The Economics of Office Lighting and Why Lighting Can Improve Productivity

“Human centric lighting (HCL) is aimed at providing the right light for our activities at the right place at the right time” - Maury Wright.  

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In the office setting HCL lighting will be used to create an environment that allows everyone to feel, work and be their best.  This encourages productivity, comfort and well-being because HCL is used to support the changing needs of the individual.  

There are many reasons for choosing HCL. The ability to create a comfortable environment increases productivity - and when employees are happier at work you have greater retention of talent.  The benefits of HCL include a health circadian rhythm, improved mood, greater visual acuity, improved productivity and may enable employees to sleep better at night, all with energy savings and sustainability.

So back to the 3-30-300 principle ($3 per square foot, operations/ rent $30 per square foot/ Payroll $300 per square foot)… Business owners and commercial operators can use lighting to improve efficiency in two parts of this model!  The simpler part is reducing operating costs and boosting efficiency by replacing outdated lighting with new, energy-efficient LEDs. However, the real opportunity to see gains is to use lighting as a way to boost worker productivity by using Human Centric Lighting principles.


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Why is Natural Light Important to Humans?

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To understand why natural light is so important, we need to think of our ancestors.  Before we had electrical light humans spent 90% of their awake hours outside. Being outside they were surrounded by natural, dynamic (constantly changing) light.  They enjoyed the warm sunrises, bright blue mid-day lighting and then the warm glow of sunsets. Once inside they had the warm light from candles or fires.  

Our biological time clock, Circadian Rhythm, is reset each day by natural lighting.  As we fast forward to today, we are spending more than 90% of our time indoors under static (non-changing) light.  A study done by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School found that the color temperature of the light source has the most influence on how we work.  They believe that it’s in our DNA to perform better under specific lighting.