Reports show how lighting needs vary widely by sector

A series of three reports from analyst IHS has found that the needs for lighting vary greatly by sector. Security is key in transportation, increasing sales is important in retail and the upfront and lifetime costs of installation, energy and maintenance is critical in office environments.

In the $18.1 billion global market for street and transportation lighting, the most important requirement is that the users of the space feel a sense of safety and security, says the study. “Users need the right lighting to feel relaxed, whether they are walking by the side of a road, or waiting at a bus stop or train station,” says Jamie Fox, principal analyst for LED and Lighting at IHS Technology. “Bright lighting without glare or shadowed areas meets this need.”

Other success factors include the quality of light, upfront costs, running costs and ease of maintenance. According to the IHS Transportation Lighting report, it is not just the frequency of replacement that matters, but also the ease of access to difficult-to-service locations - although longer lifetimes for LED lamps can mitigate maintenance costs.

In the $17.6 billion retail market, the key requirement is to light the product - not the space - to increase sales. Food, clothing and many other items require a high colour-rendering index. According to one retail lighting designer interviewed for the IHS Retail Lighting Applications report: “The three most important factors of successful lighting are the right amount of lumens, the right placement of the lights and the right light colour.”

There are two types of lighting in the retail environment: product lighting and the illumination of floor spaces. “Product lighting is more focused on quality and sales; whereas floor space lighting, especially in larger spaces such as supermarkets, is often focused more on cost. While lighting quality is not as critical, a uniform white look tends to make a store look more attractive,” says Fox.

In the $18.8 billion for lighting in offices, the IHS Office Lighting Applications report says that cost is especially important. “While lighting cost is an important consideration in all sectors, in office environments the cost argument overrides all others,” says Fox. “Installation cost, running cost, and maintenance cost will inform most choices; quality and design issues tend not to rank as highly. The light quality only needs to be good enough, that it is not seen as an issue by users.” Bad lighting can have an effect on employee productivity and morale, says the report, but providing exceptionally good lighting is often not considered to be worth the extra investment.