The type of lighting chosen for a building is closely linked to other design decisions for that building, such as the basic plan shape, the type and extent of windows, the type of heating or cooling, and the target energy use. Compared with traditional buildings, where all habitable rooms had windows, many modern buildings have interior spaces that depend totally upon artificial lighting. The energy used by artificial lighting is around 20 per cent of typical national electricity consumption, and changing the lighting equipment in a building is relatively easy compared with changing other energy properties of a building, such as insulation. The efficacy and technologies of lighting have made rapid advances in recent decades, after changing little for about 100 years after the introduction of the tungsten lamp. Making changes to lighting design and equipment is therefore a major factor in reducing the energy consumption and carbon emission associated with buildings. The Building Regulations for England and Wales, for example, stipulate the use of low-energy lamps and lighting controls such as automatic switch systems.
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