Out with ‘human centric,’ in with ‘nutritional light’

May 30, 2019
The new Good Light Group wants to rebrand healthy lighting, and give it a kick.

Believing that the human-centric lighting movement is lacking momentum, a new advocacy group has emerged to help give things a kick, and has started by rebranding the concept as “nutritional light.”

The non-profit Good Light Group, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, aims “to promote the importance of nutritional light on the wellbeing of people,” the foundation said upon its formal launch earlier this month on the International Day of Light, May 16.

Many lighting companies are promoting systems that tune LED lights to brightness and spectral levels that suit human health and circadian rhythms. While the science of lighting for health and wellbeing continues to develop amid debate over its details, the general notion is that bright light and blue-enriched light stimulates, and dimmer and amber hues relax.

Applying the concepts at the right time can help with things like stimulation, concentration, and rest, while the wrong light can undermine those activities and damage human health.

Lighting companies are indeed winning installations based on healthy lighting principles, such as at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport; and they continue to invest in research trials on currently available commercial technology, as evidenced by a recently reported study utilizing Seoul Semiconductor LED technology at the University of Basel.

But the Good Light Group believes that progress has been too slow.

“The issue is human-centric lighting is not a factor of any significance in the market,” founder and chairman Jan Denneman told LEDs Magazine.

He noted that the Good Light Group will take a different tack from those used by industry groups such as the Global Lighting Association (GLA), Europe’s LightingEurope, and Britain’s Lighting Industry Association, among others, all of which he claimed have so far come up short.

“The Good Light Group will try it in a new way, especially by making the benefits known to a wide public,” Denneman said.

“First of all, we are using the term nutritional light,” he continued. “Light is as important as nutrition for the body and brain as vitamins, proteins, minerals. Billions of people are now in light that does not stimulate body and brain. Our objective is that they can enjoy nutritional light. The technology is available, the evidence that it helps better health and wellbeing is given.”

Industry veteran Denneman has been a longtime advocate of healthy lighting, having helped put human-centric lighting on the 2017 10-year roadmap for LightingEurope, where he served as president.

Two years ago, while at LightingEurope, he told LEDs that human-centric lighting “requires a paradigm shift in our thinking, in the manufacturers’ thinking, in the regulators’ thinking, and even probably in the thinking of our customers.”

It’s fair to note that LEDs will feature an article by LightingEurope insiders in an upcoming issue, which will outline updates on the efforts to guide policy development and proposed industry strategy that are expected to advance lighting for health and wellbeing.

Denneman left LightingEurope last year, about a year after leaving a 10-year stint as president of the GLA. He also retired in January last year from Signify, then called Philips Lighting, after more than 42 years at the company.

“I retired from Philips, but I am definitely not retired from lighting — I have a mission,” Denneman told LEDs.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.