DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LUMEN AND ILLUMINANCE BASICS AND TUTORIALS

Light output is measured in lumens. According to The American Heritage Dictionary of Science, a lumen is a unit of luminous flux equal to the amount of light from a source of one candela radiating equally in all directions. A candela is a unit of luminous intensity equal to 1/60 of the radiating power of one square centimeter of a black body at 1,772°C.

You can draw two conclusions from this information:
➤ The higher the lumen measurement, the more light you’ll have to work with from a fixture.
➤ Authors can easily get carried away when they have too many reference books at their disposal.

Illuminance, which is measured in foot-candles, is the amount of light hitting a point on a surface. A foot-candle is (easily enough) defined as the amount of light produced by one candle on a surface one foot away. We can’t see illuminance, but we do see luminance or brightness, although this is somewhat subjective.

(What appears to be dim light to me might be plenty bright to you.) Architects and lighting consultants take all these measurements into consideration when they calculate the lighting needs of buildings.


Comfortable lighting selections and light levels are determined by the tasks that require the lighting,
the distance between the light and the task, and the degree of glare.

One definition of glare is excessive contrast between the intensity of light on a particular
object or surface and the surrounding area or background; indirect glare is the glare produced from a reflective surface.

Too much contrast between them causes glare. (Computer screens are a common example.) You can reduce this glare by …
➤ Installing fixtures that keep the light level appropriate for the task at hand.
➤ Using a louver or a lens to block or redirect the light.
➤ Carefully considering the placement and spacing of light fixtures.

Another measurement of lighting quality is how well it enables you to see colors accurately. The better the color rendering, the more pleasing the living space.

Color-rendering capability is based, naturally enough, on the color-rendering index (CRI), which measures from 1 to 100. (Natural daylight measures at 100.)

The higher the rating on the CRI, the more lifelike and accurate the object being viewed.

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