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Choosing Lighting Fixtures –
Indoor Lighting (Residential)

Replacing Lights in Your Kitchen

Most renovations start with the kitchen and bathroom — a smart idea since these are the rooms most often used in your home and those that give the best return on investment if you ever decide to sell.

A well-designed lighting system using energy-efficient lights and ENERGY STAR® qualified lights and matching fixtures in a wide array of sizes, wattages and colours can transform these functional rooms into inviting oases. It will also use less energy, thus saving you money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. ENERGY STAR is an international symbol for energy efficiency that will help you quickly identify the most energy-efficient products.

Using standard lighting techniques, a medium-sized kitchen requires between 200 and 300 watts of lighting. Energy-efficient fluorescents provide the same amount of light as standard incandescents or high-wattage recessed lights but use one third the energy, last longer and generate less heat.

Renovating Tips

  • Use T-8 fluorescent fixtures under cabinets to reduce countertop shadows.
  • Maximize daylight by positioning the sink in front of a window. Illuminate the sink area with recessed halogen or fluorescent valance lighting.
  • Use compact fluorescent globes in your suspended decorative pendant fixtures over your table, breakfast counter or island.
  • Install separate light switches for general use and specific tasks to confine the light to working areas.
  • Use dimmer switches on halogen lights to create different moods for cooking and entertaining.

Kitchen Fixtures for Ambience

Today's kitchen is much more than a place to cook. The kitchen can be a gathering place for a crowd or a quiet place to prepare and eat an intimate meal. Kitchen lighting, therefore, needs to be as inviting as it is functional. A range of fixtures can help you create the ambience you want, display the natural colours of foods, and provide the work light you need.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Under-cabinet lighting provides direct illumination of kitchen work surfaces. Under-cabinet fixtures are out of sight and positioned to minimize shadowing on countertops.

Recessed Ceiling Lighting

Recessed ceiling fixtures provide both accent and task lighting. These fixtures commonly come with incandescent bulbs, so they use more energy, generate more heat, and cost more to operate than ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Not all ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs are appropriate for recessed fixtures. Make sure the ones you use are labelled "Suitable for use in enclosed fixtures."

Ceiling Fixtures

Traditional ceiling domes and elegant close-to-ceiling fixtures provide general, indirect lighting from a central location. Complement these light sources with task lighting that targets high-use areas like countertops or sinks.

Pendant Fixtures

Hang pendant fixtures over high-use areas, like a table or breakfast nook. To control glare, hang a lamp above either side of a high-use area. To minimize shadows, avoid locating hanging fixtures too near cabinets or in areas that will cast light on the back of a person working in the kitchen.

Architectural Lighting

If you are constructing a new home or undertaking significant renovations, talk to your builder or contractor about designing and building light fixtures that blend into your home's architecture. Linear fluorescent fixtures can be built into spaces above cabinets, into exposed beams or behind decorative valances to create exactly the appearance and atmosphere you want, with excellent energy efficiency. Ask for energy-efficient linear fluorescent fixtures with T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts for high-quality lighting at an affordable price.

Renovating Your Bathroom

Most renovations start with the kitchen and bathroom – a smart idea since these are the rooms most often used in your home and those that give the best return on investment if you ever decide to sell.

A well-designed lighting system using energy-efficient lights and ENERGY STAR® qualified lights and matching fixtures in a wide array of sizes, wattages and colours can transform these functional rooms into inviting oases. It will also use less energy, thus saving you money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. ENERGY STAR is an international symbol for energy efficiency that will help you quickly identify the most energy efficient products.

Most bathroom lights are on for two hours a day. A medium-sized bathroom using standard lighting costs up to $20 a year in electricity. Replacing incandescent fixtures with three wall sconces and ENERGY STAR qualified 13-watt compact fluorescent lamps will result in more light and will cost only $7 a year.

Location

  • Use recessed vertical T-5 linear fluorescent lights with electronic dimming ballasts to eliminate shadows in the vanity area. Fluorescent lights with a rare-earth phosphor coating flatter the skin.
  • Install lights at the sides of mirrors rather than over or directly opposite them. Or use a single mirror fixture at least two feet long over a light-coloured counter top to eliminate shadows under the chin.
  • Highlight an elegant faucet and enhance the appearance of hands with a recessed low-voltage halogen spotlight aimed directly down on the sink.

Bright, uniform, high-quality light is necessary in the bathroom for dressing and grooming. Proper fixtures will accurately show the colours of skin, clothes and cosmetics. Place bath bar fixtures on either side of the mirror, or a single, wide fixture directly above it to avoiding casting shadows on faces. A ceiling fixture or soffit lighting works nicely for general room illumination. Quiet and efficient ENERGY STAR qualified ventilating fans can be used for mechanical ventilation.

Hallway Lighting

The main concern when lighting halls or stairways is to provide sufficient illumination for safety. Wall sconces are popular for these areas, as are ceiling fixtures and sometimes architectural lighting.

Family Room

In living or family rooms, where comfort and ambience are key considerations, use a minimum of general lighting — emphasize accent and task lighting instead. Start with accent lighting over bookshelves, special artwork, a fireplace or entertainment system. Add table, floor or recessed lights for reading areas. Complete the room with a close-to-ceiling fixture for general lighting, or an ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fan for air circulation.

Dining Room

When designing lighting for the dining room, consider how you use the space. If this is a rarely used formal area, indirect lighting may serve your needs. A single ceiling fixture over the table, recessed lights, ambient light behind a soffit or valance will provide formal dining rooms with soft, diffused illumination. If, however, the dining room table accommodates everything from nightly homework to annual tax preparation, supplement your general lighting with task lighting, such as a hanging pendant fixture or downward directed lights. A larger table may be better served by more than one fixture.

 

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.