Light Reflectance Value

by admin on October 29, 2012


Light Reflectance Value

Light Reflectance Value is a number assigned to the reflection of colors. For example, a white test card presents a value of 100%, whereas, light absorbing newspaper has a value of 60%. Light Reflectance Value is commonly used by companies selling paint to help customers identify paint colors.In addition, it’s the complete volume of clear and appropriate light emulated by a varnish in multiple directions.

The above image is from the Benjamin Moore Paint color system

Paint companies often have cards on display which provide values for numerous colors that can be selected to identify the required type of paint. Similarly, graphic designing and even generic image editing application often provide LRV values to pick a color to insert in the project.

LRV is also included at the back of paint chips and boxes to provide accurate information regarding the paint inside the box and to help professional painters to determine the color that they may require.

It is worth mentioning here that light, color and texture are inter linked. If you alter a room’s color from bright tone to a different one, the light reflectance of the room will be significantly changed. For example, it can decrease and make the room appear darker than it was before. Similarly, matt surfaces are known for absorbing light and therefore, they give out a deep, dark look, unlike glossy reflective surfaces. If you want to make a room appear larger, then you should use light and glossy colors.

If you are painting a kitchen or a dining room, then it might be a good idea to use darker colors, with heavier textures and perhaps a matt finish. This will make the room appear cozier. Make sure that the selected dark colors are low light reflectance darker colors. If you find a room too flat in appearance, after painting it with a matt finish, then you can paint the top with a glaze. This will increase light reflectance of your walls.

When selecting colors for painting your house or office walls, it is also necessary to consider the life of the paint that is being applied on the walls. Colors which have a higher level of light reflectance value normally last longer. One example of a color with a high reflectance value is white. On the contrary, darker colors with low light reflectance have a shorter life. However, lighter colors also reflect some of the harmful light from the sun, whereas, darker colors have the quality of absorbing light.

When it comes to semi-transparent surfaces, Light reflectance values are hard to determine. This is because light that moves through such a surface is absorbed and reflected by the timber that lies below it. Even a stain that may be applied over a pine can have a very high reflectance value, as compared to stains on darker timber. This is the reason where is no standard value available for colors of wood stains.

Color consultants and graphic designers require analyzing information regarding Light Reflectance Values in different stages. For example, in corporate workspaces for instance, it is necessary to give the right look to the building’s design for proper visual appearance that matches the business and its brand(s). This is particularly true for large business organizations. When designing the buildings for such corporations, LSV plays an important role. Furthermore, LSV can be used to properly plan a buildings lighting structure in such a way that more light reflection can be made available in the building premises. This can result in less need for light fixtures, which can result in significant saving in energy costs for the business. Imagine the kind of energy costs that can be saved for a business located inside a 10 floor building with dozens of offices.

While LSV is not widely considered important by homeowners, the careful planning in respect to Light Reflectance Value can result in a livelier look for a building, save energy costs and add to the beauty of the premises. Home and business owners should make better use of LSV information, in order to make their buildings more energy efficient and to give it an appropriate look.

Read more about LRV from Lori A. Sawaya

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