Calculations Taking Too Long

Q: My photometric calculations take forever to complete. What can I do to reduce the calculation time?

A: Several factors influence how long it takes to perform photometrics calculations, each of which is described below. If you want the photometrics to calculate faster, reduce one or more of these factors. They are listed in order of their impact on the calculation time.

1. Number of Calculation Points


The most common problem is the software is simply trying to calculate too many illuminance level points on the drawing. The more calculation points you have in your area, the longer the calculation will take.

The number of points for which the illuminance level is calculated in a calculation area can be roughly calculated using the formula A / GS², where A is the total area being calculated and GS is the Grid Spacing setting for the area. For example, a calculation area for a 50,000sf site at 10′ grid spacing will have approximately 500 calculation points (50,000 / 10²).


First, make sure your Distance Unit setting in the Calculate command matches the base unit of your drawing. If they do not match, the software could try to calculate up to 144 times as many points as you actually want. As such, your calculations will take significantly longer, and the results will not be accurate. See the Base Units and Photometrics Calculations article for more information.

To reduce the number of calculation points, increase the grid spacing of the area, or split the area into multiple smaller areas and only calculate the area in which you are actively working.

Using the example above, if you divide the 50,000sf site into two 25,000sf calculation areas, the number of calculation points in each area drops to 250. If you increase the grid spacing from 10′ to 20′, the total number of calculation points drops to 125.

2. Reflections


If the Reflections setting in the Calculate command is set to Single, lines drawn using one of the Solids commands must be accounted for to determine whether and how much light is reflected to the ground from light fixtures. If this setting is enabled, the calculation time related to light-obstructing lines on the drawing is effectively doubled.


For most site lighting projects, such as large parks or parking lots, disabling reflections is recommended. Only enable reflections if you are confident the reflections from light-obstructing objects on your drawing will significantly impact the calculation results.

3. Number of Solid Faces


Each line drawn using one of the Solids commands must be accounted for to determine how it obstructs the light from fixtures. The more light-obstructing lines you have on the drawing, the longer the calculation will take.


When possible, you can reduce the number of light-obstructing lines to decrease the calculation time without significantly affecting the results. Here are two examples:

4. Number of Light Fixtures


Each light fixture on the drawing must be accounted for when calculating the photometrics. This includes light fixtures outside the calculation boundary, as their light may spill over onto the area being calculated. The more light fixtures you have on the drawing, the longer the calculation will take.


While the number of light fixtures does impact the calculation time, we do not recommend adjusting your lighting design to reduce calculation times.



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