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Mood Changers: Lighting Design 101 – Why Lighting Is The Most Important Design Feature

Walk into a room bathed in cozy, inviting light and you’ll feel instantly at ease. Walk into the same room buzzing with harsh fluorescents, and your teeth may start to grind.

Why?

In 2019, a Journal of Consumer Psychology study found that the more intense the lighting, the more affected and intense the participants’ emotions were — both positive and negative.

The study included six experiments that examined the link between emotion and ambient brightness. Feelings of warmth increased when participants were exposed to bright light with hints of reddish hues. A sensation of angst increased when bluer light dominated.

And the brighter the light, the more intense the participants’ emotions became. Both the intensity and the color of the light affected people’s moods.

How Does This Affect Your Next Remodel?

When designing a space, lighting needs to be addressed as soon as the space itself, and how it will be used, are defined.

For example, if it’s an office space you are designing, “office lighting should encourage alertness and productivity,” said Rebecca Hadley, manager of Eaton’s SOURCE lighting education center. It also helps to “incorporate controls that allow for changes throughout the day. Ideally, you’d have the ability to adjust the intensity of your lighting with a dimmer switch.”

When lighting for a home, the purpose of each room comes into play. The kitchen, a work space, demands brighter, high CRI (color accurate) light while the living room calls for more mellow, warmer lighting.

“Our association of orange-ish light with feelings of warmth and relaxation is probably evolutionary and originates from our earliest ancestors who, for both warmth and safety from predators, made sure to light a fire at night.”

-David Hakimi, Alcon Lighting Co-Founder

The entrance of your home should welcome guests, creating a smooth transition from the bright daylight to your home’s interior lighting. At night, the lighting should ease the visitor from the dark outdoors into a warm interior light that will not overload their senses and help them relax. Before bed, lighting should be lowered to promote “winding down” but remain bright enough so that you can navigate your home safely.

 

Mimicking Outdoor Lighting

Vast research documents the many benefits of incorporating natural light into our living spaces. According to Architectural Lighting Magazine, natural light — or daylighting — provides the stimulation needed to regulate human circadian rhythms, or the internal body clock. Learn more about the health benefits of natural light here.

In addition to circadian rhythms, natural light also affects our moods and can increase productivity and comfort in a workplace setting. A study by HMG titled “Daylighting Impacts on Retail Sales Performance,” found that the presence of skylights was the third-most important criterion of statistically significant factors in increasing sales volume. HMG also studied daylighting in schools and found a strong connection between schools that reported improvements in test scores — more than 10 percent — and those that reported increased natural lighting in the classroom.

Natural lighting can have a similar impact when incorporated in a home’s lighting plan. Beyond energy savings, exposure to natural light improves mood and can help make falling asleep easier. Spending your day in areas that are enhanced by natural light can improve the function of your circadian rhythm, which can increase your happiness and energy levels. Exposing yourself to too much blue light from electronics in the evening is directly associated with the opposite effect, which you can read more about here.

Eaton’s Hadley said industry research suggests indoor light (during the day) should mimic the color of light we experience outside by seeking similar gradations over time: “…cool light in the morning, to white light at midday, to warm light in the evening.”

Of course, the most important factor in lighting your home is what you yourself prefer. But Alcon Lighting’s David Hakimi recommends one key step everyone can take to create a calm, pleasing environment that mimics outdoor lighting:

“At night, use lights that feature warmer color temperatures – those that fall in the 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin range. Also, use a dimmer to lower the intensity of light as the night progresses. Lowering lighting actually helps reduce blood pressure and encourages people to relax. So dimmer lights in the bedroom — and reduce use of electronics.”

Flexibility is Key

Flexibility is one natural benefit of smart lighting design. New advancements in lighting controls have made lighting for mood easier than ever.

Newer LEDs with integrated controls and the ability to dim to warmer color temperatures are becoming popular in the hospitality industry because of their ability to affect the customer experience. “Warmer light and lower light levels have been shown to slow heart rate and create a relaxing state,” Hadley explained. “As a result, customers might be inspired to enjoy appetizers and cocktails rather than rushing through to the main course.” Conversely, some restaurants might put brighter light in an area where they want to turn tables quickly.

Color Plays a Role, Too — but it’s Easier to Adjust Lights.

Color is the most important aspect in lighting and mood.

However, Alcon’s Hakimi notes that It’s much easier to adjust lighting than to paint walls. In fact, you can change the color of your room just by brightening or dimming it.

The Most Important Design Element

With the ability to largely affect the mood of a room, lighting is the most important element to consider when designing a space.

In addition to altering the mood of the occupants in a room, lighting can transform the room in shape and size. In a den that is particularly small, painting the walls a light color and having extra lighting reflecting off the walls will help the room appear larger. Recessed lighting can add a soft glow to a room without protruding into the space, which can also help the room appear larger.

With its versatility in brightness levels and light colors, designers continue to turn to LED lighting. Advances in LED technology have led to several new fixtures, including LED skylights that imitate the look of a window and the sky. These “skylights” shed light that is the same temperature as natural light — offering an open, airy feeling and helping the room’s occupants to feel a more positive vibe.

With continued research and innovation in lighting, homeowners and designers have many options when it comes to selecting the right lighting to set the right mood for their space.

Smart Street Lighting as Fundamental Infrastructure for Future Smart City Applications

In its latest blog post, Osram addressed the significance of smart street lighting for future cities, noting that the digital transformation of city services is critical and will rely on connected city infrastructure.

The United Nations foresees that by 2050, 68% of the world population will live in urban areas. For enhanced safety, operational efficiency and sustainability, this growing and concentrated population need to be supported by integrated system and services. Smart street lighting thus serves as a primary smart city installation to simultaneously create the underline infrastructure for future applications.

Osram noted that smart street lighting is an ideal starting point for rolling out smart city applications because energy savings and operational efficiencies are significant and immediate. Smart street lighting offers up to 50% energy savings and 20% operational savings according to Itron, the US-based utility and energy managing expert.

Smart street lights nowadays not only illuminate roadways but also become strategic assets with integrated sensing technologies. Smart street lights can track the energy usage of each street light on the network and automate light levels based on activity in the area. It can also track environmental conditions such as CO2 levels, monitor traffic flow, identify collisions and other safety concerns.

As a result, smart street lighting can supports sustainability by saving power use. It also improves public safety with automated lighting adjustments that brighten or dim lights according to natural conditions or population in the area that improve visibility for pedestrians and cyclists and helps reduce accidents and crime. In addition, it gather data gathered on accidents to identify what intersections are the most dangerous and need redesign. Applications that monitor temperature, humidity and air quality can be integrated into the system as well. Gas leaks, earthquakes, gun shots, and other dangerous situations can be identified quickly to improve public safety response times.

Benefits of smart street lighting also include operational efficiency enhancement by automating management and delivering more precise outage information. Through the reducing the need for truck rolls and mobile crews, networked street lighting can increase operational savings.

Finally, since utility companies offer rebates for energy reduction but require data to validate energy savings, smart street light applications can provide the data needed for rebates and incentives from utility companies resulting in potential additional savings to taxpayers.

Lighting Companies in the US Expect Delayed Product Supply due to Coronavirus Epidemic

The outbreak of novel coronavirus continues to escalate and the production in China is postponing due to the epidemic, leading to expected production and supply chain delay. US-based lighting companies, Cooper Lighting Solutions and Satco, posted a notice respectively to inform their customers of the possible interruption of product supply.

Cooper Lighting Solution noted in its “Coronavirus Update” that due to travel and logistics suspensions enacted by Chinese authorities, its suppliers have not resume production yet. This delay in operations capabilities will drive an interruption in the supply chain for some products in the coming weeks.

The company said that it will try to minimize the delays and is working on prioritizing the production schedule to support its customers as best as it can. Meanwhile, Cooper Lighting also indicated that it will increase capabilities of its manufacturing facilities in North America with local components and materials.

Satco also sent a letter to its customers elaborating the on-going situation in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since employees traveling back to work from other area will remain in quarantine for 14 days under the government’s supervision even when factories resume production, lack of work force is foreseen.

Satco indicated that it has significant stock levels in its domestic warehouses and is working with its supplier to ship high priority items first. However, the company still anticipated impacts on the supply chain and will take measure to ensure return to normal inventory levels.

Properties of Light and How They’re Used in Architecture

If you’re a lighting manufacturer or supplier, you already know that light has a major effect on how a person experiences a space.

Did you know that architects and building engineers rely on these same principles and the science of lighting when designing a space? The main architectural principles of lighting can be broken down into three categories: light color, measuring light, and bouncing light.

Light Color

In architecture, the standard for white light is considered daylight at noon during the month of June. According to experts, Northern light is generally the most consistent and has more light at the blue end of the spectrum, while late afternoon light is more on the red end of the spectrum.

Measuring Light

Luminous Flux – This is the rate at which a light source emits light, measured in lumens.
Luminous Intensity – The measure of the light intensity that takes into account the amount of light and the amount of coverage. For example, a spot light and a flood light may emit the same high amount of lumens, but because the spot light is focused into a smaller cone, it has a much higher intensity. Intensity is measured in candelas or candlepower.
Illuminance – Illuminance is the amount of light that falls on a specific surface area. Measured in lux (metric) or foot candles (imperial – read more about foot candles here), a 1000 lumen spot light will illuminate a small area much more than a 1000 flood light because more lumens from a spot light are hitting the smaller surface.
Luminance – Luminance is the measure of an object’s brightness or the amount of light coming off an illuminated surface. This measurement is called a foot-lambert.

Don’t Forget to Consider Bouncing Light

When choosing fixtures and designing the space for optimal light, consider the reflections that will occur in the room depending on windows, furniture, and accessories (especially mirrors and other reflective surfaces).

Remember, besides the principles of lighting, choosing the right lighting for a residential or commercial space come down to how the space should physically feel (for example, the right lighting can make a room feel larger), and more lighting isn’t always better! Choosing the right lighting is the most important thing.

Trust Parker Lighting as Your Preferred Lighting Supplier

We have knowledgeable associates who can assist you in choosing the appropriate products for your specific application.

 

Guidelines for Bathroom Lighting

When it comes to proper lighting, one of the most important rooms in your home is the bathroom. When you first wake up in the morning, the lighting in the bathroom can set the mood for your entire day!

The lighting in a bathroom is especially important when you’re washing and grooming. Optimized lighting and daylighting are also important for our circadian rhythms, which can play a big role in overall health.

Good lighting is important for everyone, and the best bathroom illumination opportunities can be broken down into these categories:

  • Light levels – How much light is needed in the bath? For someone just waking up, 10 foot candles (fc) might be plenty. After a shower when it’s time to shave, or if you’re trying to read the small print on a medication label, better visibility is needed. Lighting experts say fixtures that provide at least 75 to 100 watts of illumination are ideal for master or guest bathrooms.
  • Daylighting – Natural daylight is perfect for brightening your mood and helping to set the circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep cycles. Try to design your bathroom with as much natural light as possible. Consider a skylight if possible in addition to one or more windows.
    Overall bath lighting – If you like a more luxurious design in your bathroom, a chandelier or can bring elegance to any space. A warmer light temperature in a bathroom will give it a spa-like feeling.
  • Vanity lighting – In front of the bathroom mirror, lighting is very important! You want to see colors accurately, and have the option to dim or raise the light levels if needed. LEDs are preferred over fluorescent because they’re easier to dim.
  • Lighting at the Tub – Building codes are strict about lighting over tubs. Since there can’t be open or hanging fixtures over the tub, nd spotlights work.
  • Night Lighting – Some light is needed in the bathroom at night for safety, but not too much. When the eyes are adjusted to darkness, very few foot candles are needed. A 5-watt nightlight is just right for most homes, according to lighting experts.

Trust Parker Lighting as Your Preferred Lighting Supplier

We have knowledgeable associates who can assist you in choosing the appropriate products for your specific application.

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