At Basis, we are often asked to create lighting schemes and supply lights for churches and ecclesiastical spaces. This may range from individual chapels and small parishes to grand cathedrals.
Across all church environments, it is fundamental that light levels are accurately calculated. We use a combination of Dialux and Relux software to do this. The light levels needed will depend upon the level of natural light the space receives and the colour of the surrounding walls; if light levels are low or the walls are dark, the Lux will need to be higher. It is important to get these levels right so that enough light reaches the nave to be directed onto hymn books and towards the sanctuary, the priest, cross, pulpit and lectern during service. Most commonly this is between 150-300 lux.
The surrounding ornamentation of the church must also be illuminated; this may include statues or reliquaries, paintings or tapestries. Other architectural features, such as mullions or capitals, may also require lighting to bring out their details. To preserve the elegance of architectural features within a church, we will work with contractors to ensure that any cabling is discreet or hidden from view. LED drivers can be mounted close to the luminaire or positioned in a separate control box to reduce the size of the fitting. When lighting intricate ceiling features or capitals, we ensure that the luminaire is fitted carefully onto delicate stonework using a wall plate that can if necessary be custom built.
With all of our church lighting proposals, we consider how atmosphere will be created. In 98% of cases, we will use a very warm 3000K LED to create an ambient and intimate effect designed for worship or readings, but this can be changed to a warmer or cooler light depending on the particular needs of the church. To accommodate for services with specific moods, we can supply a Dali or Casambi dimming system, where scenes can be created and controlled remotely from a computer, iPad or smartphone.
With smaller churches, we will work within their budget to design a high quality scheme using fewer, brighter fittings with wider beam angles to illuminate a larger area. Honeycomb louvres can be added to spotlights to reduce glare and create a more comfortable effect during services. LEDs are often chosen for modern church lighting due to their longevity and low maintenance. As very little forward heat is produced in an LED, energy consumption is reduced and electricity costs kept low.
If you need any help or advice please call or email us in the office.