Consumer tastes and expectations for the quality and level of finishes in their homes have risen in recent years. These expectations are evident as potential residents evaluate their senior living options. As senior living communities strive to remain competitive in the marketplace, community leaders know that upgrades and building remodeling projects are necessary to attract new residents.

As architects and engineers, our challenge has always been to provide a residential environment all across the continuum of care, from Independent Living through Skilled Nursing. Several new light fixture designs are helping us meet that challenge while providing upgraded light levels.

Renovation brings modernization. This means more equipment, piping and recessed light fixtures need to share what little space is available above the finished ceilings. Older buildings often do not have fire sprinkler piping, and there may be minimal telecommunications and data cabling. Likewise, fire alarm and other life safety systems are not always up to current standards. Even if an older building has air conditioning, the amount of ventilated fresh air is never adequate, requiring additional larger ducts. As you can see, the precious space above a ceiling, especially in a corridor, is quickly filled.

What about the lighting?

Current lighting design standards and styles take a simple ceiling and add coffers, coves and decorative embellishments. The goal is typically to raise the ceiling height as much as possible. While all of the items mentioned above may be concealed above the ceiling, the light fixture placement is critical and highly visual. And often the light placement requires the centerline of a corridor. Until recently, a standard coffer, 2×2 or 2×4, would require a minimum of 4-to-6-inches of clearance above the ceiling. Recessed downlights typically required a minimum of 8-inches.

New products by Cooper Lighting and other manufacturers provide options to work with challenging spaces. The development of T5 fluorescent lamps provides a high light output from a 5/8″ diameter tube. Along with ballast improvements, 2×2 and 2×4 fixtures in the Corelite R1 Ultra-Shallow line have an overall depth equal to that of the lay-in ceiling grid itself. If the ceiling can be installed, the lights will fit.

LED light fixtures are quickly becoming more cost effective in the marketplace and have improved light output levels. The Halo line from Cooper Lighting now has an LED recessed downlight replacement fixture that only requires the recess above the finished ceiling of the electrical junction box. It is available in two sizes, a 4-inch and a 6-inch diameter. It has a lens and white trim ring.  

Both of these fixtures allow a higher level of visual finish by avoiding the use of surface mounted light fixtures. In addition to the aesthetic value, the recess avoids blockage of fire sprinkler head discharge by the light fixture housing. It also reduces the maintenance issue of dusting and cleaning surface mounted fixtures.

A great deal of time and effort goes into the coordination of equipment and services located above ceilings. When conflicts arise, it can be expensive to solve the headache. Lighting products such as those offered by Cooper Lighting are product options that help satisfy the engineer, architect and interior designer’s goals. The light level is comfortable, evenly distributed, and provides an aesthetic solution that is more appealing for the end user.  

New product solutions by Cooper Lighting