Lighting Design: 7 Free Tools You Can Use

Custom lighting can help sell homes. Lighting design, which also plays a major role in the energy efficiency of a home, is now much more involved than just selecting a light fixture. Through strategic lighting design, you can transform plain living spaces into extraordinary ones.

The following free tools can help you incorporate the best and most efficient designs into your homebuilding projects.


Lighting software programs

DIALux calculates and visualizes indoor and outdoor lighting systems in individual rooms or entire buildings. It’s useful for designing both architectural and technical lighting aspects.

RADIANCE is an advanced lighting simulation and rendering package. It considers electric lighting and daylighting to calculate spectral radiance, irradiance and glare indices for interior and exterior spaces. RADIANCE helps predict illumination, visual quality and appearance of design spaces.

SPOT (Sensor Placement + Optimization Tool) allows designers to quantify the existing and intended electric lighting and annual daylighting characteristics of a given space. It also helps establish the optimum photosensor placement for the space, relative to its annual performance and energy savings.

DAYSIM is RADIANCE-based daylighting analysis software that predicts the annual amount of daylight in and around buildings. It models the use of various manual and automated lighting and blind controls, and allows users to specify complex electric lighting systems.


Web-based lighting resources

Lighting Patterns for Homes is divided into three major sections—rooms, equipment and techniques—and serves as an update to “The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes.” The calculator in the equipment section provides more detailed information about the cost, payback, and energy use for each lighting pattern. offers an extensive database of free lighting applications for mobile devices, including energy savings calculators and light testers.

Virtual Lighting Designer is an interactive lighting software system offering 360-degree renderings for residential and commercial applications.

This is just a sampling of the free lighting tools and programs available online. Optimized lighting design for your home building projects has never been so straightforward.