Lighting design specialist Regina Santos tackles two questions on the importance of natural light.
1. What are the benefits of mimicking natural light on a project?
The positive effect of natural light on the wellbeing of people has been well documented. Artificial lighting systems that mimic daylight aim to improve our circadian rhythm and our biological response through the production of melatonin – the hormone that regulates our sleep cycles.
We tend to underestimate the importance of light on our wellbeing and just how much the light/dark cycle, or circadian rhythm, affects our moods. The availability of tunable white light fixtures allows this to be implemented in projects today, improving the comfort and performance in work spaces and schools, as well as the quality of the overall ambiance.
The improvement of lighting control systems and the connectivity which allows people to have access to information and more control of their environment are also part of the trend that make this type of lighting application possible.
2. How can artificial lighting mimic the effects of natural light?
Today natural daylight is being mimicked in multiple applications, such as offices, schools, and even museums, through the use of colour changing lighting systems, daylight sensors and a good lighting control system.
The use of a colour changing lighting system allows for a mix of colour temperatures in a smooth transition that may vary from warm white in the early morning to cool white around noon returning to warm white during sunset hours to try and replicate the variations of colour produced by the sun throughout the day. Depending on the different application and spaces, these systems would use colour temperatures from 2700K (Kelvin) or 3000K to 5000K or 6000K depending on the application and client preferences.