Better light, better life. That's the principle behind human-centric lighting, a range of evidence-based solutions that illuminate the way to better health, brighter moods, sharper focus, and heightened alertness.
Human-centric lighting is a matter of sophisticated research, and is increasingly informed by Internet of Things (IoT) approaches that enhance its capabilities, but it grew out of homespun wisdom. Tell someone you're feeling ill or run down and you're likely to be advised to get outside more — to get more light.
And it's not just about vitamin D. Light in the blue range of the spectrum helps your body tell time and stay aligned with circadian rhythms, the natural 24-hour cycle of sleeping and waking. Soft, dim light helps spur creativity, while brighter lights can help our mood and ability to focus, even to the extent of shortening depression-related hospitalizations. And that's why lighting systems that are good for people beyond just their ability to banish darkness (as important as that ability is) are taking center stage.
These priorities aren't just for a select few high-tech corporate headquarters either. The WELL Building Standard defines 13 lighting design categories that promote better health and well-being everywhere from offices to homes. The guidelines call for mandatory glare reduction, lighting patterns that protect circadian rhythms, and an emphasis on color quality, not just on brightness.
The WELL standard also defines what it calls the Right to Light for all, a state in which 75 percent of all regularly occupied spaces are within 7.5 meters of a window and all workstations are within 7.5 meters of a window or atrium. Those are conceptual building blocks any architect or designer can get behind. And studies find that the slightly higher energy costs of human-centric lighting are offset by productivity or wellness measures like reduced sick days and lower healthcare costs.