Guide to HDB lighting in Singapore

Though most Housing Development Board (HDB) homes have some natural lighting during the day, at night and when the weather is cloudy they require lighting from other sources. HDB usually has a similar lighting design and layout for almost all the homes they have construction. Often home owners find that there is a problem with the HDB lighting it is not working properly. In other cases, they wish to modify the lighting so that they can illuminate some areas better. Hence information about the different kinds of lighting and the layout is provided, so that home owner can take the right decisions

Different types of lamps/bulbs installed in HDB homes

While there are many different kinds of lighting bulbs available in lighting stores, there are mainly three types of lamps used for HDB lighting

LED bulbs

Light emitting diode(LED) bulbs are increasingly becoming the most popular option for lighting in HDB homes in Singapore because they are very energy efficient. These bulbs use semiconductor devices, releasing photons when electricity is applied. Depending on the capacity of the bulb, the number of semiconductors will vary. These bulbs are consuming very less electricity compared to other bulbs, since no energy is wasted in heating. The bulbs are available in many different colors, like red, blue, yellow, green, no additional filters are required. Though they are more expensive compared to other bulbs, the longer life and energy efficiency makes them popular

Fluorescent bulbs

Till a decade ago, fluorescent bulbs were used widely for lighting since they are energy efficient and last for a longer time. These lamps are filled with mercury and other gases, which radiate energy. The phosphorous coating of the lamp then converts the energy into light. A modified version of these fluorescent lamps, the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are also widely used. These consist of a series of tubular loops filled with mercury which produce the same amount of light. However, one of the main problems of using these lamps is that disposal of the lamps is a problem since mercury is very toxic

Incandescent bulbs

The first electric bulbs which were invented were incandescent bulbs. These bulbs consist of a tungsten filament which is surrounded by nitrogen or vacuum and enclosed in a glass bulb of different shapes and sizes. The tungsten filament will glow when the electricity will pass through it, illuminating the area. Compared to other bulbs they are not very efficient, since only a small part of the power consumed is converting into light, the rest is wasted as heat. This heating also reduces the life of the bulbs to a very great extent, so they usually can be only used for one thousand hours. However, they are extremely inexpensive, and can be used for temporary lighting

Colour temperature

The color of the HDB lighting depends on the temperature of the bulb or light source. The right color should be selected based on the application

– Cool white

For offices and kitchen work, it is necessary to have the best illumination available, so that everything can be seen clearly while reading, writing or cooking. In these places it is advisable to cool white bulbs

– Warm white

In some rooms where family members and others are relaxing like the bedroom and living room, the HDB lighting used should not be very harsh. In these places, the bulbs which give warm white light should be preferred.

– Yellow

Yellow or romantic lighting is often used in restaurants and homes, so that the features and flaws of the other person are not very obvious. These can be used in the bedroom just before a person goes to sleep or for accent lighting. Earlier incandescent bulbs were used for yellow lighting and due to the heat generated, they would make the room warmer. However, in some cases, they are replaced with LEDs emitting yellow light

– 3-in-1 lights

While earlier people had to purchase different bulbs for different types of light, it is now possible to combine all the three types of light color in a single light purchasing a 3-in-1 light. These are LED bulbs, and the color of the light can be adjusted using a switch or remote control. Some new versions of these LED bulbs allow the user to gradually adjust the color of the lighting using a rotary switch or similar arrangement.

HDB Lighting installation methods

In addition to the kind of light bulbs used, the location and installation method for HDB lighting is also relevant, since it affect the illumination and maintenance of the lighting.

– Mount lights

Most of the HDB ceiling lights are mount lights, they are installed in the center of the ceiling and are slightly protruding out. These are large lights and the arrangement ensures that the lighting is distributed uniformly in the room. Typically they are round in shape, though some homes may have square or rectangular mount lights

– Recessed / Cove lighting

In some HDB homes, the home owner may wish to install a ceiling fan in the center of the living room for cooling or a chandelier. In other cases, the center light may not offer sufficient illumination for the room. In these cases, he can install HDB living room lights which are recessed so that they are not visible. For this, usually a false ceiling will have to be installed, in which these lights are fitted. This will lower the ceiling height. The recessed coves are similar to the false ceiling, only they are fitted along the wall of the room, and hold the lamps

– Track lighting

Track lighting is an easier and more cost effective option compared to recessed or cove lighting since installing a false ceiling is very tedious. Track lighting consists of a number of bulbs fitted on a metal rod,. This metal rod can be easily installed or removed from the wall depending on the lighting required. However, the illumination provided using the track lighting is less compared to other HDB lighting. Often they are used only for specific sections of the room like television area or a photograph. Some people do not like track lighting because it makes the walls more cluttered.

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