Let there be good light
By Danielle Warfe
12 December 2018
Traditionally, lighting has been about visibility and safe movement within a building, but light distribution and patterns can have broader effects on cognitive function and physical health. Check out this video on lighting in the workplace by one of the leading experts in this area, Professor Alan Hedge from Cornell University.
Lighting in our living and work spaces can significantly affect our mood, health, cognition, sleep quality, and ultimately our productivity, creativity and happiness. Seasonal and daylight patterns drive our biological rhythms and have been shown to affect the recovery and management of people with chronic or degenerative illnesses and, potentially, the incidence of obesity and cancer.
Our understanding of the relationship between environmental lighting and health is still emerging but we seem to instinctively know when it’s working for us. Natural lighting and views to the outside are the number one perks valued by employees – more than onsite childcare, gym memberships of standing desks.
Our building code requires natural lighting to be provided appropriate to the function and use of the space, and if it’s not available then artificial lighting can be used. Considering we spend about 90% of our time indoors, nuanced lighting design that incorporates both daylight and the spectra, timing and intensity of lighting suited to what you’re doing, whether you’re an inhabitant, a user or a witness of the space, will improve building performance in its broadest sens and is a relatively cheap investment for occupant health and equanimity.
If you’re looking at lighting performance in your home, workplace or project, we have the research on all this and can help you out.