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The Complete Guide to LRV (Light Reflectance Value) in Commercial Interiors

What is Light Reflectance Value (LRV)?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) quantifies the reflectivity of a surface, indicating the percentage of visible light it reflects when illuminated. On a scale from 0 (black, no reflectance) to 100 (white, maximum reflectance), LRV is used to assess various building elements, with specific requirements based on their functions and types. 

What is the Purpose of LRV?

LRV values are used for visual atmosphere, lighting design and compliance with disability access design. 

How is LRV used for visual atmosphere?

Higher LRV values with greater reflectance make a space brighter and visually appear larger than darker spaces.

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How is LRV used in lighting design?

LRV in lighting design is governed by AS 1680, offering recommendations for interior lighting, including LRV values. These values guide the selection of finishes for walls, ceilings, and floors to achieve desired light levels and visual comfort. Check the standard for specific LRV recommendations in various commercial spaces and consider consulting a lighting designer for guidance. 

How is LRV used in design for Access and Mobility?

The applicable standard is "Design for Access and Mobility 1428.1-2009." Visually impaired individuals heavily depend on contrast to discern surfaces and objects. Higher Light Reflectance Value (LRV) in surfaces, reflecting more light, enhances contrast, aiding navigation in commercial interiors. Specific LRV requirements within this standard focus on visual contrast between elements like wall and floor surfaces, particularly in areas prioritizing accessibility.  

The standard mandates a minimum luminance contrast of 30% between adjacent surfaces, utilizing the Bowman-Sapolinski equation for optimal differentiation between surfaces, a practice adopted in the 2009 update of AS 1428.1. 

Does SUPAWOOD provide Light Reflectance Value (LRV) for our product range?

Yes. SUPAWOOD have LRV values for all our standard finishes. 

You can download our full finishes brochure here.

Please note that solid colours will yield consistent LRV results whilst the colour tones of natural materials such as solid timber and natural timber veneer will yield variable results - both the variable tones of the timber and the positioning of the surface area of the material will influence these variations when illuminated by a light source. For this reason we provide specific values for solid colours and average values for our timber finishes within our product range. 

What LRV do I need to achieve the required contrast?

For most lining applications the required contrast is 30% using the Bowman Sapolinski Equation: 

The Bowman-Sapolinski Equation is used to calculate the LRV readings, in line with Part B4 of AS 1428.1 (2009) and Part E3 / E5 of AS/NZ 1428.4. 1 (2009). The equation is of the form C = 125 (Y2 − Y1)/(Y1 + Y2 + 25). 

Now if that looks like Greek to you, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with our LRV contrast calculator download that does all the heavy lifting for you. 


Which finishes have the LRV I need?

Our LRV contrast calculator will give you the answer to that too!

For more information, or to answer any further questions, please reach out to SUPAWOOD's National Specification Manager, Richard Hardwick.

[email protected]

+61 427 573 024

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