Human-centric lighting gains momentum

Feb. 15, 2019
Recent discussions align with the solid-state lighting industry’s efforts to steer human-centric lighting principles into the mainstream.
At LEDs Magazine, we keep our collective fingers on the pulse of the industry in many ways. So when I came across the summary of a recent human-centric lighting roundtable submitted to the Company Newsfeed by Lutron, I sat down and digested how the outlined points mesh with our industry coverage.

Panelists at Lutron’s Chicago event included a lighting designer, architect, architectural design professor, property management executive, and a Lutron building science representative — people who will play a significant role in moving human-centric lighting principles into the mainstream. Their feedback confirms the potential that lighting holds for a positive impact on the human experience. You can read the full release from the link above. The following points have been underscored by various sources in the LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) community.

Defining human-centric lighting is no small step.

In late 2017, I wrote about the multiple facets of defining human-centric lighting before, and that understanding those three factors will help the lighting industry to set expectations and appropriate guidelines. I concluded that intention, innovation, and implementation needed to merge into a lighting design that produces a pleasing affect while maintaining or improving human wellbeing in the built environment. Panelist Randy Burkett noted that “[i]t’s just being sensitive to human needs and human desires,” and at the simplest level I concur that he is spot on.

Light quality must be prioritized.

Just because we write about the implementation of LED technology into SSL, that doesn’t mean we ignore the importance of various energy-efficient lighting approaches. Daylighting might be an appropriate tactic to integrate with artificial lighting in a space. Or an interior space that has few windows may need to implement systems that mimic natural daylight cycles. Providing light that helps to support circadian rhythms and visual comfort means that color quality, color fidelity, light intensity levels, and low glare must be priority characteristics of the light experience in the environment. In fact, Brent Protzman of Lutron, who took part in the roundtable, recently wrote about how to address such needs under the WELL Building standard light concept. Indeed, a WELL certified project undertaken by Delos will be summarized by Delos representative Daniel Rong at Strategies in Light, touching on evidence-based design and how the tunable lighting system was executed.

We must implement SSL in a smart way.

Smart technology — sensors, software, and sophisticated electronics controls — is beginning to permeate our everyday existence, from voice-controlled personal assistant devices to interactive lighting to responsive thermostats and security systems in the residential setting, to asset tracking, indoor positioning, connected building systems, and data management via the Internet of Things (IoT) in larger commercial or campus-scale environments. So combining those smart systems with our ever-increasing knowledge of light preferences along with visual and nonvisual responses to light is both natural and necessary. I defer to the expertise of Lighting Research Center director Mariana Figueiro, who has outlined for us in the past year the ways in which human-centric lighting and the IoT can and should merge for positive impact.

Shape the future with human-centric lighting.

During the Lutron panel, architect Gary Bouthillette noted that lighting designers will be integral to the success of human-centric efforts and should be a part of the entire plan; he’s quoted as saying, “It has to be a holistic solution.” According to our recent pre-conference coverage of the Strategies in Light event, that view is held by others as well. Keynote speaker and lighting design consultant Nancy Clanton commented on the need for lighting designers, specifiers, and manufacturers to increase their knowledge of spectral tuning principles, seek out solutions such as light guide optics that can minimize glare, and get comfortable with controls that extend the flexibility of lighting installations “to light in layers” and respond to occupancy, time of day, time of year, and so on.

I hope that we continue to see such discussions take place amongst all lighting stakeholders — but even more so that more enterprises recognize the value of responsive and intelligent lighting design in the sustainable building. You can gain more insight during Strategies in Light (Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV) on Thursday, Feb. 28, where industry insiders will present the latest in human-centric lighting design, circadian lighting science, value propositions, and respecting the surrounding environment in Track 1, Session 2: Lighting for Health and Wellbeing, and Session 3: Lighting to Enhance the Human Environment. Head on over to register for Strategies in Light to attend these presentations and more.