How LED lighting can help wellbeing, productivity and the environment
Katie Camero | 15 November 2017
A switch to smart LED lighting systems could provide healthier workplaces environments while cutting carbon emissions and boosting productivity, according to the World Green Building Council.
Most of humanity spends the majority of their day indoors under artificial lighting, missing out on the benefits of natural daylight, but lighting systems designed to better mimic natural light could provide myriad benefits, member of WorldGBC’s advisory board and head of global public and government affairs at Philips Lighting Harry Verhaar said in a blog last week.
What used to be a focus on artificial lighting is now on “human-centric” lighting, Mr Verhaar said, given research that proves lighting’s effect on human wellbeing and productivity, especially in the workplace.
The installation of a connected LED system could control the intensity, spectrum and distribution of lighting throughout the course of the day, reflecting circadian rhythms. This would allow building managers to support individuals’ mental needs as well as offer the right type of lighting conditions for specific work activities, Mr Verhaar said.
Research shows that there are three key benefits of light on human life: visual, emotional and biological.
Visual acuity can vary up to 35 per cent between groups of 60 and 30 year olds at the same light levels, which proves a dynamic and flexible lighting system is needed to satisfy the comfort needs for all individuals in a building, Mr Verhaar said. This in turn influences peoples’ mood, productivity and job satisfaction.
In 2000, a discovery of a new type of photoreceptor in the eye that regulates our sleep and wake cycle led to breakthrough research into the importance of building design in areas like lighting. By maintaining our circadian rhythm, light can help to regulate important bodily functions, thus influencing physical and emotional wellbeing.
Because people spend about 80 to 90 per cent of their time indoors, they cannot rely on daylight in their work environments to get the support they need. A connected LED system could solve these problems, Mr Verhaar said.
Recent research showed that office workers with enough light nutrition experience better sleep and less depression, and in a school in France, a system that allowed the teacher to control the classroom ambience found that reading speeds increased by 35 per cent while frequency of errors decreased by 45 per cent with better light.
“Human-centric” lighting systems benefit the environment as well.
Lighting accounts for about 15 per cent of the world’s electricity, and an LED system could lessen that amount by eight per cent. Even more high-efficiency lighting with connectivity and smart sensors could deliver energy savings of up to 80 per cent, dramatically decreasing carbon emissions.
“Brought together, the wide range of benefits of connected LED systems can deliver truly human-centric lighting, putting the wellbeing of employees at the heart of building design and carbon emissions: creating a win-win for both individuals and organisations, while safeguarding the environment,” Mr Verhaar said.