Human Centric Lighting
It’s the new term being coined around the lighting industry as the next big wave of LED innovation and for good reason.
While still relatively new in concept, HCL technology aims to bridge the gap between efficient LED lighting and human focused efficient LED lighting.
To explain, the LED market has long made efficiency the focus of their research when designing LED lights. Better engineering of heat sinks, quality LED driver systems, higher lumen outputs at lower wattages; all efforts for a more efficient light.
While this is all great in energy cost savings and our overall efforts for a more sustainable future, it does little to address the long-standing problem amongst humans [that only gets worse as we become increasingly more indoor and electronic dependent creatures] – our seemingly out of whack circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are best explained as internal clocks that regulate the sleep and wake cycles of living beings throughout each 24hr period and they have worked harmoniously in conjunction with the rising and setting of the sun for thousands of years.
When the sun rose, your brain would respond by raising your internal body temperature and cortisol level to give you the energy boost needed to awaken. As the sun would set, your eyes would send a signal to your hypothalamus that its time to rest and your brain would respond by releasing melatonin to allow your body to feel tired and ready for bed.
This all worked well during a time in which humans spent most of their awakened time outdoors but as technology improvements were made, humans have had to spend more and more time behind closed doors under light that emits one kelvin temperature throughout their entire 8hr workday.
Why does this matter?
As mentioned briefly in the paragraphs above, the suns light varies depending on the time of day. A brighter bluish in hue light is emitted by the sun in the morning and a more relaxed amber in hue light is emitted by the sun as it begins to set.
The subsequent reaction that our internal circadian rhythms respond with, has more to do with the hue of the light than just the actual light or time on its own. And since light manufacturers can only attempt to imitate the sun (never replace it!), they assign labels called “Kelvin Temperature” or “CCT” to show the different hue that each particular light is imitating. We call this Correlated Color Temperature and each LED light has (1) set temperature for the entire lifespan of that given light.
So again, why does this matter?
This matters for two reasons.
One, because exposure to the right hue, at the right time, can increase the effectiveness of the task you are looking to accomplish in such a way that your health and well-being are positively impacted in the long run. And two, because exposure to the wrong hue, at the wrong time, can have just the opposite effect on your health and well-being.
Cue in Human Centric Lighting.
- Circadian Rhythms
- Visual Acuity
- Improved Productivity
- Overall Mood
What Human Centric Lighting technology aims to do is create CCT tunable LED products that can be adjusted to the needs of each particular office thus allowing companies the ability to promote an energized, or restful, state among employees at any given time interval.
This in turn, cultivating an environment of productive and well-rested employees that are clearheaded and ready for each working day and whatever obstacles that day may bring.
And while the scientific research on this is still relatively new [partly due to the relatively new technology of HCL], there are various studies proving what many HCL supporters already know.
Take for instance a recent study conducted by Lighting Research Center (LRC) and General Services Administration Buildings (GSA) on the effect of Circadian Stimulus on employee productivity and overall well-being:
The LRC and GSA studied five different GSA buildings that had implemented HCL technology over a three-year period by asking all 109 participants to wear a “dosimeter” that would measure light intake and Circadian Stimulus (CS). The CS would range from a low of 0.1 to a high of 0.7; with 0.7 representing CS of natural daylight.
What researchers found is that “workers who were exposed in the morning to a CS of at least 0.3, exhibited greater circadian entrainment, were able to fall asleep more quickly at bedtime, and experienced better-quality sleep than those receiving a morning CS of 0.15 or less”.
Another study conducted on an office in Prague that had implemented CCT tunable LED luminaires also had similar results.
After implementing some 2,000+ CCT Tunable LED luminaires that were programmed to follow a strategic light cycle, they found that workers felt more energized and better able to fulfill tasks; especially after the mid-day lunch hour that before had employees feeling tired and in need of an espresso in hopes of getting that mid-day energy boost.
What’s even more impressive is that the Prague office is now down to 500 employees; all doing the work that 600 were before installation and renovation of the building.As can be seen, Human Centric Lighting is aiming to bridge the gap between LED lights that are strictly focused on efficiency and LED lights that are focused on efficiency and well-being for the consumer by offering personalized light levels and hues that humans need, when they need them.
And while this technology is still relatively new in process, enLux is proud to be proactively investing in research to bring its users the best of not just today, but the future of LED HCL technology.
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