IES Releases Recommendations of Lighting for Seniors

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) has published a standard of lighting for seniors. IES intends the recommended practice standard titled, “Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16),” to increase the designers’ understanding of age-related vision loss.
Also, the standard is meant to stress the importance of lighting design decisions that could impact the safety and independence of the growing senior population.

The 2007 edition of IES recommendations of lighting for seniors primarily related to lighting applications for housing and senior care facilities. However, in the 2016 edition, IES expanded its coverage to also include places of assembly, hospitality, commercial, offices, and healthcare lighting applications.

The IES also revised the RP-28-16 to serve a broader range of users, including design professionals, owners/managers of commercial buildings, and individuals, as well as code and regulatory agencies and legislative bodies.

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It is well understood that healthcare costs will increase in the United States as its elderly population ages. As the country braces for this huge economic impact of an aging and retiring population, IES contends that appropriate lighting and a supportive visual environment should be considered as a preventive measure.
The ideal lighting could reduce the risk of falls, sleep disorders and even potentially reduce the need for long-term care.

According to IES, code officials, governmental agencies and the tax-paying public should all give installing lighting for the growing senior population a top priority.

“Loss of independence is one of the greatest fears of aging and seniors are looking for ways to maximize their vision as they age. Current research and design practice have been incorporated into the new RP-28-16 to allow seniors to maintain their quality of life as they age. The Committee has worked diligently to make RP-28-16 inclusive of seniors and also the low vision population to help them maintain a quality of life into their third age,” said Robert Dupuy, Chair of the IES Lighting for the Elderly and Partially Sighted Committee.

“RP-28-16 is an especially important standard in the library of IES lighting standards because it affects a large and growing segment of the U.S. population. We are fortunate to have on the authoring committee such a dedicated group of advocates with a deep understanding and awareness of the issues facing seniors and low vision populations,” said Tim Licitra, IES Executive Vice President.

Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16) provides in-depth treatment detailing specific lighting applications and are available in print or as a PDF download from the IES at for $80.00 or $56 for IES Members ISBN: 978-0-87995-337-9. Softcover, 8 ½ X 11 format, 118 pages.