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Our Process

The firm’s process revolves around helping our clients envision the space they are creating. The journey often begins with a simple question: “What is the first impression you want people to experience when they enter the space?” With that goal foremost in our minds, we identify and articulate how light will move through the space, determine what elements will be lighted or not lighted, and where the light sources will be located. A thoughtful and selective lighting of architectural elements defines a space and reinforces its function.

Renfro Design Group Process Renderings SketchesRenfro Design Group Process

The design team looks for creative ways to achieve the design goals. We communicate ideas to our clients by using lighting diagrams and illustrations, creating computer-enhanced photographs, and by preparing study models or mock-ups. We specify the lighting equipment that meets the needs of the project’s illumination requirements, budget, and maintenance program. The implementation of a design solution is only as good as the specification of its components. Renfro Design Group believes in quality communication with the construction team as well as the client

Renfro Design Group Technology Mockups Renderings Models

A crucial step of bringing a design concept to reality is a willingness to remain involved throughout the construction process - facing the challenges of construction and coordination with multiple trades, onsite focus and system tuning and turn-over to ensure the design goals have been achieved. Successful architectural lighting is the result of thoughtful collaboration, communication and research. We strive to excel in these key practices.

Our Tools


Significant technological advances have made communicating lighting design a more efficient means of collaboration. Revit and online meetings will not replace the traditional design charette, but it does sometime make it easier to talk through a design sketch or concept. Using radiosity and ray-tracing techniques, we often conduct “computerized mock-ups” and lighting calculations. Historic photographs are merged with new design ideas in technical illustration programs. Entire lighting schemes are diagrammed, illustrated and
specified electronically.


Renfro Design Group Technology Mockups


As enticing as computerized lighting calculations can be, often there is no substitute for “the real thing”. The interaction of light with building form and material is often too complex for a computer to accurately simulate. In these situations, we create physical mock-ups of luminaires, luminaire elements, and even entire parts of buildings to study these interactions. Often, these yield discoveries that are merged with information from our computer studies. We have facilities in-house to produce many of these mock-ups; site-specific mockups can be coordinated by us and managed in the field or remotely.


Mock-ups, computer calculations, and renderings are all tools we use to produce a first-rate design, but these tools are of little value without experience. A computer calculation without interpretation and validation is of little to no value to a client. Many times, it can be misleading. Renfro Design Group likes to think of electronic and physical mock-ups as tools, but our toolbox is also equipped with the most valuable tool of all, our experience. All of our work, all of our data, all of our renderings and test results, are constantly tempered by our design teams.

Approach to Sustainable Lighting Design

Renfro Design Group Inc. (RDG) has extensive experience in creating and implementing functional, flexible, energy efficient and maintenance friendly designs tailored to a project’s specific needs. We maintain that purposeful lighting placement that articulates the architecture while supporting the occupants minimizes energy consumption. In an era where energy conservation has become essential, RDG remains committed to constructing efficient, well-illuminated environments that emphasize a sustainable design objective. The RDG design approach crafts a hierarchy of illumination within a space, only lighting essential elements to balance both the function and beauty of architecture. In addition to architectural lighting design, our firm provides daylight analysis, review of LEED lighting credits and lighting controls specifications. By reducing building energy consumption we can lower overall lighting maintenance and cost. Responsible lighting design begins with sustainable concepts, thoughtfully chosen light sources, compliance with energy codes and regulations and implementation of intelligent lighting controls with attention towards design longevity. It is through the use of smart design strategies that many of our projects are able to meet LEED certification. RDG designers are all members of the United States Green Building Council and include LEED Accredited Professionals.

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