Buildings Buzz

How Color Is Revolutionizing the Lighting Experience

Facility professionals continue to look for cost-effective, easy-to-implement technology to increase the operational efficiency and sustainability of their buildings. This is especially true as increasingly stringent building codes, such as California Title 24 2013 and ASHRAE 90.1-2010, often require the use of controls. One of the most recent shifts in facility design and management, however, has been a renewed focus on creating a better overall occupant experience. LED lighting has always delivered energy and maintenance efficiencies, and the latest innovations enable improved experiences beyond the potential of outdated fluorescent lighting. At the forefront of this shift is color.

Creating Productive Environments

Studies have shown that lighting can have a direct effect on occupant’s mood, productivity and even decision-making skills. Enhancing light quality with high-performance, high-CRI LED technology can translate into better patient care, productive working environments and improvement in a retailer’s ability to sell product. 

Controlling Your Surroundings

The invention of warm white LEDs was one of the lighting industry’s significant breakthroughs in the last decade. However, not everyone prefers warm color temperatures. Cooler white lighting is preferred in many cultures and ideal in certain areas or for specific tasks.

When installing traditional fixtures, only one color temperature is typically available for purchase (warm, cool, or in between), and occupants who are actually using the light don’t have a choice. However, unlike traditional light technology, LED has flexibility for controllability as a point source. New system advancements enable multiple color temperature options through a single luminaire – creating new possibilities for customized environments.

Recent strides in intelligent lighting give users the ability to control occupants’ environment and mood. For example, some LED luminaires have the ability to choose from 3000K to 5000K color temperatures in 500K increments, enabling only one troffer type to be needed in any space regardless of lighting color preference. The result is simplified specification, ordering and installation with a lighting-control system that reduces energy consumption by more than 70% ─ allowing building operators to easily realize the full promise of LED lighting controls at no additional cost.

Imagine an entire floor of an office building with each occupant able to tune the color of their office to their own preference. Not only does this create more pleasant work environments, but also empowered employees who have flexibility and control of their workspace.

As building owners and operators increasingly look to LED lighting as the first choice for lighting applications, the technology’s capabilities continue to expand beyond energy and maintenance savings and quick payback. The ability to control and improve the building environment is available at the push of a button. Why wait?

Tips for facility applications:

  • Choosing your lighting control system- Well designed lighting control systems can easily integrate into existing building management systems. Consult your lighting control manufacturer to ensure feasibility before installation.
  • Choosing color during installation- Preferred color temperature differs by person. Work with your lighting manufacturer to test color temperatures for multiple locations and understand the simple way to change color temperature by utilizing your facility’s lighting controls.
  • How to gauge occupants’ needs- Understanding the space and how occupants are interacting with it can help address any concerns regarding color temperature, so be sure to find out how occupants are feeling about the lighting in their workspaces. Empower occupants by giving them the ability to customize their own environment. 

Gary Trott is a product development innovator for Cree Lighting.

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