Dimmable lighting in a large room

Hi - does anyone have any ideas?
Right now our grim church hall is lit with 8x 5' flourescent tubes. We're looking at a major refurbishment and I would like to change the lighting for something that looks a lot less like a 1980's supermarket.
It should be dimmable so that the room can be used for different kinds of functions. Ideally it would be nice to use some sort of low energy solution.
The lamps should be very low maintenance (ceiling is ~20 feet high) Perhaps it would be good to have something that is wall mounted rather than ceiling mounted to make lamp changing easier.
Room is 10m x 20m
I don't know much about this sort of large scale lighting. Is there anything dimmable and low energy available? Or should we go for modern flourescent fittings and a separate dimmable halogen system?
Any thoughts?
Jon.
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they were saying:

Dimming - and flexibility - by having a bank of switches so that only the required lights are switched on at any given time?
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The problem with switching is that you get part of the room at full brightness and part of the room a lot darker. It doesn't really give a nice even low-light. I'm thinking maybe a load of low energy downlights for high-intensity use. Supplemented with a few 150W linear halogen lamps used as uplighters, on a dimmer.
Anyone have any better ideas?
Jon.
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Tournifreak wrote:

With a 20' high ceiling thats not in the least true. Even with lower ceilings its not hard to make that issue not occur.

I'd look at going with fluorescents that are not directly visible, would be a much better solution. Check out trough lights and shelf lights here http://www.wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Fluorescent_Lighting
Halogens would eat many times as much power, especially dimmed.
Finally, it would help if you told us more about the ceiling. And the most energy efficient option is metal halide, followed by linear fluorescent. Good quality tubes are available as well as many not nice ones, and hidden fittings are pretty much a must if you want it to look decent.
NT
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that depends on how you spead the switched lights about. if each switch controls ligths that are spread over the whole ceiling then it won't happen.
Are there not spring balanced light fittings that allow you to lower the fittings for maintenance, or indeed to raise and lower them to suit the occasion?
R
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Only if you wire it that way. The banks can be interleaved so that whole room is, say, 1/4, 1/2 or fully lit.
MBQ
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You already have pretty much the most efficient lighting you can have, except modern electronic ballasts would be a slight improvement, as might cleaning what you have and replacing the tubes. Electronic ballasts would be required for dimming, although that hikes the price something chronic. There are ways of providing different lighting scenes without going to dimming though.
Can you put up a picture of the interior of the building somewhere? That's gives us an idea what we're making suggestions for, and what might or might not be suitable.
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Andrew Gabriel
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You don't say what sort of budget you are on.
At the high end, have a look at some of the advanced fluorescents from Mr Resistor:
http://www.mr-resistor.co.uk/default.aspx
The DimSlim T5 range is both dimmable and whiteness level tunable (i.e. the colour temperature is tunable, by altering the balance between two different tubes) - but it's expensive.
Then think about doing the something similar, but more cheaply with stuff from TLC:
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Information/default.htm
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Don`t say what different functions, if it just needs to be brighter for the badmington than the ladies literary circle, bank swithcing will probably be fine. If its also in use as a theatre/cinema somthing that dims is pretty essential. Fluro dosent dim down to or up from zero particularly well so is non starter for main houselights in that setting. Bit more information on uses and possibly adding sci.engr.lighting and rec.arts.theatre.stagecraft as crossposts might get some more ideas.
Adam
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On 28 Jan,

a couple of 70w Metal halide uplighters may be ok for efficient general lighting, but take a while to reach full brightness and to re-strike. Not dimmable though.
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