The Importance of Lighting in Commercial Construction

Lighting is essential for any commercial space, from industrial facilities and hospitals to apartment buildings, retail stores, and restaurants. The right lighting design can enhance safety, productivity, comfort, and mood. Poor lighting can lead to eye strain, headaches, stress, low productivity, and accidents.

We’re here to break down the importance of lighting in commercial construction projects. We’ll discuss popular types of lighting, design strategies, and regulatory concerns to help you learn how to harness intelligent lighting design’s power to improve your commercial space! 


Benefits of high-quality lighting

A thoughtful lighting design offers more than just illumination. It can radically improve your employees’ working lives, provide stability and safety, and even raise profits. 

Here are just a few of the many advantages of investing in the lighting of your commercial building:

  • Highlight important locations and features
  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Enhance visibility and safety
  • Boost productivity
  • Impact mood and organizational culture


Types of lighting in commercial buildings

Ambient lighting 

Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting is your main source of illumination throughout the building and impacts the atmosphere and mood of the area. From ceiling lights to wall-mounted fixtures to floor lamps, the right approach to general lighting will depend on your goals, needs, and the architecture of the building. 

Regardless of the fixtures you choose, ambient lighting is also the area wherein energy efficiency is most important. That’s why eco-friendly bulbs such as LEDs are often preferred for major light sources. 

Task lighting

Task lighting is a form of localized illumination used to emphasize building areas designed for certain tasks. This can improve work performance by providing adequate visibility and helps to differentiate between different areas of the building and their functions. 

Task lighting can vary in terms of presentation depending on the task itself. For example, one kind of task light may be used to improve employee eye strain, while others are meant to highlight areas for visitors or customers. Some of the most common types of task lighting include track lights, desk lamps, and pendant fixtures.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting helps to add aesthetic value to the space by drawing the eye toward attractive features. It’s often used to highlight specific objects, such as paintings or plants while building on the space’s textures, colors, and dimensions.

Generally speaking, accent lights should be about three times brighter than ambient and task lighting in order to create a more focused and dynamic design element. Accent lighting can be achieved with wall sconces, pendant lights, lamps, or just about any type of fixture as long as it is harmonious with the overall visual design of the space.


Factors to consider in lighting design


The interior and exterior lighting on your commercial property must be functional for your purposes. It should also be customized to each particular area within your space. For example, restaurants generally benefit from having different types of lighting in the kitchen vs. in dining areas. 

Lighting technology has advanced significantly over the years. For example, many industrial facilities utilize motion sensors or timers to turn on lights when motion is detected or during business hours when certain spaces are in use.

The mood you want to set

Lighting can seriously impact the mood in your space. Are you trying to create an atmosphere of tranquility and relaxation? Do you want your customers to feel energized and optimistic? Do you want to reduce eye strain and boost productivity for employees working long shifts? Your desired mood should impact the lighting you choose.

Energy efficiency

Lighting costs for commercial building owners can vary significantly depending on the design’s energy efficiency. Here are a few factors to consider when it comes to energy-efficient lighting design:

  • LED lights are a highly energy-efficient option, using up to 90% less energy than old incandescent bulbs and lasting up to 25 times longer. 
  • The use of lighting timers, dimmers, and motion sensors can improve energy efficiency.
  • You can reduce lighting costs with daylighting, which involves taking advantage of natural light with skylights and windows.


Adequate lighting is essential for safety. Commercial lighting design should address the following safety considerations:

  • Adequate lighting is especially important in high-traffic areas.
  • Hallways, lobbies, stairwells, and restrooms should be prioritized since these areas can be difficult to light and lead to safety concerns.
  • An emergency lighting system should be considered in case of fires, power failures, natural disasters, and more.
  • In addition to the risk of falls and accidents, eye strain, headaches, and stress can all result from inadequate lighting.


Commercial construction requires an understanding of federal requirements as well as local rules and regulations. In Oregon, for example, new construction projects must adhere to the standards imposed by the Oregon Department of Energy’s Building Codes Division, including commercial lighting specifications

To ensure you comply with all regulatory standards on your commercial project, it’s important to work with experienced general contractors like BnK Construction with a portfolio of work relevant to your industry.


Use lighting design to get the most out of your commercial property!

From energy efficiency to safety standards to setting the right mood and boosting productivity, the right commercial lighting design can help you get the results you want! 

At BnK Construction, our highly experienced, detail-oriented team of designers and builders are here to help you make your vision a reality. We have more than 75 years of combined industry experience, and we’re here to put our acquired knowledge to work for you!

Take a look at our diverse portfolio of projects and contact us today to learn more about how we exceed expectations and tell us about your project!