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(archived) LG7 Offices (2015) (pdf)
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(archived) LG7 Offices (2015) (pdf)

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This Lighting Guide was superseded in December 2022 by Lighting Guide 7 Office lighting (2022), and should not be used on current projects.

The office environment has changed considerably since the previous version of this lighting guide, LG7 Office lighting, was published in 2005. While the fixed desk remains a central part of office life, tablet and touchscreen computers are now commonplace and allow those occupying office space to move around, effectively carrying their workspace to wherever they need to be or feel comfortable working.

The need to accommodate this flexibility has brought significant challenges to lighting designers used to dealing with fixed scenarios. This guide now considers how to light office space for flexible use where tablets, smartphones and touchscreen computers are being used.

Energy reduction in the built environment is a continuing challenge and the lighting within offices is a major contributor to the energy demands of a building. Careful selection of luminaires and light sources along with appropriate controls can reduce energy demand. However, designers and installers can make a significant impact by talking to the people who will use the office at a very early stage of the design. By understanding their needs and work profiles, a more tailored approach can be considered which delivers the lighting they need using the minimum energy.

Speculative office lighting, and to a degree lighting for any large office, is still thought of as needing to be uniform across the office space. The notion of a working plane has been removed from this guide, with emphasis placed instead on the task area. 

Access to daylight in offices is known to be beneficial to the health and wellbeing of occupants. Where daylight can be used to provide illumination of an office space, designers should see to make the most of this valuable lighting source. In order to do this, designers will need to engage with building owners and developers at the earliest stages of a project. Regardless of the size and location of the office in question, lighting designers should seek to give the occupants an appropriately well-lit space in which to work.

This new edition of LG7 has kept the design flexibility of the old one, but has built on it to emphasise the need to minimise energy use while maintaining a good visual environment for occupants. It keeps a balanced approach to design options, covering, where ceiling heights allow, direct/indirect lighting or pure uplighting and, for spaces with lower ceilings, recessed downlighting. It has also maintained the extensive coverage of task lighting and daylighting techniques.

1 Introduction

2 Approach to designing office lighting

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The designer

2.3 Importance of understanding the office use

2.4 Scale of illuminance

2.5 Horizontal or cylindrical illuminance?

2.6 Modelling ratio

2.7 Client/user types

2.8 Working with known occupiers

2.9 Speculative development

2.10 Change of use

2.11 Importance of identifying the correct luminaire/lamp type

2.12 Coordinating the lighting design

2.13 Portable display screens

2.14 Web cams and desktop video conferencing

2.15 Hot desking

2.16 Reuse of equipment

2.17 Getting the most out of daylight

2.18 Energy use

2.19 Maintenance of office space

2.20 Illumination of walls and ceilings

2.21 Glare

2.22 Direct current power supplies

3 Office types

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Self-contained office buildings

3.3 Mixed development

3.4 Smaller offices

3.5 Shared office space

3.6 Areas where office work is carried out within other building types

4 Speculative development

5 Daylighting

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Daylight factor

5.3 Uniformity of daylight

5.4 Daylight autonomy

5.5 The importance of early involvement

5.6 Controlling the effects of daylight

5.7 Refurbishment and conversion

5.8 New build

6 Electric lighting

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The importance of early involvement

6.3 Refurbishment and conversion

6.4 New build

6.5 Lighting styles

6.6 Providing services to luminaires

6.7 Lighting techniques

6.8 Designing with localised lighting

6.9 Designing with supplementary task lighting

6.10 Designing with direct lighting

6.11 Luminaire layout with direct lighting

6.12 Direct lighting and display screens

6.13 Designing with indirect lighting

6.14 Surface reflectance and decor

6.15 Design criteria for indirect lighting

6.16 Luminaire selection for indirect lighting

6.17 Designing with direct/indirect lighting

6.18 Luminaire selection for direct/indirect lighting

6.19 Designing with a combination of direct light and indirect light

6.20 The effect of relocatable walls on lighting levels

7 Interaction with mechanical systems

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Cooling methods

7.3 Centralised cooling systems

7.4 Fan coil units

7.5 The natural cycle

7.6 Chilled beams

7.7 Integrated services

7.8 Air-handling luminaires

7.9 Integrated chilled beams

7.10 Impact on lighting

8 Energy use

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Things to consider

8.3 Assessing energy use (LENI, etc.)

8.4 The energy balance (energy vs well-designed lighting)

8.5 Environmental assessment methods

8.6 Legislative requirements

9 Control of lighting

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Control functions

9.3 Human interaction

9.4 Control for energy

9.5 Control for comfort

10 Tablets and touchscreen displays

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Understanding how the office will be used

10.3 Personal or business use

10.4 Desktop touchscreens

10.5 Tablets and smartphones

10.6 Electronic paper devices

10.7 Fixed visual indicator displays

11 Emergency and standby lighting

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Siting of essential escape lighting – initial design

11.3 Additional escape lighting

11.4 High-risk task areas

11.5 Illumination of safety signs

11.6 Lighting levels for escape routes

11.7 Open spaces

12 Detailed room design information

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Primary office spaces

12.3 Open-plan offices

12.4 Deep-plan areas

12.5 Cellular offices

12.6 Graphics workstations

12.7 Dealing rooms

12.8 Executive offices

12.9 Secondary office spaces

12.10 Meeting rooms

12.11 Training rooms

12.12 Conference rooms

12.13 Board rooms

12.14 Reprographics rooms

12.15 Library/information centres

12.16 Archives/document stores

12.17 Kitchens/rest rooms

12.18 Sick bays/medical rooms

12.19 Canteens/restaurants

12.20 Circulation areas

12.21 Entrance hall/reception

12.22 Atria

12.23 Stairs/escalators

12.24 Lift lobbies

12.25 Corridors

12.26 Back-of-house areas

12.27 Security/building control rooms

12.28 Cleaners’ cupboards

12.29 Plant rooms

12.30 Modelling workshops

12.31 Lift motor rooms

12.32 Storerooms

12.33 Standby generator/UPS rooms

13 Practical examples of design approach

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Example 1 – large open-plan office with known furniture layout

13.3 Example 2 – open-plan space split into cellular offices with solid walls

13.4 Example 3 – open-plan space split into cellular offices with glazed partitions

13.5 Example 4 – conversion of a factory storeroom to an office

13.6 Example 5 – change of use from general office to informal breakout space

13.7 Example 6 – meeting rooms


Author: Simon Robinson (WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff)

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