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Last reviewed: Wed, 21 Sep 2011

Increasing Light Levels at the Central Library

Inside of the Central Library showing the lighting levels.
Inside of the Central Library showing the windows and lighting levels.

Due to the earthquakes Central Library is closed indefinitely


Next time you pay a visit to the Central Library, look up at the lights.

Lighting is a key component and cost in library design. If lighting is poor it becomes difficult for patrons to read, colours appear muddy and running costs climb as more lights are switched on or installed to increase the lighting levels. The age of the patrons is also a factor: as you age, so you need more light to read with ease.

The lighting at the Central Library was at required levels but it was expensive to operate. The original light fittings contained two fluorescent tubes per fitting, the technology available when the library was commissioned.

The Council decided that an upgrade in technology would rapidly pay for itself and so the following upgrades were used to reduce the lighting costs and to increase the available light at the library:

  • In each fluorescent fitting, the two existing tubes were removed and a semi circular reflector was installed that reflects all the light from the tube down and out of the fitting.
  • Where two tubes were installed in each fitting, only one was re-installed.
  • The old tubes were replaced with a more energy efficient tube.
  • The mechanical ballasts were removed and replaced with electronic ballasts .
  • Light fittings located around the building perimeter are fitted with light sensors and dimmers to take advantage of the natural light available.

The energy savings from these changes amount to more than $40,000 a year.

The benefits of the project

  • A reduction in operating costs
  • An increase in available light
  • Reduction in flicker in older tubes.
  • Use of natural daylight.
  • Decrease in maintenance costs as the fluorescent tubes and electronic ballasts have a longer life.
  • Reduced costs as the existing fittings were re-used.

Things to consider for your business or home

  • Are there lights that I can change from incandescent to fluorescent or compact fluorescent lights?
  • Can I upgrade the fluorescent fittings to electronic ballasts?
  • Is there newer technology better suited to my needs?
  • Would it be better to install multiple light circuits to switch on smaller areas of lights where additional light is required?

Authorising Unit: Energy

Last reviewed: Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Next review: Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Keywords: central, central library, eco-friendly, efficiency, efficient, fluorescent, libraries, library, light, lighting, lights, sustainability, sustainable, sustainable development