Ceiling Fluorescent Lamp, delamping

Do you remember the last time you walked into a building that was simply too bright? If you are like most Americans, you have walked into an “overlamped” office or store. You may have found yourself squinting as the light reflects off white surfaces and perhaps even left with a mild headache. Unfortunately, many of today’s offices suffer from overlamped fluorescent light bays. The good news is that you can avoid this trend at your office by delamping your indoor office space. Below is a look at the delamping process and the benefits it can bring to your office environment.

Exactly what is delamping?

Delamping is the process of removing or disabling one or more lights within a fluorescent light bay in order to reduce brightness and glare. Delamping is typically performed when there is too much lighting per square foot, which can compromise viewing conditions and the health of employees. Ideally, delamping helps business owners control glare and achieve the “right amount of light” as described below:

“Whether designing lighting or daylighting, the principal objective is to ensure that there is the right amount of light with appropriate limits to glare… Because glare is physiological and can cause intense physical response, there are occasions when glare is wanted, such as scanning a concert audience with a spotlight to heighten the excitement…But for most architectural lighting and daylighting, effective methods of glare control and prevention are essential to good lighting practices.”

James R. Benya, Architectural Lighting

Why are more facilities delamping and seeking natural lighting options?

A growing number of businesses are taking strides to create a more healthy viewing environment for employees and visitors. From increased eye comfort to a healthier bottom line, delamping can improve life at the office for workers. Here are just a few of the reasons why business owners are strategically reducing the amount of light provided in their facilities.

1) Reduced eye discomfort

A rising number of Americans are being diagnosed with photophobia, a condition marked by eye discomfort that develops as a result of exposure to light. Overexposure to fluorescent light, LED bulbs, and glare can all worsen the effects of this condition. Delamping helps alleviate this discomfort by reducing the amount of light per square foot.

2) Increased sales and productivity

“In 1993 a new Wal-mart building was erected in Oklahoma. It was designed with half daylighting via skylights in one half of the building. Sales tracking later showed that ‘sales pressure (sales per square foot) was significantly higher for those departments located in the day-lit half of the store.’27 This significant increase was supported by existing sales data which was compared with data from the same departments and products in other Wal-mart stores.27″

– Anthea Court, MBA, The Joanna Briggs Institute

Studies show that sales and productivity increase are higher when employees are exposed to natural lighting as opposed to standard fluorescent lighting found in department stores and offices. Delamping can help bolster productivity by allowing any natural light to shine through.

3) Fewer headaches 

According to the National Headache Foundation, fluorescent lights are a key trigger for migraine headaches. Researchers point to the invisible pulsing nature of fluorescent lighting as a potential reason why fluorescent lighting triggers migraine headaches. Fluorescent lighting is also associated with other types of headaches such as cluster headaches and tension headaches.

4) Improved energy efficiency

“Delamping is one fairly simple way to reduce energy. As the name suggests, it’s done by removing unnecessary light bulbs/fixtures in areas that are producing greater-than-needed illumination. First a lighting assessment must be made, then calculations are performed in order to meet the Illuminating Engineering Society requirements.”

Boston University Sustainability

Today’s businesses are more focused than ever on energy efficiency. Delamping is a great way for virtually all types of businesses to reduce energy, helping businesses lower their electric bills and bolstering eligibility for tax credits that are awarded to energy efficient businesses.

What are some common errors made during the delamping process?

Clearly, delamping offers many benefits. However, sometimes facility managers attempt to forge ahead with the delamping process without considering alternatives to bulb removal. In some cases, the delamping process is undertaken without examining the ballast wiring. Essentially, a person simply begins removing lamps without considering the structure of the fixture. This can cause the following problems:

  • Unevenly distributed light 
  • Flickering among remaining lamps
  • A shortened life span of the lamps that remain

In order to avoid these problems, facility managers should carefully examine the light to see whether the ballast is wired in series. If that is the case, then all lamps should be removed for that ballast in order to prevent flickering or uneven light distribution. Additionally, facility managers should always ensure that light is properly distributed after delamping. Otherwise, work performance could suffer.

What is the single best way to provide a healthy viewing environment?

As outlined above, delamping can help improve your indoor viewing environment. However, the delamping process requires time and errors are common. A more attractive alternative to the delamping process is to install light diffusers in your office and home. Installing light diffusers is a straightforward process that produces fast and natural results. As the nation’s most trusted provider of light diffusers, Sky-Scapes offers an extensive array of light diffusers that are both affordable and easy to install. Here are just a few of the many designs that we offer:

  • Land scenery
  • Animals
  • Clouds
  • Kid-themed designs
  • Astronomy 
  • Ocean scenery

We invite you to contact us at Sky-Scapes to find out how we can help you create a healthier viewing environment. Our team of lighting experts will introduce you to the many decorative fluorescent light diffusers that we offer and help you select a style that will compliment your office environment. We will also provide support and guidance during the installation process so you will be pleased with your results. Whether you operate a retail store, a daycare center, or a healthcare facility, we look forward to helping you enhance your work environment!