As furniture concepts are constantly evolving to respond to the transformation of the office as we know it, designers are becoming increasingly aware of other elements that define interior spaces, such as lighting. The growing adoption of LED lighting in new construction and remodels over the last decade has revolutionised commercial interior lighting, from sleeker form factors to precise controllability of luminaires.
LED luminaires contribute to the environmental impact of lighting through the reduction of energy consumption and their long useful life, multiple times that of fluorescent or other light sources. The combination of these highly efficient light sources, consumers’ awareness of the environmental impact of building products, and designers’ focus on developing unique spaces centered around human well-being brings about a transformational stage for the building industry.
LED’s are capable of offering more than energy savings. They have transformed luminaires from simple light sources to devices that support intelligent building management. As technology progresses and the desire to deliver more human-centric workplaces increases, LED’s are being developed as a means to address human needs beyond simple task lighting.
For millennia, we have evolved under the light produced by the sun, fire, and candlelight and have become accustomed to the warm glow of these natural light sources. In the past few years, independent studies have converged to identify common benefits resulting from the optimisation of the spectral content of LED’s to provide a rendered light quality that is preferred by humans, likely resulting in enhanced productivity and well-being.
Achieving employee comfort goes beyond addressing light quality. Members of the younger generations joining the workforce are environmentally conscious, seeking brands that support sustainability and recognise the value of a workplace environment that supports human well-being. Lighting manufacturers such as Display Lighting, have recognised the trend toward well-being in the workplace by developing new products that support employee comfort, at the same time adding value to the building.
One of those innovative new products is acoustic lighting. With open plan spaces featuring open ceilings and hard finishes that have become common in office design, a need to reduce the high noise levels and ensure speech privacy has risen. Acoustic lighting is ideal for open plan office designs where reverberation issues can negatively impact productivity.
In addition to newly available solutions, specifiers should be aware of the organisations and standards that are promoting the relevance of delivering interiors that address human health and well-being, as well as sustainability. Global building certifications such as the WELL building standard (www.wellcertified.com) have published specific recommendations on how to measure and achieve optimal light levels and for various workplaces.
As we enter a new decade, we expect lighting to play a larger role in commercial interior design. Topics such as light quality, sustainability, human comfort and well-being are a top priority for interior designers and specifiers. Now is the time for specifiers and building owners to educate themselves on advanced lighting technologies and innovative products.