Circadian education series offers foundations for application

March 19, 2021
A series of articles on circadian lighting principles and metrics brings readers a full-circle understanding of how to apply the information to lighting practice.

For years now, LEDs Magazine has been covering research and commercial inroads in lighting for health and wellbeing also sometimes labeled human-centric lighting, in a general sense, and more directly circadian lighting for non-visual impacts on human physiological systems. And I still think it is one of the most difficult, or shall I say, complex set of concepts to apply to lighting design. Understand that is partly because I am not coming from an engineer brain perspective applied mathematics has never been my strong suit. Even so, I have heard from folks in the lighting community that “healthy” lighting design is extremely complicated because there are many factors at play, beginning with long-established photometrics and qualities such as beam distribution, illuminance and luminance, and minimization of glare and flicker, both in engineering solid-state lighting (SSL) products and applying photometrics to a plan for the built environment.

Now take those calculated methodologies and layer on top concerns about day-night light cycles, minimizing circadian disruption, and creating an optimally-performing lighting system that enhances overall wellbeing regardless of time of day or season, and you’ve got real cause for confusion without the needed tools.

Hopefully, you will find that our article series by lighting scientist Allison Thayer on circadian lighting fundamentals, language, metrics, and application will expand your conception of how to define and characterize healthy lighting, and how the science and math translate into usable tools for lighting design practice. We were pleased to see how the four-part series came together and thank Allison and her colleagues for their work in developing this information into a kind of practical guide for reference in the real world. You’ll find the individual article links below this blog.

In case you didn’t know, Allison had started out with the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and now has moved her career on as a research specialist alongside Mariana Figueiro at the new Mount Sinai Center for Light and Health Research, at the hospital system’s Icahn School of Medicine. This is an opportunity for lighting and health science to move closer together with access to clinical studies and support at a well-known medical institution, as Figueiro told LEDs Magazine back in early November, so we look forward to what will be learned as a result.

Read the articles in order for a primer on circadian lighting

Circadian principles require a new light language

Industry must move beyond CCT to articulate circadian metrics

Subadditivity begins to explain the mysteries of the circadian system’s response to light

Creating the circadian lighting toolbox — Bringing the language into practice

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.