Author – Karim Panjwani, General Manager of Calgary Lighting Products

We previously looked at humans’ ongoing relationship with light in our post The History of Lighting. Next, we are going to take a look at what the next phase of lighting will be.

What’s old is new again

Lighting’s earliest integration into our lives came in the form of daylight. It wasn’t long before early humans began designing buildings that allowed light in or amplified it. A major trend nowadays in lighting practice and building construction is ‘Daylighting’ or ‘Daylight Harvesting’. Using “daylight as a primary source of general illumination in a space” [1] is a core concept of daylight harvesting.

As people become more and more concerned and aware of the effect their actions have on the environment, sustainable design will continue to grow in importance. Daylight harvesting is a component in sustainable design. It reduces the need for overhead lighting and thus the energy need to power that lighting.

At the touch of a button…

One lighting trend that we will continue to see grow is around controls. As the world becomes more technologically literate and our understanding of what we can do with technology continues to skyrocket, everything around us will get more technologically enabled – including lighting. Motion sensors, dimmers, pre-programmed timers, and smartphone apps are just a few of the things we will see get more technological in the future, in addition to the many things that have not even been invented yet.

Science!

We are at the point where we are beginning to deepen our scientific understanding of how lighting affects our health.

Lighting has become the solution to health issues like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depression in the Fall/Winter that is caused by lack of light. First-line treatment for SAD is light therapy, or phototherapy. Light therapy entails siting near a special light therapy box so that the patient is exposed to a large amount of bright light for a period [2].

With regards to general health and wellness, research shows that investing in good lighting solutions, in particular LEDs, presents a number of health benefits to counter the effects of minimal natural light and poor quality artificial lighting. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved concentration and energy
  • Increased employee motivation and commitment
  • “Mood support”

On the corollary, research has also shown that poor artificial lighting has been linked to wellness disorders, including: agitation, anxiety, depression, and mood fluctuation. Poor or little lighting has also been linked to headaches, neck soreness, and vision problems. In addition, we are beginning to understand how light levels affect our perception of safety in our environment [3].

In the future, this knowledge will become basic tenets in lighting design.

Technology Advancements

Like we mentioned earlier with regards to lighting controls, actual bulb and lamp technology will also continue evolving. One of our favourite technologies that is becoming more prevalent is organic LEDs – a flat light emitting technology, which places a series of organic thin films between two conductors.

What makes OLEDs so interesting? They have better contrast abilities, lower power consumption, and are flexible and transparent [4].


References:

[1] automatedbuildings.com http://www.automatedbuildings.com/news/aug07/articles/zing/070723051101dilouie.htm

[2] Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/treatment/con-20021047

[3] LEUKOS Journal, Specifying Enough Light to Feel Reassured on Pedestrian Footpaths, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15502724.2016.1169931

[4] OLED-Info, http://www.oled-info.com/introduction

Header image: Base. By Instant Vantage