Social Housing

Social Housing

Lighting for Social Housing

The lighting of social housing, whether it be high rise blocks or homes for the elderly, poses numerous challenges. The lighting should provide enough illumination to ensure a safe and secure environment whilst being robust enough to withstand vandalism where necessary.

For housing providers reducing the energy load has to be a key goal in any project, the use of LED luminaires combined with lighting controls can offer substantial savings, particularly in communal areas where the occupancy levels are low.

Social housing providers also have to adhere to very strict emergency regulations which not only require emergency lighting to be functional at all times, but also necessitate monthly and yearly functional and duration tests on all emergency luminaires. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order failure to provide a compliant system and failure to regularly test and maintain it can result in prosecution for the employer or building owner who may face fines and imprisonment if convicted.

Bathroom and Toilets

Wiring regulations (BSI, 2008b) govern the type of luminaires used in wet areas. Waterproof luminaires (IP44 or better, e.g. IP54, IP65) are therefore required in Zone 2 near baths and showers. Toilets separate from bathrooms do not require waterproof luminaires.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em) Controls
Bathrooms and Toilets Toilets 100 Bathrooms 150 Automated controls - dim to 25% when communal
Bathroom and Toilets

Bedrooms

The bedroom is a resident’s private living space, so the guiding principle for the lighting scheme needs to be decorative rather than utilitarian.

A wide range of visual tasks can be carried out in the bedroom so it is practical to provide general illumination from one (or more) main lights with task lights at the desk and bed for reading. A combination of up and downlights produces an even illumination without harsh shadows.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em)
Bedrooms Room 100
Bedhead 100
Desk 150
Bedrooms

Communal Areas

The luminaires should be spaced to ensure adequate light outside each door allowing residents to see when locking/unlocking doors and enable the identification of callers. Communal Areas will also, in many cases, need to provide means of escape and this will require emergency lighting.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em) Controls
Communal Areas 100(Day)
20(Night)
Automatic Controls - dim to 20%
Communal Areas

Entrance Areas

The first impression of a building should give the user a feeling of safety and security. The use of indirect lighting to prevent facial shadowing is recommended and the illuminance at floor level should be increased close to the entrance to ensure a safe transition between the exterior and interior.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em) Controls
Entrance Areas 200 Automatic Controls - dim to 25-50%
Entrance Areas

Kitchens

The kitchen areas require high illuminance levels and uniformity. The luminaires must be of the correct IP rating required for food preparation areas.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em) Controls
Kitchens Kitchen 200
Dining 150
Automated Lighting Control - Absence detection
Kitchens

Lounges

Careful consideration should be given to the lighting of lounge areas as it can affect the atmosphere more than any other design aspect. A combination of different types of luminaires can be used, depending on the size, shape and ceiling height of the room.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em)
Lounges Lounge 100
TV Lounge 50
Lounges

Stairwells

Lighting on stairs is critical for safety, treads should be well lit and clearly marked to prevent users from falling. Glare is a major hazard on stairs so luminaires with suitable diffusers and a luminance no greater than 300 cd/m2 should be selected. Automatic lighting control is highly recommended; this should be set so that a low level of illumination is maintained constantly, increasing to a full specified level when the area is occupied.

Type of area, task or activity Lux-level (Em) Controls
Stairwells 100 Automated lighting controls
Stairwells