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Let There Be Light

By: Guy Tulloh
Posted: July 22, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Downlights. Downlights, or low-voltage lights, probably are the most well-known and commonly used variety. They come in a range of watts (brightness/strength)—from 20–50 watts or greater. This type of light is normally a halogen lamp that can be dimmed and even comes in 240 volts—eliminating the need for the transformers that are required with low-voltage options. These lights are appropriate for general spaces, reception and waiting areas, corridors, treatment rooms, some wet areas, and changing rooms.

IP ratings. This is a rating that clarifies how well a light will stand up to water. Basically, the higher the rating, the more waterproof the fitting. Generally, a light fitting with an IP of 55 or greater is suitable for common areas where moisture will be present. IP 65 is perfect for areas where water might be washed physically over the fitting, such as the floor of a wet room where a lot of mopping might occur, as these lights have a complete rubber gasket seal that prevents moisture from entering the fitting.

Metal halide. These lights produce an extremely bright illumination, and often can take some time to come on and reach their full brightness. The fitting is commonly larger in size than that of a normal downlight—140 mm x 230 mm x 160 mm. They can be dimmed; however, this will be reflected in the cost. This type of light is perfect for main display areas, as well as makeup, manicure and pedicure, and hair areas, as it produces illumination that seems as bright as day.

Fluorescent and compact fluorescent. These lights require minimal energy to run the fitting and, therefore, are cheaper to use. They also last for an extremely long period of time, thus providing yet another cost savings. The problem with these lights is that they are unattractive and can cause some people to feel ill because they vibrate, or shimmer, as they do not have a filament—only gas. One of their greatest advantages is that, with the right quantity and when correctly positioned, no “shadowing” should occur. This makes them wonderful for storerooms, preparation areas, offices and administration rooms.

Controlling systems. Even though light switches continue to be used, more computerized, or smart systems, are being implemented in most facilities. Here, the lighting even can be integrated into the sound system. Rather than having standard switches and dimmer controls, a series of grouped switches can operate a range of room functions, thereby allowing for the creation of various moods. You simply can hit one button and all the lights will dim to a preset level. Similarly, you can hit one switch to turn on four or five groups of lights. The options for “all off” or “all on” modes also are available, so that when you leave at night, one switch turns the entire spa off, eliminating the possibility of leaving lights on after hours. These systems are available from most commercial electrical suppliers and feature a variety of additional options, such as security cameras, so that you can monitor the spa from home.

Final note