Human-Centric Smart Lighting And How It Increases Productivity
What affect is your lighting having on your building users?
As the seasons change, so does the way rely on our lights – to make up for the darker days outside.
But, how much does lighting really affect the way your building occupants work and feel? The answer is significantly. Yet very little of us think about it. Nor do we associate how we feel, to the light we’re getting – despite there being an intrinsic and proven link between the two.
The optimum way to illuminate your commercial building, is with human-centric smart lighting. Sometimes referred to as biodynamic lighting or circadian lighting. It’s efficient, eco-friendly, and good for employee wellbeing. The three objectives facilities managers everywhere are looking to achieve – especially in light of Covid-19.
What is human-centric smart lighting?
In a nutshell, it’s indoor lighting that mimics the natural cycle of daylight you’d ordinarily experience if you were outside.
Throughout the day, there are different types of light, depending on what time it is. From the clear blue sky of morning, right through to the warm glow of early evening. This aligns with the rising and the setting of the sun.
The colour temperature of any light source is measured by the Kelvin scale. More than 6,000K gives out a bright blue light that’s perfect for where maximum illumination is required, a cool white that mimics natural daylight. Less than 3,000K gives off a nice warm glow, like that of a flame, warm white. This dates to when light bulbs heated a filament wire, the temperature at which it glowed white hot was 2427°C, or 2700K.
Human-centric smart lighting uses the Kelvin scale to replicate the natural light patterns of the sun. And this is important because it’s more in line with our circadian rhythm – in other words – our natural body clock.
The effect of lighting on the human body
There’s a proven correlation between how we act and feel – and the light we’re exposed to.
In fact, research by LightingEurope shows that lighting can have an impact on three things:
- Our feelings. For example, our mood and emotional responses.
- Our ability to function. For example, being able to concentrate or remember things.
- Our health. For example, how much sleep we get.
This is because light triggers the release of specific hormones, which in turn tell your body clock what time it is – which consequently causes action.
For example, darkness releases the hormone melatonin, which encourages your body to sleep. Brightness releases the hormone cortisol, which encourages your body to be alert. These are stimulated by the different lighting temperature too.
The ‘smart’ bit
Human-centric lighting becomes ‘smart’ when it does two things:
- Is tuneable
This is when building users can quickly and easily amend the light intensity and tone – through tuneable white LEDs – so the light fits perfectly with what they’re doing. They can do this is in specific areas of their workspace, for however long they need to.
Why? Because not all of us need natural light levels and colours 100% of the time. That’s because products and materials can look very different in different environments. Think of fabric swatches for example, or furniture. At times, you’ll need the light to be cooler and brighter, to examine patterns or workmanship. Standardising the light you use to compare samples throughout the day.
- Daylight harvesting
This is when human-centric smart lighting constantly monitors how much natural light is coming into your workspace – and then adjusts accordingly. So, if it’s naturally bright because the sun is shining through – it automatically dims down. This is called daylight harvesting and offers you both energy and cost savings.
Proven benefits for organisations
There’s a plethora of research that demonstrates the quantifiable benefits of human-centric smart lighting for every type of organisation – from healthcare and educational settings – to commercial and industrial workplaces.
Here are just a few:
- Improvements in productivity and accuracy
Research from global real estate company CBRE, proved an 18% increase in productivity, and a 12% increase in accuracy – of employees who worked in an office environment where human-centric lighting was used.
- Improvements in sales
Human-centric lighting brought about a 28% increase in sales, when it was used by a supermarket chain in Germany.
- Improvements in health
Another piece of research showed that over half (54%) of staff who worked in an environment with human-centric smart lighting, felt more energised. And just under half (47%) said they were sleeping better as a result.
Distinct advantages in specific scenarios
Whilst research has shown that human-centric smart lighting can benefit any type of organisation, it delivers specific advantages to shift-workers and those working in window-less workspaces.
For shift-workers starting their shift at night, the lighting can be re-set to replicate the natural daytime environment, to give people a better chance of sleep when they return home.
For employees who work in rooms where there are no windows, human-centric smart lighting fools the body into thinking they’re experiencing natural daylight.
Human-centric lighting brought to life
Britain’s fastest growing fitness brand Gymshark – have chosen human-centric smart lighting to create an optimum environment for their employees to work in, to enhance their wellbeing. Property Manager Fleur Johnson, explained the difference from their previous office was unbelievable. “The lighting is so adaptive and responsive to our environment”
Scenariio were chosen to design and install this solution at their Solihull headquarters. You can read more about this here.
In summary then:
- Human-centric smart lighting brings outside light, indoors – by mimicking the natural daylight cycle.
- Lighting affects the human body because it triggers the release of hormones that determine how we feel.
- The ‘smart’ bit is two-fold. Human-centric smart lighting users can adjust the light accordingly when they need to accomplish certain tasks in certain light. And what’s more, it incorporates daylight harvesting to keep energy and costs down.
- The proven benefits of human-centric smart lighting are plentiful for organisations. From greater productivity rates, to improving people’s health.
- Shift-workers and employees working in windowless environments benefit from human-centric smart lighting because it can replicate natural daylight at any time.
- Scenariio has designed and installed human-centric smart lighting in countless organisations, including the UK’s fastest growing fitness brand, Gymshark.
Scenariio specialises in the implementation of cutting-edge technologies to optimise productivity in your workspace and the underpinning infrastructure required to deploy those technologies effectively.
We’re preferred and trusted advisors in the design, supply, and installation of data networks. Our company ethos is caring for our customer’s needs by providing leading products and high-quality service, through integrity and innovation – all delivered by a professional, experienced, and dependable, nationwide team.
Our mission is to make your business more intelligent. The team is passionate about enabling you to understand the advantages of a smart workspace, from sensor-rich networks delivered over structured cabling, to capitalising on the latest developments in the IoT. We aim to improve the way your organisation connects with technology to achieve responsive results, more efficient systems and, ultimately, business growth.
At Scenariio, we deliver smarter solutions for smarter buildings.