> FOCUS BY JEFF GAVIN
THE OFFICE OF TOMORROW is an energy-efficient space designed for employee health
and productivity, and today’s office is looking
more like its future self every day. Lighting plays
a key role. As an electrical contractor, if you
remake your office to fit the needs of tomorrow,
you can be an adviser that comes from a place of
Tish Kruse, MRC, LEED AP, director of workplace strategy
for IA Interior Architects, works out of the firm’s Chicago office.
She finds space planning and lighting design go hand-in-hand.
“Saving money through efficient building operation and an
efficient, stimulating workspace for employees each affect the
bottom line,” she said.
Skillfully employing natural and artificial lighting can promote employee happiness and productivity.
“Light makes a difference,” Kruse said. “Employees want
good light. Daylight-harvesting systems attempt to do this
when you have ample windows, but the trick is blending natu-
ral with artificial light.”
Shades and window films are also often needed to help miti-
gate glare and heat issues.
“When an office doesn’t have many windows, simulating the
wavelengths of natural light through the careful selection and
placement of lamps and fixtures is especially important,” Kruse
said. “The addition of skylights can help, too.”
Lighting the new open office landscape
Though it may sound counterintuitive, it is possible to overlight
a space as you drive efficiency. Ann Marie Krol, NCIDQ, LEED
AP ID+C, is a senior associate for IA Interior Architects. Her
firm addresses overlighting in the project design phase.
“We work with the manufacturer or lighting designer,
sometimes the electrical contractor [EC], as we determine the
watts-per-square-foot goal and figure out how to how meet
it,” she said. “For us, the lighting is based on employee tasks
and should be tuned accordingly. To better light the work desk
surface, low-draw LED [light-emitting diode] task lighting is
starting to play a role.”
Office design trends need an
informed electrical contractor
The open office
exteriors, such as a
with glass walls.
The electrical design in this
conference room includes
suspended decorative specialty
fluorescent lights and LED
downlights, automated shading
tied to a Lutron lighting control
system, large screen monitors,
and a conference table wired