Color Rendering Index: Why It’s important in Outdoor Lighting
September 23, 2016
When it comes to design, the Color Rendering Index (CRI) is an important aspect of any lighting consideration. Different light bulbs emit different colors of light – ranging from cool tones to warm. The CRI of a bulb is determined by comparing the appearance of a colored object under an artificial light source to its appearance under natural light. The higher the CRI, the truer the color presentation.
Why is CRI important in outdoor lighting?
When you select lighting options with high CRI, colors will pop, textures will stand out, and finishes have depth and luster. As such, many architects refer to lighting as the fourth element of good design.
Selecting a high CRI is important when designing outdoor spaces, too, because it allows us to create the desired ambiance – whether it be warm and inviting for entertainment or a tranquil niche for relaxing after a long day. With the onset of the vast capabilities of LEDs, outdoor features within a space can be accented by focusing the position of the light, as pictured here with post accent lights – and it all starts with the right bulb that shines a natural (high-CRI) light.
Great outdoor lighting design, however, is more than just varying the warmth of color coming from a bulb. A high CRI allows designers to create layers and textures of light. Outdoor LEDs can be used to create complex layers of light throughout your garden. Some of the more popular lighting techniques include spotlighting, highlighting, silhouetting, shadowing and grazing (with lights mounted at or above the ceiling). Using light to designate what’s most important intuitively draws attention to specific spaces. For instance, a home may be lit on the outside, but good lighting design will incorporate layers of light to clearly denote the pathway to the entrance.
The right lighting can turn a potential hazard, such as steps and walkways, into areas that are more easily navigated after dark. This is especially important for businesses that provide services for older individuals who have poor eyesight. In fact, more and more thought is being given to the type of lighting used in parking lots, parking garages and pedestrian walkways. Facilities that install high-CRI lighting feel more secure to pedestrians and drivers, and as more institutions, such as educational, medical and commercial, run operations after dark, this is an important consideration to creating a secure and welcoming environment.
As lighting technology continues to advance, we expect awareness to grow and the importance of the Color Rendering Index to continue to be a key element in outdoor lighting design.
Company: Feeney, Inc
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