Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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How do I specify and install lighting controls?

Older adults will require higher light levels and may have more sensitivity to glare. Because older adults cannot completely adapt to dim conditions, lighting controls should be used in transitional spaces, such as hallways and foyers, to provide high light levels during the day and low light levels at night. Lighting controls should also be used to help older adults get up in the middle of the night safely.

  • Provide a range of light levels in the space with a dimmer installed in the wall switch box.
  • Select only dimmable compact fluorescent lamps when installing this type of lamp in a luminaire controlled by an incandescent lamp dimmer. Luminaires designed for compact fluorescent lamps or linear fluorescent lamps need special dimming ballasts and controls. Check with manufacturers for more information on fluorescent dimming.
  • Install switches near room entrances and near the bed for easy access.
  • Install light switches with toggles that glow in the dark.
  • Use a motion sensor in the hallway that leads to the bathroom to automatically turn on a low-brightness luminaire.
A. B.

Dimmers (a) are typically used in residences to create different light levels in a space, and occupancy sensors (b) are typically used to save energy and to turn lights on without switches.

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