Lighting In Retail Environment – SoundCloud

Lighting In Retail Environment – SoundCloud

We recently had Tom from Safecall Electrical Services pay us a visit to share his industry knowledge on lighting in a retail environment.

Who is Safecall Electrical Services?

Safecall Electrical Services is an electrical contractor operating throughout Adelaide in the domestic and commercial sector, specialising in domestic new builds, maintenance for businesses as well as shop fit outs and office spaces.

What is LED lighting? Why is it better?

LED (Light Emitting Diode) is a semiconductor allowing current to flow in one direction, converting electricity into light. Basically revolutionising the industry, LED lighting uses around 85% less energy than traditional types of lighting, including halogen, incandescent and fluorescent. To break it down, LEDs have a lifespan of 30,000-100,000 hours whereas fluorescents have a lifespan of 10,000-20,000 hours, halogen downlights 5,000-10,000 hours and incandescent 1,000 hours. Not only are LEDs more energy efficient, due to the extended lifespan lights won’t need to be replaced as often, saving money on hiring an electrician to replace the lights. When LEDs reach the end of their lifespan they don’t just die, instead run at 70%.

We recently had Tom from Safecall Electrical Services pay us a visit to share his industry knowledge on lighting in a retail environment.

Who is Safecall Electrical Services?

Safecall Electrical Services is an electrical contractor operating throughout Adelaide in the domestic and commercial sector, specialising in domestic new builds, maintenance for businesses as well as shop fit outs and office spaces.

What is LED lighting? Why is it better?

LED (Light Emitting Diode) is a semiconductor allowing current to flow in one direction, converting electricity into light. Basically revolutionising the industry, LED lighting uses around 85% less energy than traditional types of lighting, including halogen, incandescent and fluorescent. To break it down, LEDs have a lifespan of 30,000-100,000 hours whereas fluorescents have a lifespan of 10,000-20,000 hours, halogen downlights 5,000-10,000 hours and incandescent 1,000 hours. Not only are LEDs more energy efficient, due to the extended lifespan lights won’t need to be replaced as often, saving money on hiring an electrician to replace the lights. When LEDs reach the end of their lifespan they don’t just die, instead run at 70%.

Do I need a lighting designer or can I use an electrician?

Depending on the size of the store, you might need a lighting designer or simply an electrical contractor. If it’s a large store e.g. a national chain, a lighting designer will be necessary to look at the different levels of lighting and regulatory minimums (lumens per square metre). They’ll also allow for the fact that, as mentioned, the lights start at 100% but in five-ten years time will reduce to 70%. This means a brand new store is initially going to be brighter than it needs to be. For smaller stores e.g. a concept store, the knowledge of an electrical contractor should suffice.

What are the different levels of lighting?

If you consider a massage parlour for example, they might have a retail and POS section at the front of the store and a service section at the back – this requires different levels of lighting. So what are different levels of lighting?

  1. General, or ambient, lighting is the store’s main lighting (broad spectrum light). You want your staff and customers to feel comfortable. Staff need to complete general tasks such as stock shelves and clean and customers need to be able to navigate your store and see products and read signs and labels easily. In saying this, you don’t want to overdo it as it might give off a clinical feel and put customers off.
  2. Accent lighting is used to highlight and showcase particular features or products by drawing the customer’s attention. Accent lighting can be used for window lights, banners or light boxes for a particularly special product in bespoke stores. Accent lighting should luminate twice as much light as the general lighting and It’s important for the lighting to have a high CRI (Colouring Rendering Index) to show products in their true form. We will go into more detail on this further down.
  3. Task lighting is focused light used in mixed use retail spaces. It’s lighting used for specific tasks, for example back of house pharmacy, a phone repair shop or optometrist rooms for testing eyesight. These are places where a higher level of lighting is necessary for the task. Generally, task lighting should luminate three times more than the general lighting.
  4. Decorative lighting is the fun lighting. This is where you can show your store or brand’s personality using feature lighting such as pendant lights. The purpose is to create a welcoming space while creating a statement. You want to attract people into your store by having a really brightly lit entrance and a great feature display at the front or an impressive pendant over the point of sale.

It’s how you blend the four types of lighting that will set you apart from other stores. It’s about layering the different lighting and creating contrast using different illuminate levels. It’s the industry knowledge that will help you achieve these levels of lighting. For example, washing the walls with light and lighting up racks down an aisle using downlights to encourage people to walk to the end. It’s about creating a flow to the store and guiding people where you want them to go.

What is Colour Rendering Index (CRI)?

CRI is the spectrum of light in a light source or the measurement of light in relation to how it affects the appearance of colour. It’s an index that compares how your light source compares to natural light e.g. sunlight. Sunlight contains all the spectrum of light whereas an LED  contains some spectrums, but in all different values. It might have a higher amount of red light or blue light and that affects how you perceive a product or merchandise. Low CRI won’t show up the depth and contrast of colours so when you’re highlighting a product you have to have high CRI to show its truest form.

Further on from CRI is colour temperature. Using CRI you can create a colour temperature to suit the vibe of the particular store. The lower the kelvin the more red/orange the light and the higher the kelvin the more neutral/bright light. For example, for an intimate or luxurious vibe you want a lower kelvin.To break it down, candle light is around 1,500K, halogen downlights 3000K, neutral light or daylight 4000K and once you’re up into 5,000-7,000K you’re getting into those real bright, white lights that create a feeling of vast space. It’s important to try and use one temperature throughout the store for consistency.

Budget

Often overlooked by lighting designers is the actual budget. Because they’re designing to so many standards, sometimes the client budget goes out the window and then when the plans are brought to the electrician the client is often surprised by the cost of the products. This is when the expertise and product knowledge of the electrician comes in. It’s a matter of looking at the specified product and finding an alternative that will achieve the same look and feel within the budget. You might have to compromise slightly on CRI but it’s about knowing where to put the budget and which areas to highlight. The projects that run the smoothest are the ones that are communicated effectively from the beginning to avoid costly mistakes and wasting time.

Before beginning it’s important to look at the reason for the project. Is it a quick upgrade? Is it to reduce costs? If so, contact your electrical contractor for small tweaks and changes. A good start is looking into a program by the government called Rees (Retail Energy Efficiency Scheme). It’s for commercial business to help reduce energy costs and make the move from fluros to LED. If you’re wanting to change the entire vibe of the store or increase sales and customer retention it might be necessary to hire a lighting designer. You might want to change the starkness or glare as if it’s too clinical or over illuminated, it might give customers a headache therefore reduce customer retention and sales.

Brand Knowledge

When it comes to brands, sometimes the cheaper products end up being more expensive as they can be harder to install therefore the labour cost increases. In contrast, sometimes light fittings specified by designers are great fittings but are hard to install so an electrical contractor might have an equivalent product from a preferred brand – again, this is why industry knowledge is key.

Different lights serve different purposes and talking to the experts, whether that’s a designer or electrician, will ensure you’ll get the right product for your space. Tom recommends Unios products as they’re good for CRI, mid range in price and have a warranty of 3-7 years. They’re solidly built and great for heat dissipation. Haneco is also another quality product, more upmarket than Unios and designed for longevity. If you’re in Adelaide Tom recommends visiting Troy from LED Outdoor in Kent Town or Inlite on Fullarton Road.

The future is…

  1. Technology. As everything is, when it comes to lighting things are of course getting more technologically advanced. For example, the use of control systems including a new system called Bluetooth mesh – utilising wireless communication instead of manually wiring fittings together. It can also be managed from a smartphone.
  2. Dimmers, timers and lux sensors – although they’ve been around for a while, they are convenient, cost effective and better for the environment. Dimmers are useful for a constant level of luminance e.g. if you’ve got a nice level of natural light at a specific time during the day then you don’t need LED on full at that time.
  3. The digital age – as online shopping grows stores need the wow factor to give people a reason to visit. It’s important to create an experience that leaves customers wanting to come back.

Thanks to Tom from Safecall Electrical Services for sharing his in-depth industry knowledge. If you have any questions regarding lighting design or another topic about interior construction please get in touch with us at hello@croudaceconstructs.com

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