Tricks Of The Trade: Color Temperature Recommendations

Tricks Of The Trade: Color Temperature Recommendations | Facility Executive - Creating Intelligent Buildings
TFM Columnist Jim Elledge takes a look at light temperatures.

Tricks Of The Trade: Color Temperature Recommendations


Tricks Of The Trade: Color Temperature Recommendations

By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the March 2010 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q What is the recommended color temperature for fluorescent lights used in mechanical spaces such as generator rooms, plumbing plant rooms, AHU rooms, etc.??

Ramish Rajoo


A have not found any obvious standards for lighting temperatures. Usually, the temperature selected relates to the type of desired mood for the area being lit. Lighting for offices in buildings tends to be in the cooler temperature range, according to the Designlights Consortium. Here are the specifications they recommend for offices:

    •    Minimum Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80
    •    Color temperature of 3500 Kelvin. Note: generic color code “835” means CRI of 80+ and color temperature of 3500.
    •    Mean lamp lumens (at 40% of rated life) at least 94% of initial lumens.

Meanwhile, the Engineering ToolBox has the following recommended light levels based on the type of work or activity being performed indoors, broken down by activity and iIllumination (lux, lumen/m2 or illuminance and lumens per square meter):
    •    Public areas with dark surroundings: 20 to 50
    •    Simple orientation for short visits: 50 to 100
    •    Working areas where visual tasks are only occasionally performed: 100 to 150
    •    Warehouses, homes, theaters, archives: 150
    •    Easy office work and traditional classes: 250
    •    Normal office work, computer work, study areas in libraries, groceries, showrooms, laboratories: 500
    •    Supermarkets, mechanical workshops, office landscapes: 750
    •    Normal drawing work, detailed mechanical workshops, operation theaters: 1,000
    •    Detailed drawing work and very detailed mechanical work: 1,500 to 2,000
    •    Performance of visual tasks of low contrast and very small size conducted over  prolonged periods of time: 2,000 to 5,000
    •    Performance of very prolonged and exacting visual tasks: 5,000 to 10,000
    •    Performance of very special visual tasks of extremely low contrast and small size: 10,000 to 20,000.



Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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