Text: Deborah Burnett
Photos: Eraxion, Dreamsteam

05. Oct 2011

Circadian Adaptive Lighting

The continuing scientific discovery linking light to human health, disease and wellness is one of the most exciting stories of the decade. Research into the fields of chronobiology, photobiology and scotobiology has made the case clear for how environmental light directly impacts the human body and brain. It is the synchronized balance of light, darkness and a perfectly timed cycle of changing wavelength dominance throughout the 24 hour day which is emerging as the key component of life providing for all human health and wellness. And it is not only naturally provided daylighting which is instrumental in this process.

Ongoing research is now demonstrating that ordinary ambient environmental electric lighting is also equally capable of direct influence on the circadian system: an endogenous (built-in) system comprised of the commonly known sleep / wake cycle and the circadian rhythm. This most basic of all human needs is de-pendent on both the body-internal and the ambient environment for the stimuli necessary to keep the system in an optimal healthy state. Naturally provided light, as well as, electric ambient light are now considered to be the driving force which perpetuates this system throughout our life-span. In the near future, architects, lighting designers and manufacturers will embrace this understanding as an opportunity to provide clients with more: homes where clients feel better, office buildings where employees work more efficiently, schools where kids learn more effectively, and hospitals where discharge rates are accelerated accompanied by a reduction in pain meds simply because the A/E/ID professional understood the light and health connection with more than just paying lip service. Practical, widespread application of all light sources controlled for maximum enhancement, emulation or stimulation of the circadian system calls for a seamless interconnection between electric light sources, modern daylighting technologies, shading and blackout window covering seach guided by advanced lighting controls to emulate and/or enhance the natural rhythm of light and dark. In other words, a perfectly balanced luminous environment synchronized with the innate circadian and sleep/wake cycles of all living beings who occupy the spaces we design. The use of epigenetic design Circadian Adaptive Lighting is the applied lighting strategy best describing the integration of natural and electric light sources controlled by advanced lighting controls systems coupled with integrated shading options for the purpose of meeting the following three objectives: ≥ Provide built environmental […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 78.

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