Lighting Achievement Within a Fitness Facility

by on September 21st, 2010
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I have been looking into energy efficiency and decided to do an examination of the methods of illumination at my local gym. The establishment is California Fitness, located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Not only was it informative, in a general sense of interest, but personally beneficial to explore, being as I spend several hours there, over the course of three to four days every week. The gym is open twenty-four hours a day so it has the issue of matching natural light to artificial light at all times. I visited the facility at about midnight to research their lighting methods.

The overall lighting layout is very utilitarian with rows of fluorescent lamps providing a bright but consistent ambient glow. The lamps themselves appear to be from the T series (T-5 or T-8?), housed in recessed fixtures so that the ceiling is flush across the building. All the primary fitness quarters have this arrangement, including the free weights, aerobics, and cardio machine rooms. The sales office uses the same method of lighting, however their fixtures are smaller than those used elsewhere.

Task lights can be found throughout the two-story building, lighting frequently used areas for specific duties. These are all halogen bulbs and apparently flood lamps, aimed at the reception desk for computer work and to greet guests as well as in the stairwell, where the ceiling slopes and long fluorescent lamps are impossible to fit in. Most of the halogen lamps are also recessed into the ceiling, like their ambient counterparts, with a couple exceptions of ceiling-mounted lamps with adjustable supports, that are aimed at particular areas.

California Fitness does not utilize any accent or mood lighting within their building. Everything is quite forthright. Decorative lighting can be found in a few places, however. Several neon signs are hung on the walls, mostly as advertisements, but also as motivational slogans. Built-in tanning rooms are adorned with these signs, briskly declaring what they are. (As a side note, I could not gain access into these rooms and could not explore the lighting design within.) Also, signs such as, “Just Do It”, and “Pump” are hung high on the walls softly glowing pink and green and violet.

The lighting plan seems well devised, even with the lack of frills. The lighting designer apparently had a purpose that he fulfilled in all its basics – effectively lighting a gym. The rooms are fairly shadow-free thanks to the staggered effect of the overlapping fluorescent lighting. The luminescence is bright and warm, pleasing to keep the mind invigorated without the mental exhaustion caused by excessively bright light. During the day most of the lamps are turned off, as all the fitness rooms are bounded by expansive bay-type windows, inviting great natural sunlight to fill the building. The employees must manually turn additional lights on or off, depending on the sunlight, as there seems to not be any mechanical device installed which automatically does this.

The purpose of the lighting scheme is achieved and maintenance appears to be very low. I believe this to be a cost effective system of general lighting, which serves the function it is meant to. This lighting plan is not going to win any awards for its creativity, but it solves the needs presented to it.

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