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Recommended minimum illuminances (E) for typical interior lighting tasks. The illuminances are aimed at a lighting level appropriate to the specific visual tasks to be performed in the space or in a part of the space. They do not include architectural lighting components or other aspects for the specific situation.

Office lighting design
Office lighting design

The average horizontal illuminances quoted are in accordance with national and international standards. Using the light sources indicated lighting qualities can be achieved to meet the requirements of the particular visual task economically.

Space/ activityRecommended min. illuminance
E (lx)
 Light source
Office300T, TC
Team office500T
Open plan office750T, TC
Technical drawing office750T, TC
Data processing500T, TC
CAD200/500A, QT, T, TC
Control room200TC
Staircase100T, TC
Canteen200A, QT, QT-LV, TC
Bathroom, WC100T, TC
Sales area300QT, QT-LV, T, TC, HST, HSE, HIT
Department store300QT, QT-LV, T, TC, HST, HSE, HIT
Cashdesk500T, TC
Supermarket500T, HIT
Reception200A, QT, QT-LV, TC
Restaurant200A, PAR, R, QT, QT-LV, TC
Café, bistro200A, PAR, R, QT, QT-LV, TC
Self-service restaurant300T, TC
Canteen kitchen500T
Museum, gallery200A, PAR, R, QT, QT-LV, T, TC
Exhibition space300PAR, R, QT, QT-LV, T, TC, HST, HSE, HIT
Trade fair hall300T, HME, HIT
Library, media library300T, TC
Reading room500T, TC
Gymnasium, competition400T, HME, HIE, HIT
Gymnasium, training200T, HME, HIE, HIT
Beauty salon750QT, QT-LV, T, TC
Hairdressing salon500T, TC
Hospital, ward
– ambient lighting
100T, TC
– reading light200A, QT-LV, T, TC
– examination light300QT, T, TC
Hospital, examination500T
Reception, lobby100QT, T, TC
Circulation area200QT, T, TC
Classroom300/500T, TC
Large classoom750T, TC
College hall500T, TC
Art studio500T, TC
Laboratory500T, TC
Lecture hall, auditorium500QT, T, TC
Multi-purpose space300QT, T, TC
Concert, theatre, festival hall300A, PAR, R, QT
Concert platform750PAR, R, QT
Meeting room300A, QT, TC
Church200A, PAR, R, QT

Classification of lamps

The ZVEI, the German Electrical Engineering and Industrial Federation, has developed a system of abbreviations for electric lamps used for general lighting purposes. Some lamp do manufacturers use different abbreviations, however. The ZVEI system of designation consists of up to three characters. These are supplemented by further abbreviations for special models or versions, which are hyphenated.

The first letter indicates the light production.

IIncandescent lamp
HHigh-pressure discharge lamp
LLow-pressure discharge lamp

The second letter indicates the material of the outer envelope for incandescent lamps, or the gas contained in discharge lamps.

QQuartz glass
IMetal halide
SSodium vapour

The third letter or combination of letters indicates the form of the outer envelope.

PARParabolic reflector
TCCompact tubes

To complete the classification of a lamp data regarding diameter of lamp or reflector, power, colour of outer envelope, beam spread, type of cap and voltage can be added to the above identification.

The letters in brackets are not used in practice. The resulting abbreviations are given in the right-hand column.

General service lamp(I) (G) AA
Parabolic reflector lamp(I) (G) PARPAR
Reflector lamp(I) (G) RPAR
Halogen reflector lamp(I) Q RQR
Halogen lamp (tubular form)(I) Q TQT
Mercury lamp (ellipsoidal form)H M EHME
Mercury lamp (reflector form)H M RHMR
Metal halide lamp (ellipsoidal form)H I EHIE
Metal halide lamp (reflector form)H I RHIR
Metal halide lamp (tubular form)H I THIT
High-pressure sodium lamp (ellipsoidal form)H S EHSE
High-pressure sodium lamp (tubular form)H S THST
Fluorescent lamp(L) (M) TT
Compact fluorescent lamp(L) (M) TCTC
Low-pressure sodium lampL S TLST

Abbreviations for special models or versions are separated from the main abbreviation by a hyphen.

Halogen lamp, double-endedQT-DE
Halogen reflector lamp, coolbeam, without coverQR-CB
Halogen reflector lamp, coolbeam, with coverQR-CBC
Metal halide lamp, double-endedHIT-DE
Compact fluorescent lampTC
 – without starter for EBTC-EL
 – with 4 discharge tubesTC-D
 – with 4 discharge tubes, with integral EBTC-DSE
 – with 4 discharge tubes, without starter for EBTC-DEL
 – linear formTC-L
SOURCE: Handbook of Lighting Design – Rüdiger Ganslandt

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Edvard Csanyi

Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.


  1. loemkii
    Jan 30, 2019

    hi,,,please help explain Illuminance Recommendation

  2. Madjid Rahmani
    Sep 28, 2011

    Thank you it is sufficient for quick decisions.

    • Edvard
      Sep 29, 2011

      You’re welcome Madjid! Exactly, this is just a list of recommended illuminance values for various room types. For more accurate results, you’ll need to use some of photometric software.


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