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Glossary of Lighting Terms

Lighting Terms from A to Z

Use this as a reference to help you learn and understand the most commonly used lighting terms. 

lighting glossary Glossary of Lighting Terms

ADA Compliant

Fixtures that adhere to the guidelines provided by the Americans with Disability Act, stating that a wall light be no more than 4 inches from the wall and be mounted between 27 inches and 80 inches above the finished floor.

Backplate

The angle of a ceiling fan’s blade measured in degrees, influencing how much air is moved around by the fan.

Blade Pitch

The angle of a ceiling fan’s blade measured in degrees, influencing how much air is moved around by the fan.

Canopy

The decorative plate that attaches to the ceiling to cover the junction box.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

A scale used to measure the ability of light to reveal the true color of an object. The scale is from 0 to 100 percent, light sources with a higher CRI make colors appear more crisp and clear, while those with a lower CRI may make colors appear dull or faded.

Color Temperature

The number of Kelvins determine the warmth or coolness of light. Color temperatures closer to 7000K appear blue, and should be used in commercial and industrial lighting. Fixtures producing a color temperature of 3500K should be used in kitchens and bathrooms. Spaces that require warmer light, such as living rooms and bedrooms, should use 2700K to 3000K. See Kelvin.

Dark Sky

Outdoor lighting that direct lights down toward the ground as opposed horizontally or directly to into the sky. This helps reduce lighting pollution and limits the amount of light that diminishes dark skies and the visibility of stars.

Diffuser

A covering or shade that controls light by softening or scattering it. Diffusers are used to eliminate or reduce glare and hotspots and are available in a number of materials and colors.

Dual Mounting System

Ceiling fan mounting systems that can be installed with a downrod or flush mounted directly to the ceiling. This allows for flexibility when installing ceiling fans in rooms with standard and lower-than-average ceilings.

Extension

The depth of a wall light, measuring from the wall to the to the farthest point away from the wall on the fixture.

Energy Star

The rating given to products that meet the standards of energy efficiency se by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star is a voluntary program helping businesses protect our climate and environment through energy efficiency. However, there are many energy efficient products that are not Energy Star rated.

Finial

The piece that screws in the top of a lampshade to keep it secure. Also refers to the decorative ornament at the crown or bottom of a fixture.

Freejack

The connector for Tech Lighting low voltage lights.

Hardwired Fixtures

Fixtures that are installed directly into the wall or ceiling with cables and wires.

Harp

The piece used to secure a lampshade to the base.

Housing

The enclosure for recessed sockets and trim above a ceiling.

Junction Box

Also called an outlet box, an enclosure that houses and protects electric wires and cables.

Kelvin

The unit of measure for the color temperature of a light source. Read this guide to color temperature and kelvin.

Lumens

The amount of light produced by a bulb. Lumens equals brightness, so more lumens means more light. Learn more about lumens here

Monopoint

WAC Lighting Quick Connect fixtures that come with a pendant and socket set. A compatible quick connect adpater will be required for installation.

RapidJack

ET2 Lighting’s no-wire, no-hassle installation system.

Transformer

The device needed to raise or lower the electric voltage. Transformers are needed to reduce down to low voltage for low voltage lights, such as accent and landscape lighting.

UL-Listed

Also known as “Underwriters Laboratory”, an independent organization that tests electrical products for safety. UL Listed products indicate the product safety tests have been passed. Learn more about safety ratings here.

Voltage

A unit of measure of the pressure of electricity flowing through a wire.

Wattage

The amount of electricity consumed by a bulb.

Wet / Damp / Dry Listed

Wet location rated fixtures can be installed outdoors with full exposure to elements, moisture and weather. Damp Location rated fixtures can be installed in areas that are protected from weather and moisture, including covered patios and porches. Indoor damp locations include the area over bathtubs or showers. Dry Location rated fixtures can only be installed indoors where they are fully protected.