Light Reflectance Values are a universal scale that measures the amount of visible and usable light that is reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source. It is used in architecture and interior design to determine how much light a colour reflects or absorbs.
LRV is measured on a scale of 0 being completely absorbing black that reflects no light, to 100 being completely reflecting white that reflects all light. Because the reflectance value is a proportion of light reflected off the surface, rather than the amount of light that falls on it, typically the brightest whites have an LRV of 85 points and the darkest blacks have an LRV of 5 points.
Why are Light Reflectance Values Important?
The Equality Act 2010 requires that all new and refurbished public buildings offer equal access to all regardless of disability, age or gender, ensuring safe entry, exit and passage through the building.
The British Standards’ code of practice (BS 8300-2:2018) states that in order to meet the access needs of disabled people, in this case those that are visually impaired, there must be adequate visual contrast between building surfaces and their surrounding areas. Only 5% of people that are registered as blind can’t see anything at all, most have some colour vision and perception of light & shade.
When specifying both doors and ironmongery, therefore, it is important to consider the LRV contrast between the door facing and ironmongery, in order to comply with BS 8300:2018 requirements. The image below also shows the other LRVs that should be taken into consideration at design stage:
What is the required contrast between light reflectance values?
The standards recommend an LRV contrast of at least 30 points, with 20 points being acceptable if the illuminance on the surface is 200 lux or more. If door opening furniture projects beyond the face of the door or creates an enhanced differentiation in shade, the LRV contrast must be a minimum of 15 points.
Please see below for some approximate Veneer Light Reflectance Values for doors, however we recommend that you ask your door supplier for the LRV for the particular door on your project.