Light sits at the core of our visual experiences. Not only is it responsible for what we see, but it also affects how we see something. As such, the way in which lighting is organized and controlled can drastically alter people’s perception of a building and the work occurring therein. Not only that, but, with the right touches, it can even affect how a building operates, with the right lighting design leading to a high-efficiency, wellness-driven system that equates to a significant return on investment (ROI) for building owners and managers.
Lighting Can Accommodate Occupants and Work Alike
As lighting deals with creating the best fit for a space, every single lighting installation project acts as a custom-built solution for the building it’s occupying. However, it’s more than having enough light fill a space. In order to have lighting function like the valuable asset it is, the conversation during a project should shift from “how much light is needed” to “what the space needs for lighting.”
What’s the organization that’s using the space? Who will be using it? What lighting do they need to do their job? What’s building like? How important is energy efficiency? What’s the budget? Where is the project located? All of these questions and more are important for lighting designers and installers to know before building their own custom solution for the space. Then, based on the needs of the owners and occupants, specifics like lighting levels, color temperatures, layout and more can be determined.
Take, for example, a warehouse facility with little access to natural daylight. While it’s important to have strong, bright overhead lights so the workers can see what they’re doing on a regular basis, there might also be greater importance placed on a human-centric lighting system that helps keep occupants connected with the outdoors to boost wellbeing. This leads to increased performance and morale that can then translate to increased quality of work later down the line.
“In designing a lighting solution, the top priority is visibility as it correlates to employee morale, productivity, and reduction in error, which in turn decreases cost,” says Tom Cashman director of project management at Fairbanks Energy Services. Utilizing the advantages of a human-centric lighting system in accordance with the space’s needs further enhances these benefits through an improved worker experience.
The Right Product Can Be a High-Efficiency Vehicle for Productivity and Wellness
Designers and integrators alike know that lighting design and lighting products go hand in hand when building out a space. As such, the importance of knowing the needs of a space before designing a solution cannot be stressed enough. Here, however, while the human-centric aspect of lighting is important, one also needs to consider efficiency, controllability and longevity of a product.
Is it possible the role of the space will change over time? How can the lighting change to adapt to new functions, organizations, workers? Flexibility is a highly salient quality in many products and designs now, and taking this into consideration thankfully, won’t get in the way of finding the perfect solution. There’s a product for just about every need on the market nowadays, so shop accordingly.
For instance, ample lighting in an office space will keep employees attentive and productive. If the lights are too dim, it can directly impact health and productivity, while also making workers less likely to want to come into work. Lights that are too intense can have a similar effect while also consuming significantly more energy.
Color temperatures are also important to consider as well. While warmer colors work better for relaxation spaces like restaurants and houses, they would not be effective in an office. However, cooler, brighter lights could provide overstimulation during an 8-hour workday, so neutrals are often best.
The best lighting solution can take all of these functions into consideration to create a high-efficiency vehicle for sustainability, health and performance within a space, providing a significant ROI for building owners and facility managers alike.
Proper Control Can Elevate Functionality Far Beyond Original Parameters
Nowadays, lighting controls are crucial when discussing the value of lighting. That’s because with the right control set-up, lights can offer far greater functionality beyond their initial uses. When programmed correctly, lights shift and adjust throughout the day according to daylight and occupancy levels, reducing energy consumption and lowering cost overall.
At its most simple form, light control can take the form of a dimmer switch. The next step up then involves sensor activated lighting alongside programmable systems that allow one to dictate output and trimming. Both of these allow for greater efficiency and customization based on the needs of an environment.
At the top level, lighting can be synced with other functions of the building, allowing for greater building automation. For instance, a building manager can have it so the HVAC system responds to the activation of lighting within an area, allowing for targeted ventilation and filtration in accordance to room occupancy. The result is twofold: air quality can be better managed based on occupancy levels, and HVAC systems can run more efficiently, further reducing the cost of operations for a building.
Its not worth ignoring the potential control systems can have in a space. Lighting control as a part of a greater building automation system can significantly reduce energy expenditures in buildings while also providing tremendous health and wellness benefits by regulating one of the most fundamental components of one’s everyday experiences.