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UGR19 the problem with low glare linear LED

UGR stands for unified glare index, but you most likely know that already. Glare in the office is a big issue again with the possibility of headaches, migraines and eye problems, as with most trends this is a hot topic in London right now in the construction industry.

UGR stands for unified glare index, but you most likely know that already. Glare in the office is a big issue again with the possibility of headaches, migraines and eye problems, as with most trends this is a hot topic in London right now in the construction industry. However, awareness is spreading and the need to provide office lighting that meets the guideline is becoming an increasingly important compliance issue nationwide. Read our UGR19 guide here>>

Office environments are changing fast as companies embrace trends for well designed, comfortable offices with rest and relaxation areas that encourage a healthy culture and reduce stress. Office co-working spaces are already very popular in major urban areas and according to Forbes, the upcoming generation of young professionals report that they find their work more meaningful in such environments.

This focus on work mixed with play for a healthy workforce requires a high standard of design. The current trend is to use continuous lines of linear LED luminaires that look cool in an office particularly when paired with other lights to compliment an exposed ceiling. However, there is a balance to be struck between design and health issues associated with glare. LED is the main culprit here, it is bright, it is beautiful but with the luminance of around 4000ml glare is a big issue in the office environment one again.
While there have been many UGR19 square and round panels on the market for some time that meets UGR19 guidelines, the biggest challenge for any interior designer or architect that wants a UGR<19 compliant scheme is finding something more aesthetically pleasing than the standard office light panel.

The problem with UGR19 Linear Luminaires

There are not many UGR19 compliant linear luminaires on the market currently because it is a very big challenge to make a UGR<19 linear luminaire that fits with the modern office interior design aesthetic and currently no manufacturer has really cracked making a good-looking luminaire at a reasonable price.

LED has changed linear lighting allowing for continued strips of light to be made in almost any pattern without the breaks that you used to get with fluorescent tubes and they look great. When manufacturers try to reduce the glare however they are less than perfect. It is hard to achieve a UGR<19 rating in the glare table with linear and in-order to do this some very ropy solutions are available.  

Louvers are back

And no one is pleased to see them. Like the Cat 2 fluorescent panels of the past, some companies have brought this back to try and fix the problem 

    1. Aesthetics 1 – 10
    2. Uniformity 1 - 10
    3. Lumen output 5 - 10
    4. Cost 6 - 10

Ugly spots of light

Regularly UGR19 Linear LED luminaires produce a great UGR<19 value but unfortunately not a consistent strip of light. The common uses of two prismatic diffusers means bright spots of light are visible through the diffusers that spoil the continuous line of light for the designers.

    1. Aesthetics 2 – 10
    2. Uniformity 1 - 10
    3. Lumen output 5 - 10
    4. Cost 6 - 10

The old kitchen light effect

The use of two prismatic diffusers or a prismatic diffuser and a ribbed optic to reduce the UGR loses the clean and uniform opal glow of traditional LED linear luminaires is lost instead replaced by an irregular effect not dissimilar to the fluorescent kitchen lighting that was so ubiquitous through the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

    1. Aesthetics 6 – 10
    2. Uniformity 5 - 10
    3. Lumen output 5 - 10
    4. Cost 6 – 10

Low lumen output

One simple way to reduce a luminaires UGR rating is to reduce the lumen output. The problem with this is that more luminaires are required to light the space in which they are used which drives up costs and spoil carefully designed lighting plans.

    1. Aesthetics 7 – 10
    2. Uniformity 7 - 10
    3. Lumen output 1 - 10
    4. Cost 1 – 10

A better UGR<19 linear luminaire

Designing a UGR19 linear compliant fitting that meets the interior designer’s requirement for a uniform, bright continuous strip of light is the challenge set by Synergy’s customers and the team likes a challenge. By approaching the problem from a different perspective and using some great new technology Synergy has succeeded in creating a UGR<19 linear LED luminaire that meets our customers needs for compliance, looks and price.

It was not easy and this has been a labour of love by the Synergy R&D team who have spent 9 months working to make our customers happy.

Synergy is now delighted to announce that we now offer UGR<19 compliant Polaris 1, 3 and 3T linear LED fittings with micro-prismatic diffuser coupled with an additional glare reduction device which is very cool, but we are not going to tell you what it is! The result is a bright, uniform luminaire that provides great performance and supports great design. As ever with Synergy linear LED products they are easy to install and are available in a continuous format without visible joins or light spill.