LIGHTING & ELECTRICS
26 BUILDING PRODUCTS | JUNE 2018
Simon Cox, sales director, Sensio Lighting
looks at the future of lighting.
It’s long been recognised that early planning
of effective lighting into a new kitchen or
bathroom renovation can positively transform
the design, but research now shows that
adaptable lighting may have a significant benefit
on our health and wellbeing too.
The concept of human-centric lighting
considers that until 200 years ago, people spent
90% of their waking time outside, subject
to natural lighting conditions that gave us
direct exposure to dynamic lighting, providing
numerous health benefits. During the day, our
natural body cycle (or circadian rhythm) regulates
the amounts of dopamine secreted for pleasure,
alertness and muscle coordination; serotonin for
impulse control and cortisol for stress response.
Today, 90% of our time can be spent indoors with
electric lighting that is usually set at one light level
with consistent correlated colour temperatures
(CCTs) which evidence suggests can disrupt
circadian rhythms leading to health issues.
LED technology now enables internal lighting
products to reset this natural internal clock with
the ability to change colour temperatures and to
dim the intensity at particular times of the day.
Research has suggested that cool light with high
intensity is beneficial in the morning and white
light with high intensity helps alertness in the
afternoon. Warm light with low intensity generally
helps people to relax in the evening before bed.
It could be argued that even without the research,
this theory feels right. We have been through
a number of years where innovating lighting
technology has driven us to design multi-coloured
lighting into a room just because it was available,
but now we can produce light fittings that offer
varying shades of white. The Kelvin Scale is used
in the measure of colour temperature of a light
source. The higher the Kelvin value of the light
source, the closer the light’s colour output will be
to actual sunlight. So in practical terms, a bulb
measuring around 3,000K is the warm yellow/
white beam of an old halogen light but as it
increases in value, the light appears less yellow
and more white. When the temperature is 5,000K
or higher, the light produced appears bluish
white, sometimes described as cool white. So the
replication of nature seems a logical progression
with health benefits too.
This theory has been recognised by many
airlines, especially on long-haul flights, where
passengers now experience a multitude of lighting
pallets tailored to different phases of a flight.
Back on the ground, creating an effective kitchen
lighting plan that segments task and mood
lighting into groups, where both colour and
brightness can be controlled by smart technology
is now becoming increasingly mainstream. It
not only enhances the room’s design, but it can
also allow the lighting to be personalised in an
intuitive way for a particular user.
Consider waking up early and walking into the
kitchen and asking: “Alexa, turn on my morning
lights” and the responding light offers a cool light
with high intensity. Conversely, asking: “Alexa,
90% of our time can be