If you are like most folks, you might think of lighting primarily as an aesthetic choice, to deliver a particular “look” or “feel” within a space. While certain professional environments have more tightly defined lighting requirements – like dental offices and airport runways – you might assume that for everyone else at home or in the office, lighting is basically a matter of personal taste.
As it happens, this is now only partly true.
The science behind lighting has come a long way in the last decade or so. Lighting manufacturers are now able to deliver more options to customers, and a growing focus on human-centric lighting supports a trend toward delivering optimal light for specific human needs.
This means that in addition to choosing light fixtures for a particular look, we now have the ability to select lighting that supports particular groups of people doing specific things. Human-centric lighting choices take into account who will be using the lighting and what those people will be doing.
Understand that lighting delivering a certain “look” will always be important for customers. But for schools, hospitals, elderly retirement homes, and other types of specific-use facilities, human-centric lighting that optimizes outcomes is here to stay.
In the lighting industry, terms like “soft”, “cool”, and “warm” are not going anywhere. Residential consumers, in particular, understand what these terms mean and they want what they want.
However, in the world of professional lighting designers like the ones here at FSG who are tasked with saving energy while delivering the best light for a given application, the conversation has advanced and the focus is now on color-tunable LED lighting.
LED Delivers Energy Savings and Performance Options
The U.S. Department of Energy maintains an informative website where people interested in technical information about color-tunable LED lighting products can take a deeper dive. In general, however, when thinking about color-tunable LED, there are three types to choose from:
- Dim to Warm
- Full Color Tunable
- White Tunable
Dim to Warm LED lights are often chosen for the cozy effect they impart when dimmed, and are especially popular in elegant settings such as dining rooms, ballrooms, theaters, and homes.
Full Color Tunable LED lights, as the name implies, offer customers a wide range of color combinations to match or set any mood, meaning they can offer traditional white light during the day within an office space that in the evening converts to serve as a venue for a special event. This multi-purpose variability makes these LED fixtures, especially popular at theme parks, restaurants, and theaters.
White Tunable LED lights allow for a color change from warm to neutral to cool white within a space. Both the intensity and the specific spectrum of white light have been shown to have an impact on human melatonin levels and hormone response. Therefore, these LED fixtures are favorites for teachers and health care workers, especially those working with elderly patients struggling with issues related to mood or alertness.
How Some Seniors Benefit From Tunable LED Lighting
When it comes to the science behind how white-tunable LED lighting impacts human physiology, the exact mechanisms are still the subject of ongoing research. However, what is clear is that tunable LED lighting can make a big difference in hospitals, classrooms, senior living facilities, and dormitories.
A recent study points out that for seniors dealing with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, the right lighting can dramatically impact the quality of their life. While memory loss is the primary symptom most people normally associated with these illnesses, other symptoms such as agitation and interrupted sleep are the greatest challenges for caregivers.
Because light plays such an important role in regulating the human biological clock, the ability to adjust both the intensity and specific spectrum of light can help caregivers support normal hormonal activity for elderly patients suffering from cognitive disorders.
As any patient caregiver will tell you, what is good for the patient is ultimately also good for the caregiver. At facilities that provide ongoing patient care, tunable white LED lighting has proven to be a big help for all parties involved.
Better Lighting for Seniors – Simple Tips That Make a Big Difference
As we get older, our eyes don’t function as well as they used to. In fact, by age 65 it is believed that clear vision requires twice as much light as we needed in our 20’s. (Have you noticed that you do not enjoy driving at night as much as you once did?)
Additionally, elderly people are more sensitive to glare than they once were. That is why many seniors prefer shielded light or indirect light in their living spaces.
Tunable white LED lighting can go a long way toward keeping our bodies in tune with healthy circadian rhythms, but there are some other general lighting tips that benefit seniors as well. These include:
- Provide uniform light levels – Try to avoid dramatic changes in light levels between frequently used spaces that adjoin one another.
- Invest in lighting controls – Motion detectors and lighted switches are two simple control devices that can really make life easier on aging eyes.
- Dimmers increase lighting options – A simple dimmer switch can make a huge difference for elderly people. Having the ability to raise and lower light levels gives senior citizens the ability to get more out of their lights at different times of the day and night.
- Provide Lighting for stairs and doors – For elderly people living alone or in a group environment, the need for good lighting in proximity to stairways and doorways is especially important.
These simple facts about the relationship between elderly people and environmental lighting point out that human-centric lighting, when done well, can enhance and improve the quality of life. Each of us, at every stage in life, can improve the way we live, play, work, and sleep by understanding and embracing the benefits of human-centric lighting.
FSG Sells and Services the Right Lighting and Control System for You
Understanding all the different lighting fixtures and control systems available today can be a daunting task. Many factors impact the final decision to go with one system over another.
The lighting needs of an elementary school are different from the needs of a manufacturing facility, and no one solution is right for every application. That’s why facility managers need a reliable resource to call with questions about the most appropriate lighting options for their particular circumstances.
FSG represents only the best manufacturers and suppliers of lighting control products and technologies. From independent wireless controls to integrated networked systems, we are constantly evaluating and rating the latest lighting products so that you don’t have to.
The size of our national lighting distribution business allows us to leverage our experience with lighting manufacturers and deliver the best products, with the best warranties, to customers all across the country.
Our knowledgeable professionals are the ideal guides to help you determine which solutions will bring you the greatest benefit at the best cost. With our experienced field personnel, expert project managers, and industry-best ongoing support personnel, FSG is committed to helping you provide the best lighting options available for your particular needs.
Call us at (877) 293-6689 today to find out about how tunable LED lighting and control systems can increase your energy savings while providing the humans who use your space with every advantage.