee for European Standardisation (CEN) has provided lighting recommendations, adopted by the British Standards Institution, with a range of British Standards (BS) specifying quantitative lighting requirements for many applications.

The CIBSE Code for Lighting has developed as a guide on how to interpret and implement the BS recommendations. It gives lighting requirements for areas and is replicated in BS EN 12464-1:2002 Light and lighting – Lighting of work places – Part 1: Indoor work places.

For reference, the lux is the international standard unit of illuminance and luminous emittance, According to Wikipedia, it measures luminous flux per unit area. It is equal to one lumen per square metre. In photometry, this is used as a measure of the intensity, as perceived by the human eye, of light that hits or passes through a surface.

From this, the code provides detailed advisory information on lighting levels in a wide range of settings. For reference within a hotel environment, here is a snapshot table of effective lighting levels across a wide range of settings:

The code provides excellent advice that can guide best lighting practice in area, many applicable to the hospitality sectors and for different tasks Below are a selection of lighting levels for a range of areas.

According to The Lighting Guide 7 (2005), for office settings the recommended design maintained illuminance over the task area in any room ranges from 300 to 500 lux.

For work like data retrieval, the lower end of this range should be used and for tasks involving writing or copy typing, 500 lux would be needed. For activities that require intensive concentration, higher levels should be considered.

The Health and Safety Executive has set a minimum level for any permanently occupied area of 200 lux.

The guide for industrial areas can be be broadly consulted for back of house environments:

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