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Integrative Design Process

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The integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context are interrelated. Whole-building systems observe this principle by involving all stakeholders from project conception through delivery and beyond. Including all stakeholders allows for the identification of synergies that otherwise would go unnoticed, and as a result, reduces the initial and operating costs, along with optimizing design for appearance, visual comfort, and energy efficiency. A lighting specific integrative team could involve the lighting engineer, architect, interior designer, facilities manager, workplace specialist, and occupant as representatives of the broader whole-building picture.


The interior architecture and building layout play a significant role on the lighting strategy. Maximizing daylight requires meticulous planning of not only the orientation and location of apertures but also the building itself. Building design aesthetics, within which lighting is a critical component, fall under the architect umbrella as well. The architect should pay rigorous attention to the architectural integration of the lighting project and ensure its functionality aligns with the other building systems. Clear and consistent communication is vital in implementing a successful lighting upgrade that meets the goals of everyone on the integrative team.

Lighting Designer

The lighting designer/engineer is responsible for ensuring that all lighting regulations are met, interior and exterior spaces are sufficiently and elegantly illuminated, and that overall lighting retrofit goals are successfully achieved. Example goals of a lighting upgrade could include a percentage reduction in electricity consumption, measurable improvements to occupant productivity or sense of safety, or a decrease in maintenance resource waste. Lowering lighting power through daylight, glazing, reflectance, and control strategies can lead to smaller, less expensive transformers as electricity enters the building. The quality, quantity, color, and performance of light for each occupant and occupant space falls under the responsibilities of a lighting engineer.

Interior Designer

Interior designers form spaces to respond to human needs and in the process delivers functional, psychological, and aesthetic benefits to the occupant. A high-quality visual environment requires optimal surface brightness, comfortable contrast, and reduction of glare. An interior designer considers these factors as well as the orientation and position of furniture and surface reflectance value to optimize energy savings and connection with the natural environment.

Workplace Specialist

Defining and establishing lighting quality and performance criteria for the daily activities of the worker is the role of the workplace specialist. They’ll evaluate the lighting systems for the health, comfort, productivity for flexible space requirements, worker diversity, and on-going needs.

Mechanical Engineer

The mechanical engineer will size the heating and cooling equipment based on both internal heat loads and heat loss through the building envelope. The size and insulation values of windows may increase the size of HVAC systems. Both shading and efficient lighting will help reduce cooling loads. By working closely with the mechanical engineer, the team can ensure that lighting choices have a positive effect on overall building efficiency.

Facility Manager

Dealing with existing buildings undergoing change will involve the Facility Manager. The facility manager should work with architects and lighting engineers to ensure that the lighting upgrades deliver a better environment for occupants while helping to lowering building cost and increase energy efficiency.


The beneficiaries of a lighting system upgrade are the building occupants, who should be considered in all decisions regarding their environment. Occupant behavior plays a significant role in determining if the overall lighting goals are met. A lighting system should be easy to understand through basic training, should provide personalized controllability, and should contribute to positive morale and comfort for everyone subjected. For upgrades to existing buildings, the occupants' perspectives should be brought to the integrative design table to ensure these human impacts are optimized and the lighting system will function as desired in a real-world context.

Operations and Maintenance

The integrative design process doesn’t end when the lighting upgrade is installed. It is important to commission the new lighting technologies and develop a sustainable maintenance plan for future retro commissioning efforts to ensure requirements and goals are met far beyond initial installation. The maintenance professional will be able to provide input on whether lighting choices will be easy to maintain and how to best optimize the lighting O&M impacts.

Architect Lighting Designer Interior Designer Workplace Specialist Mechanical Engineer Facility Manager Occupant Operations and Maintenance


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