Lighting designers select the most suitable lighting control to satisfy the building owner’s requirements. However, these requirements are usually focused on visual and cost-saving conditions, and do not even give thought to the unknown impact of non-visual characteristics of lighting on people. Lighting designers have a relevant role as advisors of the building owners, to let them know the benefits of circadian lighting for users’ health throughout their lifecycle.
A study by DesignLights Consortium of lighting in commercial buildings showed that smart lighting could save up to 47% on average in energy for lighting, thanks to the intelligence that reduces the use of light to what is necessary.
Circadian lighting can not only contribute to these savings but also improve people’s well-being and health by helping regulate our circadian rhythms or internal clock. Studies have shown the impact of this kind of lighting on our sleep time and quality, which also prevents us from developing metabolic, cardiovascular, and mental illnesses throughout our life. This way, healthcare services expenses, and absenteeism losses could be lowered with circadian lighting.
Based on these facts, the conversation around smart lighting is changing, giving value to the support of lighting for users’ well-being and the improvement in operating costs. This is a turning point in the smart lighting view for building owners, who start considering light as an asset (with further benefits than simple visual ones) rather than a commodity with a cost to be reduced.
The following applications show how circadian lighting can make a difference in the daily operation of several kinds of commercial buildings where we spend our days at different times of our life.
Application 1 – Schools
Kate is the teacher at a secondary school with 23 students in class. She knows that one of the key factors in students’ learning performance is their rest. However, most of them are sleepy in the morning, since they do not get enough sleep at night.
A progressive brightness and color temperature increase to cool white light early in the morning stimulate the students in class, make them more focused on their tasks and reduce the error rate in their performance. In addition, a less bright and warm white light in the afternoon makes their bodies prepare for a more restorative rest at night.
She also uses a specific warm and dimmed light at certain moments of the day, when the students are more agitated after high-intensity activity in the break, to calm them down and bring their focus back to their work.
Application 2 – Offices
Sarah is the general manager of a company with 362 employees, with flexible working times, so the office is open 12 hours a day.
Their offices have high energy costs, but 90% of the expenses are in payroll. Thus, improving employees’ productivity is one of her main objectives.
Circadian lighting that mimics sunlight solves the problem of natural light exposition in windowless areas of the company facilities, which are 80% of the areas at Sarah’s workspace.
The intense cool light in the morning boosts the energy of the employees, with an impact on their attention, concentration, and performance. A progressive warmer and less bright light in the afternoon help users release melatonin and enjoy better rest at night. This internal clock balance of employees reduces the risk of suffering from metabolic, cardiovascular, and mental health problems.
Moreover, upgrading the lighting conditions at work increases the employees’ work satisfaction, which together with the lower absenteeism rate due to fewer health problems, could improve by 4.5% the productivity. This means an increase in the innovation cycles and the company results.
In addition, the company’s efforts in enhancing the employees’ working environment drive growth in company engagement and a reduction in staff turnover.
Application 3 – Elderly care
Morgan is the manager of an elderly care facility, where 54 people live 24 hours a day and 15 more only stay there for the daytime. He wants them to spend their days in the most comfortable way possible indoors since most of them have motor problems that do not allow them to go out and enjoy the sunshine.
Some interns have dementia or other neurological diseases, which causes them temporal disorientation. These health problems are worsened by sleep disorders, closely related to this kind of disease.
Artificial light that changes throughout the day as healthy natural light, makes the seniors keep track of the day, balance their internal clock and get a better rest at night. In addition, they also get more energy and a positive mood during the daytime, to face their daily physical and mental activities and fight against the effects of dementia.
What can circadian lighting do for you?
These are examples of how circadian lighting systems in commercial buildings can directly impact our health throughout our life. In addition to energy savings that lead to cost reduction, the well-being of the occupants is the main focus of human-centric lighting in smart buildings.
KUMUX Lighting is a circadian lighting system that not only takes into account the changing rhythms of the sunlight all day but also adapts the lighting settings automatically to the activity in each space for every type of building. This way users can enjoy the advantages of the right light for their health from their childhood to their elderly age.
Let circadian lighting light up the path of your life.