Human health and wellness are directly tied to exposure to natural light. Lighting can affect our mood, productivity, sleep, cognitive performance, and more. Why? Because as humans, exposure to light directly impacts several biological functions in our body, including metabolism – which contributes to the proper function of every organ in the body – sleep, blood circulation, and hormone balance.
Information is rapidly emerging on the benefits of commercial and residual lighting designed with human health in mind, called Human Centric Lighting (HCL). You can easily implement HCL into your building design and renovations using LED lighting and other technology.
What is Human Centric Lighting
Not only does light allow us to see the world around us, but it synchronizes our internal clocks. Before the lightbulb was invented, humans lived by the sun’s natural light cycle for thousands of years. Today, people spend most of their time in artificial light, which disrupts our circadian rhythm. That can turn into serious sleep problems, which leads to multiple health-related issues. Lighting can also affect our mood and energy levels.
Human Centric Lighting is lighting solutions and designs that mimic natural light. Dr. Kevin Houser, Professor at Oregon State University, and Dr. Tony Esposito, Head Research Scientist of Lighting Research Solutions, explain, “Human-centric lighting begins with effective prioritization of design goals and is an outcome of good decision making at every step in the lighting design process. Human-centric lighting begins with project conceptualization and continues through the prioritization of design goals, architectural design (including daylighting design), lighting equipment specification, commissioning, and operation of the lighting systems.”
LED Lighting and Human Centric Lighting
LED fixtures and light bulbs are perfect for human centric lighting design because they are precise and easily adjusted. LED lights come in a variety of color temperatures. Color temperature describes how yellow or blue a white LED light appears. With the goal of HCL to most closely mimic natural sunlight, LEDs can be easily adjusted to replicate the color temperatures of the sun as it changes throughout the day. These color changes help balance circadian rhythms.
LED lights can be connected to smart devices to customize, schedule, and operate lighting on demand, including changing brightness levels and color temperatures. LED lights allow you to efficiently automate lighting to create desired color changes during the day.
How to Incorporate Human Centric Lighting into Your Design or Build
Human centric lighting design applies to every residential and commercial building. Healthcare facilities, schools, retail spaces, offices, other commercial buildings, and homes can benefit from HCL, especially when access to natural light is limited. You can start incorporating HCL concepts by assessing how the space will be used and access to natural light, installing tunable or Smart LED lights and replacing fluorescent lightbulbs.
Determine how space will be primarily used and how much time people will spend in that space. For example, areas where people should feel alert and motivated would have different lighting than a space where someone needs to relax or recuperate.
Using color and temperature control with LEDs, rooms can be adjusted depending on the circumstances or overall use of the space; lower, warmer colors to create a relaxing effect, or bright and cooler colors to improve vision and sharpness.
Tunable or Smart LED Lighting
Research has found that blue-white light is better in the morning and during the day and that warm amber light is best for the evening. This follows the same color spectrum as the sun, where it’s brighter in the morning, peaks in the afternoon, and dims as the sun sets. The goal is to keep melatonin production on track so you don’t disrupt your sleep cycle.
Tunable LED lighting allows users to automate lighting color temperature and brightness to mimic the sun’s daily cycle.
Replace Fluorescent Lightbulbs
Contrary to natural light, fluorescent light bulbs emit a limited range of color temperature and have high-intensity brightness. Several health issues are associated with extended exposure to fluorescent lights, including mental fatigue, negative moods and emotions, migraines, eye strain, sleep cycle disruption, dizziness, and more.
Several LED light options make it easy to replace fluorescent bulbs and fixtures. Low-energy LED PL light bulbs can replace inefficient compact fluorescent lamps in almost any fixture with easy installation. LED PL bulbs are available in different pin configurations, wattages, temperatures, and lumens.
Human Centric Lighting is projected to become a significant aspect of building design and renovation. BIS Research predicts the global market for HCL technology will hit $3.91 billion by 2024. As a builder, architect, or developer, by implementing HCL, you can positively impact the well-being of your building’s occupants for years to come.
EarthTronics, Inc. is an LED energy-efficient solutions company dedicated to creating a positive impact for the environment, businesses, and consumers. EarthTronics LED lightbulbs and fixtures are made for durability and easy installation and provide energy savings with a solid return on investment for energy retrofits, renovation projects, and new construction.
Contact us to learn more about LED lighting solutions.