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  • Writer's pictureZachary Taylor

Part 2: Our Sustainability Efforts in Lighting Design

At ISP Design, our lighting designers strive to bring the most energy efficient solutions to each of our projects. We dig every crevice for products that are unique, high in efficiency, and provide the best solution for watts per square foot. Our goal as lighting designers, is to facilitate a lumen package that will help provide the foot-candle levels we need for the space, task, and the code requirement at hand.

We constructed a checklist that fits the mold to all of our projects. It contains the tools in crafting a lighting design system that fits the criteria for each project. The first step is to formulate questions such as the avenues of sustainability, but also how they could be accomplished.

Our Checklist

  • Foot-Candle Level

  • Color Rendering Index

  • The Efficiency of LED’s

  • Wattage Per Driver and Heat Load

  • Selecting of the Driver

  • Carbon Footprint

  • Optic Performance/Diffusion of the Source

  • Glare Control

  • LEED Requirements

  • Control System

Avenues of Being Sustainable

  • Recycle Material

  • Carbon Footprint

  • Efficiency on Heat Loads

  • Dimming

  • Energy Efficiency

  • Daylight Harvesting

Recycle Material:

Reconstructing materials decreases waste and trips to the landfill. Selecting reusable materials also cuts back the stress of natural resource consumption. Outside of commercial, it's just as beneficial to use eco-friendly fixtures inside households. You don't have to only recycle from previous lights, but you could also use common household items. There's an abundance of ideas online if you're in a crafting mood!

Carbon Footprint:

When it comes to decreasing our carbon footprint with lighting, LED bulbs are beneficial in accomplishing that. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has determined that LED's are the most environmentally friendly bulbs to use. One of the many benefits is that they emit less than 1,051 pounds of CO2, which is the least amount from all bulbs. Compared to incandescents that transmit over 4,500 pounds! According to the EPA, replacing one light bulb in every household in the U.S with an LED would reduce greenhouse gas emission by almost 9 billion pounds. It just goes to show that switching a single bulb is environmentally impactful!

Efficiency on Heat Loads:

Generally speaking, lighting systems accumulate the largest source of heat in commercial buildings. Even though increased cooling loads decrease efficiency of lighting, heat gains from lighting could actually reduce heating loads. Which means the more you lower your lighting loads, the lower your electricity costs and heat gains will be. It's recommended to choose more efficient lighting in order to achieve those net gains and savings. The degree of the cost savings varies on which bulbs you use.


Dimming is another efficient way to save on energy and thus consuming less wattage. This also helps extend the life of your bulbs. Since this provides security for energy-efficient light bulbs, its a popular avenue that consumers adopt in their home and offices.

Energy Efficiency:

Making the transition towards energy-efficient lighting can have a positive impact for cities. Back in 2017, Poland implemented its first large-scale lighting management system and made the switch to connected LED lighting. They installed 2,000 LED luminaries with Interact City lighting asset and scene management software. The global tally of light points will reach to 60 billion by 2030.

Daylight Harvesting:

Daylight harvesting is another technique in sustainable lighting. It automatically adjusts the brightness in a room while also factoring in the amount of natural light thats available. There are many advantages in using daylight harvesting. It provides energy savings, comfort, convenience, and lastly meets the codes and standards.


The LEED certification is one of the most globally recognized symbols in sustainability achievements and leaderships. Many if not all projects today focus on achieving the certification. It consists of four levels that are differentiated by a point system with platinum being the highest rank. They include a set of rating systems for design, construction, operation, maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods. LEED aims to help building owners and operators in leaning towards being environmentally responsible. While also being more sustainable in resources.

Our team member Irvelt Chery carries out the LEED procedures for our projects. He is able to keep track of our score cards. Along with attending calls to coordinate and provide outlines that show how we aim to achieve those points. The U.S Green Building Council (USCBG) crafted specific guidelines in order to achieve the two LEED lighting credits. Working with the owner of a project helps establish relationships with the local vendors and suppliers. Since this involves obtaining the materials from local factories rather than abroad, this helps decrease our carbon footprint. If energy modeling is a requirement on a project, we provide the ASHARE 90.1 power compliance forms.

The lighting credits reflect on the efficiency of lighting controls and quality. Our team follows the guidelines below.

Lighting Controls:

  • Providing the controls of the switches and keypads that produce multi-level dimming in all enclosed spaces.

  • Occupancy Sensors in all spaces

  • Daylight Sensors

  • Commissioning of the control system

Lighting Quality:

  • Specify lighting fixtures that supply a CRI of 80% or better

  • Fixtures with LED life of 50k hours or more

  • Fixtures with less than 2500CD/m2 between 45 and 90 degrees

  • 25% or less lighting loads are direct only.

Lighting plays a critical role in design, that it eventually led to the focus on sustainability. With the rapid pace in technology and the rise of LED usage, it presents both benefits and challenges. On the last blog of our three part series, we're going to discuss about designing spaces for 60 year life cycles.



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