Light glare is a significant problem, causing eye strain in offices, ugly lighting in high end homes, and safety hazards in warehouses.
While cheap LED lights cause glare, which can lead to headaches, eye strain, fatigue and limit our ability to see, high-quality LEDs will have a low glare rating, such as Brightgreen’s D700+ Downlights.
What is glare?
Glare is a disruption of sight, for example a reduction of visibility or difficulty seeing, caused by too much illumination being discharge from a light source. It can be caused by both natural and artificial light.
Driving a car provides a good example of both natural and artificial glare. When driving early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the sun can cause glare that makes it difficult to see. Likewise, headlights from an oncoming vehicle can cause glare, especially if the driver forgets to take off their high beams.
There are four types of glare:
- Direct Glare is when you look straight into a light.
- Reflective Glare is when the light is reflected into the eye, such as from glass or a mirror.
- Discomfort Glare results in irritation in the observer, such as when you squint or rub the eyes.
- Disability Glare is temporary blindness as a result of light glare. This has significant safety impacts, including accident (especially when driving) or ongoing sight difficulties (from regular exposure to glare).
How is glare measured?
The measurement used to determine glare is called UGR and is calculated with a complex formula. UGR is determined by a number of factors, including:
- spacing of the lights
- beam angle of the lights
- position of the viewer
- background brightness/contrast
Many companies are now marketing their products as ‘URG 19’; however, this is not very accurate because UGR is dependent on the way your LED lights are installed, for example, the height and spacing.
Australian glare standards: are your LED lights compliant?
In Australia, there are standards that mandate the maximum acceptable glare in certain areas, but many LED lights are not compliant with these standards. Lights that cause glare can be harmful, to people and wildlife.
There are two key areas of concern: exterior and interior lighting.
Carparks and outdoor areas
Carparks and outdoor areas are governed by AS 4282 – Control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting. Frequently, LED floodlights are installed that cause glare to neighbouring properties and are not compliant with Australian standards.
Good quality LED floodlights have special forward-throw optics so they can point straight down. As well as reducing glare, this also limits wasted light.
Offices must have a UGR of no more than 19, as per AS 1680 – Interior and workplace lighting. Unfortunately, the majority of LED panels installed in Australian offices are not compliant and have a UGR of 22 or higher.
The best way to achieve low glare is to have a narrow beam angle and special optics. This means the light won’t shine in your eyes unless you are directly below it and looking up.
This video provides a simple overview of how to choose low-glare downlights.
Austep’s top pick: Brightgreen D700+ Downlight
Our absolute favourite LED light for reducing glare is the award-winning Brightgreen D700+ Downlight. The Brightgreen D700+ features:
- 7-years warranty
- Low-glare design
- The D700+ has a UGR of 10 in spaces where other so-called ‘low-glare’ downlights have a UGR of 19.
- This is created through a low-glare lens; a smooth, directional beam; and, a deep-recessed design.
- Airtight universal gimballing system
- Provides control over beam direction, while preventing conditioned air to escape.
- Design flexibility
- Comes in a range of styles, colours and lighting effects, including interchangeable fascias and filters.
- Choice of multiple colour temperatures
- Available in 3000K and 4000K, with the Nightshift dim-to-warm system providing 1800K to 3100K.
For a more comprehensive look at how to reduce glare and create comfortable interiors with lighting, check out this useful whitepaper.
If you’d like to reduce glare from your lighting, be it outside or in an office space or a home, contact Austep Lighting on 07 3147 8783 to discuss your needs.