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Optimising Lighting Design: Reducing Ugr To Improve Working Environment Comfort


In the work environment, proper lighting design is essential to improve the comfort, visual clarity and productivity of employees. However, there is often a problem with excessive glare, which can cause discomfort and visual fatigue to employees and even affect their performance. To address this issue, taking steps to reduce Universal Glare Ratings (UGR) has become a key task.

This article will look at the importance of UGR and how proper lighting design and installation processes can reduce UGR and enhance the comfort and visibility of the working environment.

Glare: Impact and Importance

What is glare?

Glare is a visual sensation caused by improper distribution of lighting intensity or extreme contrasts in light intensity in time or space. It can occur directly or through reflection and can reduce visibility and cause discomfort. The severity of glare varies from person to person, and each person’s sensitivity to glare varies. Older people are particularly sensitive to glare due to the ageing characteristics of their eyes.

Negative effects

Uncomfortable glare: Uncomfortable glare can be unbearable and force people to turn their eyes away. For example, high intensity discharge (HID) floodlights shining directly at people a few metres away can cause severe uncomfortable glare, causing people to naturally turn away.

Deactivated glare: Deactivated glare reduces visibility but does not cause significant discomfort and prevents people from automatically turning away. For example, when driving in the rain, if a light source is reflected on a screen behind you, it can cause disabling glare.

Uniform Glare Rating (UGR)

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The Uniform Glare Rating (UGR) is a measure of glare recommended by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) The UGR value represents the ratio of background illuminance to light source illuminance and can range from 5 to 40. A lower UGR value indicates less glare and better lighting quality.

The importance of glare in lighting design

Good lighting design must take into account the effects of glare, especially in industrial and commercial environments. A lack of good lighting design can have a detrimental effect on productivity, comfort and safety. By properly controlling factors such as the position of light sources, mounting heights and beam angles, glare can be reduced and provide a better visual environment.

DLC Rating: Quality Assurance for Lighting Products

The role of DLC ratings

The mission of the Design Lighting Coalition (DLC) is to improve the quality, energy efficiency and performance of lighting solutions for the commercial sector. As an independent organisation, the DLC has developed a rating system by evaluating manufacturer data and testing of LED lighting products through collaboration with members of state, federal and regional energy efficiency programs, lighting designers, luminaire manufacturers and other stakeholders in the US and Canada.

The purpose of the DLC rating system is to identify lighting products that are suitable for their intended applications and to provide consumers with high quality, high performance options.The DLC compiles and maintains a Quality Products List (QPL), which contains lighting products that have been certified by the DLC.

Quality Products List (QPL)

The Quality Products List (QPL) is a list maintained by the DLC of certified lighting products. These products have been proven to be of outstanding quality, high performance and acceptable standards through manufacturer data and testing. By purchasing products listed on the QPL, consumers can be assured that they have undergone a rigorous series of tests to ensure they meet the manufacturer’s requirements for light quality and lumen output.

Benefits of choosing DLC lights

Choosing DLC rated lighting products offers multiple benefits to consumers. Firstly, these products have undergone rigorous testing and certification, proving their reliable performance in the marketplace. Secondly, DLC certified luminaires offer high performance and quality, saving energy and reducing operating costs. Most importantly, purchasing DLC listed products ensures that the specified color rendering index and lumen output requirements are met, thus providing good lighting results.

The DLC rating system provides consumers with a reliable way to select high quality, high performance lighting products. By purchasing DLC certified luminaires, consumers can receive a reliable warranty while enjoying energy savings and quality lighting.

DLC 5.1: Impact of lighting purchases

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Technical requirements for DLC 5.1

DLC 5.1 is a list of technical requirements in the field of solid state lighting (SSL) to ensure higher quality of light colour. This version is an improvement on the 2020 release of DLC 5.0. DLC 5.1 aims to improve the quality of light while saving energy. The latest update focuses on uncomfortable glare, colour representation and light distribution. As of July 2021, older lighting products that do not meet the requirements of DLC 5.1 have been removed from the Qualified Products List (QPL).

Impact of lighting purchases

Under the latest changes, around two thirds of the DLC list will be removed and around 80% of LED HID replacements have been phased out. While over 200,000 lighting products remain on the list, this is a significant change.

Buyers should remember that products not on the QPL are not necessarily unsafe, but rather mean that they do not meet the highest standards of user satisfaction on the market. Therefore, when purchasing lighting products, buyers should consider the following issues to make an informed decision:

  • Type of product to be applied: Determine which type of lighting product you need to install.
  • Ratings and intended use: Know the ratings and intended use of the product to ensure it is suitable for your specific needs.
  • How it will be used: consider how you will use the product, including installation location and environmental conditions.
  • Life expectancy and warranty: Know the life expectancy and warranty period of the product to assess its long-term performance and reliability.

DLC 5.1 has important implications for lighting purchases. Consumers should select lighting products that meet their needs and satisfy high quality standards based on the latest technical requirements and the contents of the checklist.

Lighting UGR rating: an indicator to assess the glare level of a luminaire

Definition and role of UGR values

The Universal Glare Rating (UGR) is a parameter or value used to measure the level of glare from a luminaire or light fixture. It provides information about the psychological glare level of a luminaire on the visual perception in an interior space.UGR values typically range from 10 to 40 and are used to describe the level of glare. The UGR rating allows you to determine the potential for a particular light source to cause discomfort to those around it.

How the UGR value is determined

According to the European standard EN 12464-1 for indoor lighting, the UGR value is calculated based on the fittings and conventional patterns of the luminaire. A lower UGR rating indicates a lower level of glare, i.e. less discomfort.

Factors influencing the UGR value

In addition to the characteristics of the luminaire itself, there are a number of other factors that can influence the assessment of UGR values, including:

  • The size and shape of the space: The size and layout of the space has an effect on the distribution and reflection of light, which in turn affects the calculation of the UGR value.
  • The brightness of the surface walls: the brightness and reflective properties of the walls affect the reflection and refraction of light, which in turn has an impact on the UGR value.
  • Floors: The lighting requirements and light distribution may vary from floor to floor and therefore the UGR values may also vary.
  • Ceilings: The material and colour of the ceiling will affect the reflection and diffusion of light and therefore the UGR value.
  • Large areas: If there are large windows or glass walls in a space, they may cause too much natural light to enter the room and have an impact on the UGR value.

The lighting UGR rating is an important indicator of the level of glare from a luminaire. Understanding the UGR value and the factors that influence it can help us in lighting design and in selecting the right luminaire to provide a comfortable, glare-free lighting environment.

The importance of UGR ratings: creating a comfortable working environment

The importance of UGR ratings for lighting design

UGR ratings play a key role in lighting design and their importance is reflected in the following aspects:

  • Providing a comfortable working environment: Excessive brightness and glare can cause visual discomfort to workers, affecting productivity and comfort. By choosing luminaires with the appropriate UGR rating, a comfortable working environment can be created, increasing staff productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Protecting visual health: Glare can cause problems such as visual fatigue, headaches and eye discomfort. An appropriate UGR rating can help protect visual health by reducing the appearance of glare and reducing the load on the eyes.
  • Improved productivity: Working in a low-glare environment reduces visual distractions and improves concentration and productivity. An appropriate UGR rating ensures that light is evenly distributed across the work area, avoiding distractions and visual discomfort caused by glare.
  • Compliance with lighting standards and regulations: Many countries and regions have lighting standards and regulations that require workplace lighting to meet specific requirements. Compliance with these standards can be ensured by selecting luminaires that meet the appropriate UGR ratings.
  • Improving safety and reducing the risk of accidents: Proper lighting design provides good visibility and reduces shadows and blind spots in the workplace. By controlling glare levels, the occurrence of accidents and incidents can be reduced and the safety of the working environment improved.

UGR ratings have an important role to play in lighting design. By selecting luminaires that meet the appropriate UGR ratings, a comfortable, efficient and safe working environment can be created, increasing productivity and employee job satisfaction.

At the same time, compliance with lighting standards and regulations is an important factor in ensuring workplace compliance.

Measures to reduce UGR: upgrading lighting design

Measures to reduce UGR

There are a number of measures that can be taken during lighting design and installation to reduce UGR and provide a more comfortable and efficient lighting environment. The following are some of the measures that can be taken to reduce UGR:

  1. Optimise luminaire brightness: Reducing the perceived brightness of luminaires to the audience is one of the key steps in reducing UGR. You can choose lower wattage luminaires or adjust the beam angle to make the light more focused and reduce the glare effect.
  1. Increase background brightness: Increasing the background brightness can reduce the effects of glare. By increasing the level of lighting in surrounding areas, such as walls, ceilings or other surfaces, you can improve the overall lighting uniformity and reduce direct eye irritation.
  1. Control the position of luminaires: ensure that luminaires are positioned away from the users or occupants of the room to avoid direct exposure to their eyes. By selecting the appropriate height and angle of luminaire installation, the occurrence of glare can be reduced and visual comfort improved.
  1. Selecting the right luminaire: Take UGR ratings and light distribution into account when selecting luminaires. Choosing luminaires that have been designed and tested to reduce glare, such as products with good light control characteristics, can improve lighting.
  1. Use reflective materials: Using reflective materials to control and direct the reflection of light can reduce glare. Choose appropriate materials to regulate the brightness of walls, ceilings and floors to improve the uniformity of light distribution.

By optimising luminaire brightness, increasing background brightness, controlling the position of luminaires, choosing the right luminaires and using reflective materials, UGR can be effectively reduced and the comfort and visibility of the lighting design enhanced.

During installation, care should be taken to choose the location and type of luminaire to ensure that the light is evenly distributed and meets the needs and comfort of the user.

By optimising lighting design, we can effectively reduce UGR and create a comfortable and efficient lighting environment for the workplace. Measures such as choosing the right luminaire, controlling the position of the luminaire, increasing the background brightness and using reflective materials can significantly reduce the occurrence of glare and provide a more even, soft lighting effect.

When designing and installing lighting, we should focus on the comfort and visual needs of users to ensure they can work in a well-lit environment. By reducing UGR, we can create a more pleasant and healthy working environment for our employees, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Therefore, when planning lighting and purchasing lighting products, we should consider UGR ratings and lighting design principles in order to achieve the best lighting results and user experience.

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