Having the right lighting is important in any setting, but there are several locations that have unique needs that need to be properly addressed. For example, when it comes to courtroom lighting, there is more to this setting than finding a fixture and bulb to provide illumination. Below are some suggestions on how choose the best courtroom lighting.
When it comes to implementing a lighting plan for this space, ensuring illumination is focused where the most important tasks are being performed is crucial. For instance, the center of the courtroom is considered the litigation area and can be thought of as a circle in the center of the room to help determine the placement of fixtures. The central circle or litigation area typically includes the bench of the presiding judge, the stand, and seating area for both legal teams. A great way to illuminate this area is by using general overhead lighting, combined with task lighting for more versatility that can be adjusted as needed. It is important to take into consideration that a good guideline for this type of location is to aim for around 70 foot-candles for the litigation center, and a minimum of 30 foot-candles for the exterior area of the room.
The litigation area has different needs when compared to the remaining courtroom lighting. When lighting this area, you should have a basic understanding beforehand of how humans interact with illumination. For example, lights need to be bright enough to encourage focus, but not too bright that it could lead to mental exhaustion, or even stress for participants of the trial. If you follow the previously mentioned guidelines for the appropriate foot-candles this area needs, you'll be able to achieve the right balance. Color temperature is another factor that can drastically affect human psychology. The color temperature describes how warm (yellow) or cool (white) the illumination appears to the human eye. The general rule on this matter is that warmer tones tend to create a more relaxing environment, whereas cool temperatures create a more alert mental state. Its acceptable to mix these two temperatures within the same space. For instance, even though you want the jury and other trial participants focuses with the use of cooler temperature, you can still implement a warmer temperature over the gallery where the general public, as well as the family members of the individuals that are actually involved in the legal proceedings, reside to create an atmosphere that is less stressful.
One of the ideal ways you can create a natural environment that is conducive to effective proceedings is with the incorporation of as much natural light as possible. It has been proven that natural light has many health benefits, reduces electricity costs, and requires no upkeep. However, you still need to take into account the changing position of the sun throughout the day, potential for unwanted glares, and the correct placement of artificial lighting solutions.
Even though the typical troffer-style fixtures is still a staple in courtrooms, there are other solutions available that will help to mix things up and still resulting in a well-balanced lighting plan. While installing some recessed overhead light fixtures for general lighting purposes is important, especially in the litigation area, wall sconces can be implemented over the gallery areas can help serve as a nice mix of uplight and downlight for a gentle illumination spread. You can also add wall sconces to doorways, which can be a great way to highlight entrances and exits as well.