Buying Guides

Guide to Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is lighting that works during a power cut, normally using a battery for up to 3 hours of standby power. Emergency lights might be anything from green signage lights to everyday fittings that blend into standard lighting schemes.

Escape & Standby

Emergency lighting falls into one of two categories: escape lighting or standby lighting.
Standby lighting allows work to continue during a power loss, but is not a legal requirement.
Escape lighting is far more critical and subdivided into three categories:

  • Escape route lighting identifies and lights exit routes and enables safe evacuation of a building.
  • Open area (anti-panic) lighting is intended to avoid panic in large spaces (above 60m²) where occupants are likely to gather.
  • High risk task area lighting enables hazardous processes to be closed down so that operators or occupants are not put at needless/further risk.

Emergency lights and their roles are defined by British Standard 5266-1, which is a code of practice for emergency lighting. Up-to-date advice on how to conform to this standard is available for download (PDF) from the ICEL website.

Maintained & Non-Maintained

Emergency lights generally come in maintained or non-maintained forms:

    • A maintained emergency light functions as a regular fitting but stays switched on during a power cut.
    • A non-maintained light is kept switched off and only triggers when the mains supply is lost.

Maintained lights are required in premises where visitors may be unfamiliar with their surroundings (e.g. cinemas, nightclubs, public buildings), while non-maintained lights are used more in private workplaces.

Please take a look at our full range of Emergency Lighting.
For more advice, inspiration and news, check our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Buying Guides

Cheap imported LED lighting – is it worth the risk?

The global LED market has exploded in recent years as the benefits of LED bulbs over traditional CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and incandescent bulbs have become more widely recognised. As a result, the demand for cheap LED lighting has rocketed, with many consumers looking to lower-priced imports as a cost-cutting solution. But whilst everyone loves a bargain, price should not be at the expense of safety.

What to look out for when buying LED bulbs online:

When selling electrical products in Europe and the UK, there are numerous legislative requirements and trading standards that must be met by manufacturers. One of the main risks when buying cheap imported products online is that they may not meet these standards, making them unreliable at best, potentially lethal at worst. When buying products online, be sure to check that they meet the necessary standards and legislations, including:

  • the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 which ensures that all electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits is safe to use
  • a CE marking which allows manufacturers to legally market and distribute products within the European Market, and declares that the products comply with all applicable European Directives and Regulations
  • the BSI Kitemark which is an optional certification for emergency lighting, luminaires, and LED retrofit bulbs. Manufacturers can use the BSI Kitemark to differentiate their products from their competitors, using it as proof of quality, safety and reliability.

Dangers of buying cheap products online

In recent years, thousands of cheap, potentially dangerous LED bulbs have been intercepted at ports, airports and postal hubs across the country. Between July – November 2014, National Trading Standards reported that 64% of LED bulbs tested across various UK border points were found to be unsafe or noncompliant.

In a case reported on the BBC’s Fake Britain in 2015, a shipment of 1,000 LED bulbs, imported from China, was intercepted at the Port of Felixstowe. When tested, a sample of these products were found to have inadequate insulation, as well as exposed wiring and metal bodies, making them extremely dangerous.

Tips for buying safe online:

National Trading Standards offer some useful advice when shopping online for LEDs, including:

  • look closely at the website on which you are shopping – is it a genuine business with a UK address and phone number? If in doubt, move on
  • if prices look too good to be true, they probably are
  • if you believe a seller is pushing potentially dangerous goods, report it to the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service.

When buying lighting products online, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be more true. Whilst the promise of cheap bulbs may prove a tempting proposition for many, safety must always be the number one consideration and you should always use a trusted supplier such as Lyco: http://www.lyco.co.uk/led-lighting.html

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Buying Guides

Landlords, is your emergency lighting up to scratch?

When it comes to fire safety, landlords have certain legal obligations to which they must adhere in order to ensure the protection of their property and the safety of their tenants.

As part of these obligations, landlords must make sure that all emergency routes and exits are adequately lit by emergency lighting, in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – the key legislation that drives the implementation of fire safety systems within non-domestic premises. All emergency lighting systems must also adhere to a number of British and European standards, details of which can be found in our emergency lighting guide.

What is emergency lighting?

In simplest terms, emergency lighting is battery backed lighting that switches on automatically when a building experiences a power outage. There are two main types of emergency lighting; emergency escape lighting, and standby lighting. Standby lighting allows normal work to continue after a power failure, but does not form part of a building’s fire protection.

Emergency escape lighting

Emergency escape lighting is defined by The British Standards Institution (BSI) as ‘that part of emergency lighting that is provided to enable safe exit in the event of failure of the normal supply’. Emergency escape lighting is part of the fire safety provision of a building, and a requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and is subdivided into the following three areas:

  • Escape route lighting – Escape route lighting ensures exits can be easily identified and used by occupants in the event of an emergency. Emergency sign boxes are a common example of emergency escape route lighting.

Eterna 8W Emergency Exit Box SignEterna 8W Emergency Exit Box Sign

  • Open area lighting – The main aim of open area lighting is to reduce panic in the event of an emergency and help occupants reach an area where an emergency exit can be found. Bulkhead lights are a common solution for open area emergency lighting.
  • High risk task area lighting – High risk task area lighting is less relevant for landlords as it is the part of the emergency escape lighting system that aids the safety of those who are carrying out a potentially dangerous task at the time of an emergency. This could include anyone using dangerous machinery or equipment that could endanger the user or other people if not shutdown properly.

Points of emphasis – lighting the way

The critical areas of an emergency escape route are called ‘points of emphasis’. An emergency escape lighting system should cover the following areas:

  • Emergency exit doors
  • Exit and safety signs
  • All flights of stairs
  • Changes in floor level
  • Changes of direction
  • Intersections of corridors/escape routes
  • Fire alarm call points
  • First aid posts
  • Firefighting equipment
  • Outside and near (within 2m) each final exit

The risk of getting it wrong

Non-compliance with emergency lighting standards and legislation can result in heavy fines or worse for landlords and property agents, not to mention posing a significant risk to tenants. Earlier this year the owner of a Nottingham-based letting company was fined £200,000 and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment after admitting to a number of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which included, amongst other things, a failure to provide adequate emergency lighting.

To avoid the risk of fines or worse, landlords should ensure they routinely review their emergency lighting in keeping with recent legislation and emergency lighting standards.

Lyco offers a wide range of emergency lighting solutions, including emergency fittings, exit signs conversion kits and more, to help landlords fulfill their obligations and keep their tenants safe. Further information about emergency lighting more generally can be found in this guide, compiled by the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL).

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Buying Guides

CFL Bulbs – a handy guide

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is a slim fluorescent tube folded or twisted into a small size. This type of bulb first emerged in the 1980s, but never sold in the desired numbers. Since then, the appearance of CFLs and their quality of light have been greatly improved.

Advantages to CFL

LED technology is better in some respects than fluorescent, but both offer major advantages over filament lighting. Here are some CFL benefits:

  • A CFL uses about 70% less energy than an equivalent halogen bulb and is often close to LED technology for efficiency.
  • A CFL emits light in all directions, so it is a natural replacement for incandescent lighting. (Tip: always check the size of a CFL against your light fitting before buying, as the bulbs tend to be a bit larger than originals.)
  • The lifespan of a CFL is usually between 8,000 and 20,000 hours, which is 8 to 20 times longer than most traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • CFLs are still cheaper, on average, than LED bulbs. They needn’t cost much more than halogen when sourced from a specialist seller such as Lyco.
  • CFLs emit a soft light that flatters nearby decor.

The main drawbacks of a CFL are lack of dimmability and the warm-up time needed to reach full power.

CFL examples: lamp types

The various CFLs available include the following:

    • A 2D lamp produces lots of light for slim fittings such as bulkheads. Note that 4-pin CFLs are usually dimmable, which is rare in CFLs (requires dimmable control gear in the fitting).
    • Pin-fitting CFLs are used in dedicated low-energy fittings. Just to confuse you, these bulbs are named differently according to brand. If you’re looking for a specific pinned CFL and have a code, find it quickly with our handy CFL code look-up chart.
    • Spirals and sticks have standard bayonet or screw-fit bases. Their look takes some getting used to, but is often hidden anyway by shades. Decorative  bulbs are designed to be seen and is a popular choice in hospitality settings and homes.
    • GLS bulbs are available in CFL form, and they make a good replacement for incandescent bulbs with their bright, omnidirectional light. Our Low Energy GLS Bulbs last 5 times longer than most original filament bulbs while costing only a little more.
    • CFL candles tend to be slightly larger than other types of candles and don’t have a clear finish (sometimes preferred for decorative fittings). They do emit a soft light with little glare, however, which makes them ideal for eye-level fittings as well as some ceiling lights.
    • Golf balls and globes are both sold in CFL form. A CFL like the Low Energy Globe is usually used in open ceiling lights and emits enough light for a large room.
    • CFL reflectors replace the incandescent reflectors often used in ceiling lights. Like the originals, their reflective interior coating gathers light and creates a spotlighting effect. Unlike the originals, they are energy efficient.

Feel free to browse our full range of energy saving CFL bulbs.

For more advice and guidance take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Buying Guides

Daylight Tubes Explained

Daylight tubes are fluorescent lamps that emit light with a natural daylight colour. Daylight seems neutral to our eyes, especially in the middle of the day, but in fact it’s a cool bluish white. It has a colour temperature of between 5000K and 6500K. The higher the figure along the kelvin (K) scale, the cooler or bluer the light is. Most daylight bulbs and tubes are rated at around 6500K.

Daylight benefits

A chief benefit of using daylight tubes is that the light looks brighter and more natural than other artificial lighting and is less likely to cause eyestrain. Cool white light also increases alertness and concentration, making it ideal for offices and schools. It’s a good choice for high productivity and exam success. You’ll find it in city cafés, too, where fast customer turnaround is needed.

An example of how light colour affects us is seen in a computer screen. This is effectively a 6500K light that upsets sleep patterns if used late at night. The reason we have warmer lights in the home, generally, is that they help us unwind at the end of each day. Daylight is for our busier times.

Daylight tubes v SAD tubes

You can think of SAD tubes as enhanced daylight tubes. They’re used to help or prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder: a form of depression caused by lack of exposure to daylight.

Like regular daylight tubes, SAD tubes emit a daylight coloured light, but they are more consistent at bringing out natural colours in surrounding items. This superior colour rendering also makes them useful in settings such as art studios, photo labs or print shops.

Tube sizes

The most popular fluorescent tube sizes are the T5 and T8. The ‘T’ tells you the lamp is tubular, and the digit indicates the tube’s width in eighths of an inch (e.g. the T8 has a 1” diameter).

Fluorescent tubes generally increase in energy efficiency the thinner they get, to the extent that some compete with LED technology. You can see that in the G.E. 28W High Efficiency T5 Daylight Tube, which produces an impressive 87.5 lumens of light per watt.

T8 tubes are popular partly because they replace phased-out T12 tubes in older fittings. The two use identical caps for connection. To extract the best possible performance and lifespan from a T8 tube, modern high-frequency (HF) fittings are recommended.

Positive light

Poor lighting is dismal in a home and creates a downcast mood in a workplace. Daylight tubes or SAD tubes produce lots of natural-looking light for work or pastimes and will put you in a better place. They’re also cheap to buy and run.

Why not take a look at our current range of daylight tubes.

For more advice, inspiration and news take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Buying Guides

IP Ratings – The definitive guide

When you look at the description or specification of a piece of electrical or electronic equipment you will quite often find that an IP Rating is quoted. It consists of the letters IP and a two digit number. IP simply stands for “Ingress Protection” and the number indicates the degree of protection that has been provided to the item of equipment.

The reason why IP Ratings exist is basically twofold. First and foremost is the safety of persons using or coming into contact with the equipment. The most obvious example here is protection against the ingress of water. Everyone knows that water and high voltage electricity are a very dangerous combination so any electrical equipment used in a wet environment needs to be well sealed to keep its electrical parts dry. The second issue is the life expectancy of the equipment itself. Using the same example, it won’t work for long if water can get into it.

Of course water is not the only thing that needs to be kept out of electrical devices. Casings or enclosures need to be sealed against intrusion by tools and fingers as well as keeping out dust and foreign bodies of all kinds.

International Standard

IP ratings are internationally recognized and are defined by International Standard EN60529 (British BS EN60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989), so the numbers that follow the letters IP, mean the same everywhere. The meaning assigned to each digit is quite specific.

Digit 1

The first digit deals with both the level of protection afforded to people from moving parts and the degree of protection for the equipment inside from foreign bodies.

<td width=”67″ valign=”top”1st Digit

Protection against solid objects

O

Not protected

1

Protected against solid objects greater than 50mm (e.g. hands)

2

Protected against solid objects greater than 12mm (e.g. fingers)

3

Protected against solid objects greater than 2.5mm (e.g. tools)

4

Protected against solid objects greater than 1mm (e.g. wires)

5

Protected against dust (where there is sufficient amount to interfere with teh satisfactory operation of the equipment)

6

Total protection against dust

X

Indicates that protection against solid objects is not defined

Digit 2

The second digit refers to the level of protection provided against various degrees of moisture such as drips, submersion in water, sprays and so on.

2nd Digit

Protection against liquids

0

Not protected

1

Protected against dripping water greater than 50mm (drip proof)

2

Protected against dripping water when titled up to 15°

3

Protected against spraying water (rain proof)

4

Protected against splashing water (splash proof)

5

Protected against water jets from any direction (jet proof)

6

Protected against heavy seas

7

Protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m

8

Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

Bathroom Zones are dictated by IP ratings

For most of us the IP ratings of lighting equipment take on the greatest degree of relevance when we are considering the purchase of lighting for either outdoor situations or in bathrooms, where moisture is the great enemy. Bathrooms are actually divided into zones for electrical safety purposes. Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower cubicle and requires at least IP67 and must be low voltage. Zone 1 covers an area up to 2.25 metres above the bath and requires IP44 plus an RCD device if mains voltage. Further from likely contact with water is Zone 2 where IP44 is the minimum rating allowed. Beyond that is Zone 3 or Outside Zones where an IP rating is not normally required. For a more in-depth look at this topic take a look at our Bathroom Zones – what can go where guide.

Suggestions

Lyco always quotes IP ratings on all relevant products and you can check these against the above chart to confirm the suitability for the particular location. Let’s take a look at some examples.

The Carina is a 28W flush fitting ceiling or wall light, which is ideal for basic bathroom lighting and is rated at IP44. The first figure 4 means that it is protected against intrusion by solid objects bigger than 1mm such as fine tools and obviously, fingers. The second figure 4 refers to moisture protection and tells you that it is protected against water spray from any direction which is why it is suitable for general bathroom lighting. It’s ideal for stairwells and corridors too using low energy bulbs for economy.

If you need something even better protected for somewhere like a swimming pool or outdoor car park you should consider the 5ft Twin T8 Weatherproof Fluorescent Fittings  with its sealed casing rated IP65.  That’s 6 because it is totally dust tight and the 5 means it’s protected against low pressure water jets from any direction.

Ground lights in drives and pathways may need to withstand weight as well as getting submerged in water from time to time. The Albany Submersible Ground Light fulfils these requirements admirably. Its rating of IP68 means that it is dust tight and is protected against continuous total immersion in water which also makes it ideal for use in water features.

Whatever your particular requirements, check them against the chart to make sure you get the right IP rating for the job. That way you and your customers will be safe and you’ll get the best life out of the products you choose.

Looking for more news, information or inspiration? Try our Lighting Advice section.

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.

Buying Guides

What Are Fire Rated Downlights?

The most common questions we get on downlights relate to the term “fire rated”. It’s a really important point, so here’s a simple explanation of what it means and how it applies.

What is a fire rated downlight?

In any building, a ceiling helps slow the spread of fire. The ceiling will have a fire rating depending on how well it slows the spread of fire. If you install a recessed downlight into a ceiling, chances are you are reducing that fire rating. The hole you cut for the fitting lets flames spread between floors more easily, often causing the ceiling to collapse within a few minutes instead of the usual half hour or more.

A fire rated downlight includes special materials that expand when heated and seal the cutout. This slows the fire long enough for anyone overhead to escape.

Does every downlight have to be fire rated?

Downlights should be fire rated to protect people on the floors above and aid evacuation. Slowing the spread of fire makes escape easier for all concerned and reduces risk of harm from falling debris.

You can use a standard downlight with a fire hood, but this often ends up being more expensive.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recommends that fire rated options should be used in all buildings even though fire resistant downlights aren’t legally needed under a roof void (e.g. An empty loft).

What fire rating do I need?

The fire rating of a downlight has to match the fire rating of the ceiling, maintaining its minimum period of fire resistance. Luckily, most downlights are tested for up to 90 minutes of fire resistance, which is enough for most ceilings in most buildings.

Tables A1 and A2 of Part B Building Regulations volume 1 (dwellings) and volume 2 (commercial) provide specific info on this topic if you need it.

Product samples

Below are three ranges of downlights sold by Lyco.

Downlights Versofit

Megaman VersoFIT

The VersoFIT range comes from leading manufacturer Megaman, which specialises in energy efficient bulbs. Notable features of this superb downlight range include:

  • Replaceable LED module so the fitting can be maintained for longer
  • Fire rating of 90 minutes
  • Lifespan of 30,000 hours
  • Available in a fixed and 12.5 degree tilt option for directional lighting
  • Megaman honeycomb lens for minimal glare, improved focus and beam control, and traditional GU10 look
  • All fittings are dimmable
  • Manufacturer’s guarantee of 4 years

JCC Fireguard

The JCC Fireguard range offers a wide selection of options, including an emergency model. Its selling points include:

  • Lifespan of 75,000 hours in some models—whole fitting must be replaced at end of service
  • IP65 rated for bathroom suitability
  • Long commercial guarantee of 5 years and domestic guarantee of 10 years
  • Diverse range with dimmable, non-dimmable, square, round, fixed, and tiltable models
  • All products fully tested for 30, 60, and 90 minute fire-rated ceilings

Robus Fixed Downlight with Lyco LED Bulb

Offering amazing value, we stock a Robus fixed downlight with a high quality Lyco LED GU10. This solution offers several advantages:

  • Fire rated for up to 90 minutes
  • Replaceable light bulb to extend the lifespan of the fitting
  • Bulb lifespan of 25,000 hours (included bulb)
  • Guarantee of 3 years

For more useful information and buying guides visit our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Buying Guides

Waiting Room Lights For Medical Or Dental

We’ve all spent anxious moments of our lives in the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists. For patients and their friends or family, it’s helpful to relax as much as possible before consultation or treatment. A well-kept, well-lit waiting room plays a vital role in putting visitors at ease and instilling them with confidence in their surroundings. Waiting room lights say a lot about any medical practice and can help make patients’ experiences more bearable, if not enjoyable.

Lighting That Is Worth Waiting For…

Ceiling lights

Waiting rooms should never be murky, oppressive places. A good level of general lighting can be achieved using recessed ceiling lights. Though it’s possible to use surface-mounted fittings and pendants, recessed luminaires are unobtrusive, need little maintenance, and deliver an even spread of diffused light.

Waiting room lighting image 1

The LED Light Panel is energy efficient and long lasting. LED panels are a good money-saving replacement for old fluorescent fittings, too.

LED Downlights combine superb energy efficiency with longevity. Many downlights are fire-rated which means they can be used in fire-rated ceilings and are a hygienic lighting solution, offering nowhere for dust or dead bugs to gather. Recessed LED lighting is increasingly used in medical environments for its low running costs and cleanliness.

An adjustable downlight  is useful for spotlighting pictures or other pleasant distractions. A dimmable light can be controlled in accordance with any window light entering the room.

Wall lights

Waiting room lighting image 2

Although wall lights add to the ambient light of a room, they are especially useful for creating mood. Uplighters decorate bare stretches of wall with warm patterns of light, resulting in a cosy feel that helps calm frayed nerves. Wall lights can also be used to frame various aspects of a room; placing them either side of pictures, doorways, or windows, achieves this.

Table lamps

Waiting room lighting image 3

Table lamps are a common feature of many waiting rooms, helping to promote relaxation while also adding to ambient light. A classically styled luminaire like the Hatch Table Lamp will suit traditional or modern settings. You may wish to place magazines under a table lamp, though this is safer in a corner where the lamp is less likely to fall. Use LED bulbs in easily accessible fittings to prevent children from burning their fingers on the glass.

A table lamp with a pale fabric shade allows significant light out into a room, whereas a dark or black shade subdues outward light and emphasises the warm glow of the bulb. This is true of the black Zaragoza 3-Light Table Lamp, which still emits a strong up-and-down flow of light with a glass diffuser to cut out glare. Dark-shaded luminaires are good mood makers.

Floor lamps

Waiting room lighting image 4

A well-chosen floor lamp improves a room aesthetically, but it can also be a handy source of task lighting. In a waiting room, one or two floor lamps provide places to read, especially for older patients who may need a stronger light to discern text comfortably. A classic standard lamp is good for reading, since the light directly beneath it is stronger than the light sent through its shade.

An arced floor lamp such is ideal for reading, with a shade that sends light downwards and can be positioned over a seat. Reading usually requires a minimum light intensity of 300 lux, though this might increase to 500 lux for more mature eyes. Floor lamps provide this level of light for anyone that needs it.

To avoid visual fatigue, there should not be too much contrast between ambient light levels and reading lights (or ambient light levels and a TV screen).

Home from home

Waiting rooms are a little like living rooms with extra chairs. They don’t typically include luxurious sofas or showy decorative lights, but the aim is to inspire confidence and make patients feel as comfortable as possible. Carefully chosen waiting room lights will help achieve exactly that.

For more useful information and guidance see our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

Buying Guides

Emergency Lighting: Making An Escape

Emergency lighting delivers light during a loss of mains power, using either independent fittings with their own batteries or emergency lighting circuits and a generator. Independent emergency lights are popular because they are quick and cheap to install. They benefit from not being linked by the same central power supply or wiring, eliminating the risk of multiple lights being disabled by a single failure.

Emergency lighting categories

There are two main categories of emergency lighting: escape lighting and standby lighting. Of these, escape lighting should be the primary focus of any lighting specifier or installer. It has the potential to save lives in the event of a fire. Standby lighting allows normal work to continue after a power failure, but does not form part of a building’s fire protection.

Escape lighting is divided into three sub-categories, as follows:

  • Escape route lighting plays the vital role of enabling quick evacuation of a building. Included in this category are green exit signs with pictograms or pictograms and text (the two styles should not be mixed). Also emergency ceiling or wall lights that provide a minimum 1-lux light level along the centre line of escape routes (e.g. the centre of a corridor floor).
  • Open area lighting must include emergency fittings if the floor area is larger than 60m². This is to prevent panic in places where people are likely to congregate and is sometimes called ‘anti-panic’ emergency lighting. Smaller areas are also counted as open area lighting, such as toilets (above 8m² and all disabled toilets), escalators, and lifts.
  • High-risk task area lighting ensures that task areas remain illuminated that would cause imminent danger to life if abruptly darkened. Examples include hospital operating theatres or wards and control rooms in dangerous plants or production facilities. A minimum 10% of normal lighting levels must be provided by emergency lighting in these areas, or a 15-lux minimum if this value is higher (the former is more likely).

Lux is an SI unit that measures the intensity of incident light on a surface. It is directly affected by the distance between the surface (e.g. floor or desk) and the light source.

Points of emphasis

Critical areas or features of an escape route are called ‘points of emphasis’, with each point requiring emergency lighting. They include the following:

  • Emergency exit doors
  • Exit and safety signs
  • All flights of stairs
  • Changes in floor level
  • Changes of direction
  • Intersections of corridors/escape routes
  • Fire alarm call points
  • First aid posts
  • Firefighting equipment
  • Outside and near (within 2m) each final exit

Maintained v non-maintained emergency lights

A maintained emergency light is used as part of an overall lighting scheme and stays switched on in the event of a power cut. A non-maintained light is kept switched off, but activates automatically during a power cut. Both types of fitting include a battery, which allows up to 3 hours of back-up lighting.

Maintained exit signs are a necessity in public buildings and entertainment venues, where occupants are less likely to be familiar with escape routes. Non-maintained exit signs are common in private workplaces.

LED leads the way

LED emergency lights are being increasingly used in place of fluorescent equivalents, which were the main emergency light source for years. LED technology has been improved to such a degree that it excels in most applications. It is often 30 to 50% more energy efficient than fluorescent lighting and has a long lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. A fluorescent lamp might only last 6,000 hours before it abruptly fails.

Other LED benefits include instant full power light with no warm-up time (useful in emergency lighting), resistance to vibration and shock, and reliable cold temperature performance down to about -20°C.

Maintained emergency lights benefit most from LED longevity because they are used for several hours a day. With ceiling lights, you’ll usually be able to buy standard fittings from the same range, so you can blend your emergency luminaires seamlessly into an overall lighting scheme. Emergency lighting image 1

A non-maintained light fitting sometimes benefits from a discreet design, since it does not function as part of an everyday lighting scheme. The Daylight LED Emergency Light capitalises on the compact size of LEDs. This tiny fitting easily surpasses typical escape route requirements and because LED lighting is naturally directional, it is able to focus light of sufficient intensity along escape routes with minimal loss of light or use of battery power.

Emergency lighting image 2

The Eterna IP65 LED Twinspot Emergency Fitting is a non-maintained wall fitting that is ideal for lighting walkways in high-bay warehouses and industrial areas. Its IP65 rating also allows use along outdoor escape routes leading to safety points. Again, the directional nature of LEDs means very little light is spilled in spotlighting applications.

British Standards

Installation of an emergency lighting system requires compliance with the following British Standards:

  • BS 5266-1:2011 (Code of practice for the emergency escape lighting of premises)
  • BS EN 1838:2013 (Emergency lighting)
  • BS EN 50172:2004 – also numbered as BS 5266-8:2004 (Emergency escape lighting systems)
  • BS 7671:2008 incorporating amendment number 1:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations 17th Edition)

Further reading

An authoritative PDF guide to emergency lighting is downloadable from the ICEL (Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting) here.

For more useful information visit our Lighting Advice section.

Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.