How to light a church
Lighting in churches and other places of worship has several purposes. Primarily, it allows people to see properly and creates an appropriate atmosphere for prayer and religious rituals. Nevertheless, it must also be decorative, given the artistic and architectural nature of the surroundings. Taking these aspects and different types of church lighting into consideration, we have created this lighting guide.
In this article we will talk about...
- Church lighting: what you need to know
- Lighting the outside of a church
- Lighting religious images and works of art
- Fitting the luminaires
- Which luminaires to use
- Secom luminaires
Church lighting: what you need to know
When illuminating a church, it is as important to choose the right light source as it is to achieve the ideal luminance. In fact, the success of a lighting project in a religious building should not be judged by light metre readings, but by the impressions of the people performing and watching the ceremonies.
Within churches there are zones with very different characteristics, such as the altar, the pews, the choir, the chapel, the sacristy and the entrances. Each of these has to be studied carefully to ensure its lighting requirements are met.
Both old and modern churches are clearly artistic in design, although they differ in architectural style according to when they were built. The works of art they house will also differ in style for the same reason. In all cases, however, the right lighting can ensure materials are suitably highlighted.
As a general rule, a 2700 K warm white light provides a sensation of peace and sanctuary. It creates indirect lighting that, coupled with the wood and stone of the floors and walls, encourages introspection.
We recommend the use of lighting devices with a high colour-rendering index (CRI> 90). This will ensure the colours of the paintings, sculptures, tapestries, frescoes and mosaics are perceived as accurately as possible, enabling visitors to contemplate them in all their glory.
In many religious buildings there are obstacles that impede the distribution of light. The most common are large vertical stone pillars, crossbeams, statues and other decorative elements.
These obstacles mean shadows can be a problem, which is why special attention is required when designing the project. Often, the best solution is to use devices such as swivel heads and articulated arms.
The central nave in a church, however, is usually evenly lit. This can be achieved with the optics in the floodlights. We recommend using between 30 and 40 degrees.
Lighting the outside of a church
When it comes to designing lighting projects, there are several outside areas related to places of worship that need to be considered. They can be classified into three groups:
- Entrance, exit and car park.
- Emergency zones.
For façades, we generally use mechanisms to enhance the architectural and artistic beauty of the building. However, for the other two categories, the light is much more functional.
Lighting religious images and works of art
In this case, it is best to choose luminaires that make it easy to contemplate the works of art, while creating a dramatic look. Here it is important to remember to use spotlights that do not emit UV rays, which could damage the paint, fabric or frescoes.
Fitting the luminaires
The required effect in the church will depend on parameters such as location, the optics of the luminaires and the colour temperature.
The vaults, lamps, candles and other elements found in these building can affect the final appearance. This is why a good lighting plan needs to consider all these factors.
As well as having an aesthetic function, lighting installations have a practical use. They must aid vision while preventing any damage to the historical and artistic heritage. Furthermore, the original structure must also be respected. To achieve this, we use floodlights fixed to the wall, two-way wall lights and diffused downlights.
Which luminaires to use
Given the nature of these spaces, we recommend using LED technology. Its performance, energy efficiency, resistance and adaptability make LED technology the best option.
LED floodlights for churches are ideal for illuminating both façades and interiors.
Secom has a wide range of LED-technology products suitable for churches. They cover the lighting needs of all types of churches and spaces dedicated to worship. Therefore, they are also the perfect option for illuminating evangelical churches. The LED floodlights by Secom, for example, are highly resistant and an have excellent performance rating.
In summary, good church lighting is essential for achieving the right ambience for spaces dedicated to worship, retreat and prayer. However, it is also important to bear in mind criteria such as energy efficiency, savings, and sustainability.More in our blog