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A process by which incident radiant flux is
converted to another form of energy,
usually (and ultimately) heat.

The horizontal angular distance between
the vertical plane containing a point in the
sky and true south.

accent light
Directional lighting designed to emphasize
a particular object or to draw attention to a
part of the field of view.

A magnetic or electronic device used to
control the starting and operation of
discharge lamps.

The process by which the eye changes focus
from one distance to another.

ballast factor
The ratio of lamp lumen output on a
particular ballast as compared to that
lamps (lamps) rated lumen output on a
reference ballast under ANSI test
conditions (free, unmoving air at 25 C)
beam component
That component of flux received directly
(or by specular reflection or transmission)
from a point source (such as the sun or
small lamp). It is a direct component.

The process by which the eye becomes
accustomed to varying quantities of light or
to light of a different color.


The vertical angular distance of a point in
the sky above the horizon. Altitude is
measured positively
from the horizon to the zenith, from 0 to
90 degrees.
ambient light
Electric and/or natural lighting throughout
a space that produces uniform general
artificial sky
An enclosure that simulates the luminance
distribution of a real sky for the purpose of
testing physical daylighting models. See
hemispherical dome artificial sky and
mirror-box artificial sky.

blinding glare
Glare that is so intense that, for an
appreciable length of time after it has been
removed, no object can be seen.
The glass outer envelope component of a

candela (cd)
The SI unit of luminous intensity (formerly
called the candle). One candela equals one
lumen per steradian-the luminous intensity, in a
give direction, of a source that emits
monochromatic radiation at a frequency of
540E12 hertz and of which the radiant intensity
in that direction is 1/683 watts per steradian.
Refers to the dominant or complementary
wavelength and purity aspects of the color taken
together, or of the aspects specified by the
chromaticity coordinates of the color taken
That part of a building rising clear of the roofs or
other parts, whose walls contain windows for
lighting the interior.
coefficient of utilization (CU)
The ratio of lumens from a luminaire received
on the work plane to the total quantity of
lumens emitted by the lamps of that luminaire.
color rendering index
A measurement of the amount of color shift that
objects undergo when lighted by a light source
as compared with the color of those same
objects when seen under a reference light source
of comparable color temperature. CRI values
generally range from 0 to 100.
color temperature
The absolute temperature of a blackbody
radiator having a chromaticity equal to that of
the light source (see correlated color
A retinal receptor that dominates the retinal
response when the luminance level is high and
provides the basis for the perception of color.
The ratio of the luminance of an object to that of
its immediate background.

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cosine law
The law that the illuminance on any surface
varies as the cosine of the angle of incidence.
(The angle of incidence is the angle between the
normal to the surface and the direction of the
incident light.)
cut-off angle
The critical viewing angle beyond which a source
can no longer be seen because of an obstruction
(such as a baffle or overhang).
dark adaptation
The process by which the retina becomes
adapted to a luminance of less than 0.01
daylight factor (DF)
The ratio of daylight illumination at a given
point on a given plane due to the light received
directly or indirectly from a sky of assumed or
known luminance distribution, to the
illumination on a horizontal plane due to an
unobstructed hemisphere of this sky, expressed
as a percentage. Direct sunlight is excluded for
both values of illumination. The daylight factor
is the sum of the sky component, the external
reflected component, and the internal reflected
component. The interior plane is usually
horizontal. If the sky condition is the C.I.E.
standard overcast condition, then the DF will
remain constant, regardless of absolute exterior
illuminance. If used in conjunction with other
than standard overcast conditions, the sky
conditions should be specified. The term is also
informally applied to the ratio of horizontal
interior to exterior illuminance in the
fenestration plane; under clear sky conditions,
the DF remains constant only if the fenestration
is completely diffusing (such as an ideal
opalescent glass).
diffusing (surface)
Those surfaces and glazing that redistribute some
of the incident flux by scattering in all directions.
disability glare
Glare resulting in reduced visual performance
and visibility . Often accompanied by discomfort

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discomfort glare
Glare producing discomfort. Does not
necessarily interfere with visual performance or
A measure of the luminous efficiency of a
radiant flux, expressed in lumens per watt as the
quotient of the total luminous flux by the total
radiant flux. For daylighting, this is the quotient
of visible flux incident on a surface to radiant
flux on that surface. For electric sources, this is
the quotient of the total luminous flux emitted
by the total lamp power input.
The ratio of radiance (for directional emissivity)
or radiant exitance (for hemispherical
emissivity) of an element of surface on a
temperature radiator to that of a blackbody at
the same temperature. By Kirchoffs Law, for a
given wavelength of the electromagnetic
spectrum, emissivity of a surface equals its
absorptivity (and is the reciprocal of its
The density of light reflecting from a surface at a
point, measured in lumens per square foot
(formerly footlamberts). It is determined by
multiplying the footcandles striking a diffuse
reflecting surface times the reflectance of that
Any opening or arrangement of openings
(normally filled with glazing media) for the
admission of daylight, including any devices in
the immediate proximity of the opening that
affect distribution (such as baffles, louvers,
draperies, overhangs, light-shelves, jambs, sills,
and other light-diffusing materials).
Informal substitute term for luminaire.
A discharge lamp in which a phosphor coating
transforms ultraviolet energy into visible light.

The time rate of flow. For example, volume per
hour is the flux of a fluid.
A standard measurement of illuminance,
representing the amount of illuminance on a
surface one foot square on which there is a
uniformly distributed flux of one lumen.
footlambert (fl)
A unit of luminance equal to 0.3183010 candela
per square foot, or to the uniform luminance of
a perfectly diffusing surface emitting or reflecting
light at a rate of one lumen per square foot, or to
the average luminance of a surface emitting or
reflecting light at that rate. An unobstructed sky
of one footlambert uniform luminance
contributes one footcandle of illuminance on a
horizontal plane.
A small region at the center of the retina,
subtending about two degrees and forming the
site of the most distinct vision and greatest color
See direct glare, disability glare, discomfort glare,
reflected glare.
glare index
A method of predicting the presence of
discomfort glare due to daylighting. Factors
affecting the glare index include the size and
relative position of fenestration, sky luminance,
and interior luminance. Most widely used in
Europe, the glare index is similar to the index of
sensation and the discomfort glare rating, which
are used in North America for electric lighting
The attribute of a color that allows it to be
classified as red, yellow, blue, and so on.
International Association of Lighting Designers
Illuminating Engineering Society of North

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The density of incident luminous flux on a
surface; illuminance is the standard metric for
lighting levels, and is measured in lux (lx) or
footcandles (fc).

Radiant energy that is capable of exciting the
retina and producing a visual sensation. The
visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
(light) extends from about 0.38 to 0.77 microns.

The emission of visible electromagnetic radiation
due to the thermal excitation of atoms or
indirect sources
Surfaces which, after being illuminated by other
sources (direct sources such as the sun, sky, or
electric light, or other indirect sources), have
measurable luminance and, in turn, become
sources themselves.

light loss factor

(LLF) A factor used in calculating the
illuminance after a given period of time and
under given conditions. It takes into account
temperature and voltage variations, lamp
depreciation (of electric luminaries), dirt
accumulation on luminaire and room surfaces,
maintenance procedures and atmosphere
conditions. Formerly called maintenance factor.

infrared radiation
Radiation with wavelengths too long to be
perceived by the human eye (that is, longer than
0.77 microns) and less than 1,000 microns.
Room IR is infrared radiation in the 7.7-8.0
micron region and typical of that radiated from
surfaces near room temperature.
inverse-square law
The law stating that the illuminance at a point
on a surface varies directly with the intensity of a
point source, and inversely as the square of the
distance between that source and that surface.
irradiance (E)
The density of radiant flux incident on a surface.
isolux (isofootcandle) line
A line plotted on any appropriate set of
coordinates to show all the points on a surface
where the daylight illuminance is the same. A
series of such lines for various illuminance
values is called an isolux (isofootcandle)
An electrically energized source of light,
commonly called a bulb or tube.
lamp lumen depreciation
The decrease over time of lamp lumen output,
caused by bulb wall blackening, phosphor
exhaustion, filament depreciation and other

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light shelf
A horizontal shelf positioned (usually above eye
level) to reflect daylight onto the ceiling and to
shield direct flare from the sky.
The quantity of luminous flux emitted within a
unit solid angle (one steradian) by a point
source with one candella intensity in all
lumen method
A method of estimating the interior illuminance
due to window daylighting at three locations
within a room. Based on empirical studies, the
use of this method is primarily limited to North
A complete lighting unit, consisting of a lamp or
lamps together with the components required to
distribute the light, position the lamps, and
connect the lamps to a power supply. Often
referred to as a fixture.
luminaire dirt depreciation
A multiplier used in lighting calculations to
account for the reduction in illuminance
produced by the accumulation of dirt on a
The luminous intensity of a surface in a given
direction per unit area of that surface as viewed
from that direction; often incorrectly referred to
as brightness.
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radiant energy (radiation)

Energy traveling in the form of electromagnetic
waves. Measured in units of energy such as
joules, ergs, or kilowatt-hours.

lux (lx)
The SI unit of illuminance equal to one lumen
per square meter.
matte surface
Surface from which the reflection is
predominantly diffuse, with or without a
negligible specular component.

The process by which the direction of light
changes as it passes obliquely from one medium
to another in which its speed is different.
room cavity ratio
In lighting calculations, a measure of room
proportion as determined by dimensions of
length, width, and height.

A raised section of roof that includes a vertically
(or near-vertically) glazed aperture for the
purpose of daylighting illumination.

A relatively horizontal glazed roof aperture for
the admission of daylight.

near infrared (solar infrared)

The region of the electromagnetic spectrum
between 0.77 to 1.4 microns. Most of the
infrared solar radiation falls into this region.
This near infrared (or solar IR) region is
transmitted, absorbed, and reflected in a similar
manner to visible light by most glazing and
nonmetallic building materials.

specular angle
The angle of mirror reflection (angle of incidence
equals angle of reflectance).

overcast sky
A sky luminance distribution three times
brighter near (C.I.E. Standard Condition) the
zenith than at the horizon, as defined by a
formula proposed by Moon and Spencer in 1942
and adopted by the Commission International
de lEclairge in 1955
A horizontal building projection, usually above a
window, for the purpose of shading.
A device that measures the amount of incident
light present in a space.
peripheral vision
The seeing of objects displaced from the primary
line of site and outside of the central visual field.
point method
A method of estimating the illuminance at
various locations in a building using
photometric data.
The opening in the iris of the eye that admits

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specular reflection
The process by which incident light is redirected
at the specular (mirror) angle.
specular transmission
The process by which incident flux passes
through a surface or medium without scattering.
The ratio of reflected flux to incident flux.
A light-sensitive membrane lining the posterior
part of the inside of the eye.
Retinal receptors that respond to low levels of
luminance but cannot distinguish hues. Not
present in the center of the fovea region.
task light
Light that is directed to a specific surface or area
to provide illumination for visual tasks.
ultraviolet radiation (uv)
Any radiant energy within the wavelength range
of 0.001 to 0.38 microns.

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veiling reflection
Specular reflection superimposed upon diffuse
reflection from an object that partially or totally
obscures the details to be seen by reducing the
contrast. Controlled by distributing the source
over a larger area, relocating the source out of
the reflected field of view, changing the task
surface specular reflectance or tilt, or relocating
the observer.
visual acuity
A measure of the ability to distinguish fine
visual comfort probability (VCP)
The rating of a lighting system expressed as a
percentage of the people who, when viewing
from a specified location and in a specified
direction, will be expected to find it comfortable
in terms of discomfort glare.

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