Tunable White, challenges and solutions

Tunable white lighting control is the technology used for circadian lighting to improve people’s health and well-being. However, it is as unknown as the circadian lighting concept and thus, undervalued in the lighting sector. Let’s see the underlying reasons and some solutions.

What is tunable white?

Generally speaking, there are four types of lighting:

  • ON/OFF lamps: do not allow regulating, only turn on and off.
  • Dimmable lamps: fixed white color, but they allow light intensity regulation.
  • RGB(W): allow color and intensity change.
  • Tunable white: white color, but allows color temperature change (from cool white 6000K to warm white 2700K) and intensity regulation.

Lighting performance and minimizing energy consumption are the aims in the current market. That’s why LED-based lighting systems, such as RGB(W) and tunable white lights, have witnessed notable market landscape growth in recent years. 

Although RGB(W) and tunable white lights are more efficient and sustainable, they are more expensive than conventional ON/OFF or dimmable lamps because they are made of several LED chips with different light characteristics to mix them and get the right color or color temperature.

In addition, RGB(W) is a more common choice between them, due to the visual effect of colored light scenes, which makes it more attractive for lighting design than tunable white. However, not even RGB(W) is used at its full potential when the user has to interact with the system to select the light parameters at any moment. Only some colors are set in certain scenes, but they are mostly static. 

HCL is the key to valuing the benefits of tunable white LEDs

The color temperature change could not be correctly valued from the visual side, but the non-visual side of this kind of regulation could have an important effect on human well-being and health, such as:

  • Stimulate or suppress the secretion of melatonin and other hormones that can affect our mood, alertness, and health.
  • Support the human circadian system.
  • Setting and regulating the body’s biological clock.
  • Improve attention and concentration.
  • Correct circadian misalignment.

These benefits could have a positive impact on industrial and medical spaces, senior living facilities, prisons, dormitories, high-density housing, and schools. Or for example, varying the light color and intensity may be used by medical professionals to treat jet lag, sleep disorders, and other conditions.

If we evaluate the financial impact of health improvement when using circadian lighting, their results could be surprising. For example, improving productivity can have a huge impact on a company due to the importance of payroll in business expenses. 

These financial benefits added to the energy savings of Human Centric Lighting due to the adaptive light intensity to the activity in spaces of buildings, helping reduce the payback time of circadian lighting systems to the minimum.

How can we make lighting more user-friendly?

Companies need to think about the user experience all the time and put the user at the center of their strategy. Users should have control over their lighting, but at the same time, need tools that help them automate this control and take advantage of the benefits of the lighting system without additional knowledge and effort. 

Thus, individual lighting control should be available for the workstations, for example, but dynamic scenes with the most suitable lighting characteristics in terms of color temperature and intensity will improve the user experience and also their health, productivity, and well-being in an unconscious way if an automatic lighting mode is selected.

How can Kumux help companies overcome the challenges of human-centered lighting?

At Kumux, we don’t forget the user experience. We put users at the center of our solutions, offering lighting solutions that can help improve people’s health and, at the same time, reduce energy consumption. 

We have developed control systems that allow you to overcome the tunable white challenges with additional features for this kind of lighting:

  • Determine the best light quality that is adapted to your biological needs, based on geolocation, time, and activity in an automated way.
  • Create healthy and customizable scenes and spaces.
  • Obtain natural light properties.
  • Reduce the lighting system energy consumption

If you want to know more about our lighting solution, contact us!