A Work in Progress – Lighting

This weblog post is inspired by Friday’s shopping trip to Jula and Clas Ohlson, two Swedish equivalents of a hardware chain store, in Steinkjer, about 30 km north-east of Cliff Cottage, Vangshylla. On this shopping trip, I ended up buying a number of LED lighting components, not for any specific purpose but for playful learning. There was one impulse purchase, five meters of string lights with sparkly effect!

This is the walkway on the entry level of Cliff Cottage with Trondheim Fjord in the distance. String lighting illuminates the driveway, with 480 LED lights. Two hundred and forty string lights have been temporarily placed along the walkway, to brighten up November, while bags of insulation patiently wait to be fitted into the floor of the attic.

Lighting the stairway

According to my timeline, sometime in 2020, the house will be have a new main stairway. I intend to make it myself, using solid oak. It is difficult to buy hardwood, especially in rural Trøndelag. My solution will be to buy solid oak kitchen counter material which comes 26 (H) x 600 (D) x  2 400 (L) mm ( or about 1″ x 24″ x 96″) , and to cut it into suitable pieces, four treads to a countertop. Materials will cost me about NOK 4 000 (USD 500). Getting someone to make a stairway would cost at least five times that price. Here is a link to what I am thinking about. Biltema can be translated as “car theme”, and is the same in Swedish and Norwegian. It is yet another Swedish chain, even more dominated by male customers, than the two chains previously mentioned.

Before, I start building a new stairway, I want to experiment with lighting. Yes, there will be lighting from above, but I am particularly interesting in lighting each tread, so that old people can distinguish the nosing, and avoid falling. On the two bottom-most treads, I intend to drill holes and fit 4mm (Christmas) lights into them, at about 50 mm intervals. On the next two treads (three and four from the bottom), I intend to fit 100 lm spotlights, one on each side of each tread. If I come across new ideas, I will try them out as well, trying to put the most controversial closest to the bottom.

A Work in Progress

I have no intentions of living in a “finished” house. While the timeline for major improvements stretches over four years from 2018-01-01 to 2021-12-31, the intention is to allow continuous improvement, and to have the house serve as a laboratory in three areas: 1) smart house (computer control using sensors, actuators and communications components), 2) energy reduction with an emphasis on solar thermal energy, 3) assistive technology, including adaptive and rehabilitative devices for the elderly, as well as the general population.

Lighting – The Theory

A lumen (symbol lm) is a measure of the total amount of light visible light emitted by a source in any particular direction.

Lux is a measure of illuminance, how much light there is on a given surface area. One Lux (lx)  equals one lumen per square meter.

Direct sunlight32 000 – 100 000
Daylight10 000 – 25 000
Full moon1
Kitchen/ workshop ambient100
Kitchen/ workshop task500
Dining/ living area ambient50
General task300
Bathroom ambient50
Bathroom task300
Garage/ carport100
Detailed task1 000

Lighting Requirements

Here is a list of lighting requirements in lux for various household activiites. The list has been compiled without recording sources. There is considerable variation in what people need, and standard values will not suit everyone.

Ambient Room Lighting

1. What type of room is it? In this example, it will be assumed that the room is a kitchen.

2. Ambient lighting for a kitchen requires 100 lx.

3. What is the size of the room? For illustrative purposes, assume it is 4 000  x 3 000 mm (4 by 3 meters). This gives an area of 12 square meters.

4. To find the number of lumens, multiply the lux requirement from step 2 by the area from step 3: 100 lx/m² x 12 m² = 1 200 lm.

Clas Ohlson has a 450 mm diameter ceiling light that provides 1 500 lm that would be suitable:

Dot, a dimable 450 mm ceiling light to provide sufficient ambient lighting in a kitchen.

Dot, a dimable 450 mm ceiling light to provide sufficient ambient lighting in a kitchen.
Energy classA
Bulb typeLED
Power24 W
IP classIP54
Lumens1500 lm
Colour temperature2700 K
Colour rendering index (Ra)80
Lighting time1.5 s
Temperature range– 20 to +40 °C
Number of lighting cycles15 000
Lifetime30 000 h
Replacable light sourceNo

Task Lighting

1. Where is the task lighting? In this example, the focus will be on a kitchen counter top – the same one that the stairs were made out of, but this time used more conventionally.

2. Task lighting for a kitchen requires 500 lx.

3. What is the area where the task is taking place? The countertop measures 600 mm x 2 400 mm = 1.44 m², this could be rounded up to 1.5 m².

4. To find the number of lumens, multiply the lux requirement from step 2 by the area from step 3: 500 lx/m² x 1.5 m² = 750 lm.

I had hoped to find something equivalent at Jula, but found this set of downlights at Clas Ohlson: https://www.clasohlson.com/no/LED%20downlights/Pr365874000

As the specifications indicate, 4 downlights would be required to meet the task lighting needs of the countertop work area.

Downlights in a kitchen, but not quite how I would use them.
Energy classA+
Bulb typeLED
Power3.3 W
IP classIP20
Lumens190 lm
Colour temperature3 000 K
Colour rendering index (Ra)80
Lighting time0.5 s
Temperature range– 20 to +40 °C
Number of lighting cycles100 000
Replacable light sourceNo
Diameter: hole/ lamp60/ 65 mm
Depth15 mm
Transformer, able to attach up to six downlights.

A Spiritual Heart

My hope is that in the future every family will be able to have a home that has a spiritual heart – an area devoted to the needs of the soul. It will be a quiet place allowing prayer and reflection.

As I approach retirement, I see a need to reappraise and re-purpose the space  in our house. Our children have moved on with their lives. Rather than keeping their rooms as monuments to their childhood, both they and their parents have to accept that rooms can serve many purposes.

Cliff Cottage, or Fjellheim (as it is also called) has been our home since 1989-03-01, over 27 years. Even though an urban apartment would be a more practical way of life, I have no desire to sell. I have seen two generations long to return to their childhood homes. While we are spiritual creatures, we are also grounded in physical space and time. Childhood is a special time. I lived in my childhood home, on Ash Street in New Westminster, between 1951 and 1972, a little over 20 years. In many ways, I have never gotten over its loss.My mother also talks fondly of her childhood home in Kelowna, keeping a drawing of it even now on a wall of her apartment in New Westminster.

While I accept that my mother’s childhood home is important for her, to me it is just a building. I am not sure that I have ever been in it, although I have stood outside it, and have clear visions of its interior in the 1920’s and 1930’s. For me, it is nothing more than a house, a building.

God willing, I will keep this house in Vangshylla, in trust for Alasdair and Shelagh. There will be changes made to it, but nothing irreparable. If either child wants to take over the house, they will be welcome to it, and I will gracefully move to something more appropriate for someone of my age.

I hope you will forgive me, Alasdair, for my plans to transform your former bedroom into a prayer room. Similarly, Shelagh, I hope you will forgive me for using your former bedroom as a workroom and guest room.

This does not mean that everything is perfect at Fjellheim. We are not always living in paradise.

2010-12-11 Snowblower
Brock using a snow blower for the first time, 2010-12-11.