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A look at the future: dynamic lighting in offices

On 15, Sep 2014 | 2 Comments | In Lighting tips and advice, Novelties | By

Scientists are always looking for new ways to make lighting more practical and efficient. The last couple of years they came up with a bunch of technological breakthroughs, such as better LED lights, interactive highway lighting and even lasers. Another novelty is dynamic lighting. You can find everything about dynamic lighting and its benefits in this article.

Dynamic lighting in offices

Though office jobs aren’t physically demanding, they can be mentally draining. Stress, short nights and fatigue can seriously damage your productivity. That’s why companies are looking for ways to give their employees more energy. Dynamic lighting is one of those solutions.

The starting point of dynamic lighting is natural light – sunlight in other words. The colour and intensity of sunlight depend mainly on the time of day. At high noon it shines cool white light, which gets warmer during the evening. Also weather has its influence. Clouds or rainfall can alter the light intensity and colour.

Scientists have proven the connection between our lighting needs and natural light. That’s no surprise, ’cause everybody puts on a light when it gets dark outside. The same scientists have also discovered a connection between light and productivity. In offices with suboptimal lighting the level of productivity was lower than in well lit offices.

Dynamische verlichting

Dynamic lighting simulates the colour and light intensity of sunlight.

What has dynamic lighting to do with this all? Dynamic lighting makes sure an office is always perfectly lit. The light intensity and colour gets adapted throughout the day to optimize the employee’s productivity.

Researchers Y. de Kort and K. Smolders made an example of dynamic lighting for office buildings:

Dynamisch verlichtingsschema

An example of a dynamic lighting scheme by Y. de Kort and K. Smolders.

As you can see, the light colour (grey bars) varies from 4700K to 3000K. Also the light intensity (black curve) fluctuates between 700lx and 500lx.

This light scheme was made to stimulate employees during working hours. The bright light during morning and early afternoon should give them more energy. Between 12:00 and 13:00, the light changes to a less bright, warm light. This way employees can relax better during lunch break.

When this lighting pattern was introduced in an actual work environment, they saw that employees were more alert, less tired and more energetic. In short, they were more productive. Who would have ever thought that lighting could be this important?

How dynamic lighting works

Dutch lighting fabricator Philips already implemented dynamic lighting in a few offices. To do this, they use two different lamps. The first lamp has a colour temperature of 2600K (warm white). The second one gives off a cool white light (5600K).

By mixing these two lamps it’s possible to seamlessly go from one end to the other. Moreover, a light sensor causes the light strength to be adjusted to the amount of natural light. This way the light intensity is always right.

Other applications

So far we only talked about dynamic lighting in offices. But this technique can also be useful for schools. A pilot project in Twente and Hamburg found an improvement of 18% in the kids’ concentration ability. Dynamic lighting helps students to perform better, so it’s definitely worth considering to implement this lighting technique in new school buildings.

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  1. Very informative article. Furthermore, DL promotes positive effects on well-being, mood and performance.

  2. dynamic lightining is certainly a good choice for offices, which would certainly be very useful to apply in schools to be less bothered eyes, and work productivity was higher.

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