Lighting Standards

Review Design Standards General Statements before utilizing this web page.

On this page:
Building Codes & Industry Standards
Denver Service Center (DSC) Requirements
National Park Service (NPS) Requirements

Building Codes & Industry Standards

  • ASHRAE/IES 90.1 2016 (Energy Efficiency) (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers/Illuminating Engineering Society)
  • IBC 2018 for Exit and Egress Lighting (International Building Code)
  • IES Lighting Handbook 10th Edition (Illuminating Engineering Society)
  • IEEE Standards
  • NESC 2017 (National Electrical Safety Code)
  • NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Codes and Standards - see Fire Protection Engineering Standards
  • NFPA 70: NEC (National Electrical Code) 2020
  • UL (Product Safety) (formerly Underwriters Laboratory)

Denver Service Center (DSC) Requirements

Connected Lighting Loads

  • General - 0.7 watts per square foot maximum
  • Exhibit Areas - Maximum lighting power density should be 0.7 watts per square foot (where life-cycle cost effective). An increase of 0.7 watts per square foot is allowed to highlight art or for exhibits, bringing maximum allowable lighting power density for exhibit space to 1.4 watts per square foot.

Exterior Lighting

  • Uplighting landscape and exterior architectural features is not acceptable. Dark night skies are a vital park resource and it is very important to protect the dark night skies and reduce light pollution. Light pollution is often caused by excessive or misdirected outdoor lighting.
  • Use lighting only when necessary (addressing safety and security issues). Timers, photocells, and motion detectors are an effective way of maximizing light during the hours it is needed most. Direct light only where needed and avoid over lighting.
  • Specify full-cutoff luminaries to direct most light downward, reducing light pollution.

Fixtures & Components

  • Listed as defined in NEC Article 100 for application.
  • Use fixtures (luminaries) that efficiently deliver light and are well suited to the expected tasks.
  • Use high-efficiency electronic ballasts in new fixtures.
  • Incorporate appropriate lighting controls. A well-designed lighting control system has the potential to reduce lighting energy use by 30-50%.

Illumination Levels

  • Illumination levels per IES recommendations (normal) and NFPA/IBC Standards (exit and egress).


  • Low wattage with relatively high output lamps.
  • Minimize use of incandescent lighting.
  • Comply with NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) and UL.

Museum Lighting



  • Design lighting systems to provide visual comfort with low energy cost.

Connected Lighting Loads

  • Reduce connected lighting loads with carefully planned task and ambient lighting. (Ambient lighting should be utilized as a strategic method for meeting code restrictions on energy use in all facilities). The most energy efficient lighting installations are based on a balance of three lighting layers - ambient, task and accent lighting. The expected goal is energy-effective lighting design.

Daylighting Design

  • A baseline profile will help establish the potential opportunities for daylighting. Achieving good daylighting is often more of an art than a technical, engineered solution. The eye's perception of light is a key part of visibility. The quality of daylight and the human need for connection to daylight cannot be emphasized enough.
  • Integrate daylighting design with electric lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and architectural systems. Incorporate automated daylight dimming where there is a significant amount of natural light but where turning electric lights off altogether would be inappropriate.

Exterior Lighting

  • The use of white light sources increase nighttime visibility, renders landscaping more natural, and maximizes peripheral vision. Consider using LED (light emitting diode).
  • Integrate security lighting with architecture (soffits, overhangs).

Fixtures & Components

  • Complement architectural style proposed and integrate with structure.


  • Color rendering of lighting is very important. CRI (color rendering index) levels above 80 are recommended.


  • Lighting: For visual comfort and productivity.
  • Lighting Design: Integrating light into the fabric of architecture (both architectural concept and physical structure).

National Park Service (NPS) Requirements

NPS Management Policies 2006 - The Guide to Managing the National Park System



Last updated: November 26, 2021

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