Lighting Industry Roundup

TARGETTI GROUP has announced new operations in the U.S. that will operate under the name TARGETTI USA and led by U.S. Business Development Manager, Marie Paris. TARGETTI USA’s headquarters will be located in Costa Mesa, CA and will offer a full line of U.S. approved products from both TARGETTI and DuraLamp brands available via TARGETTI USA sales representatives.

A.L.P. Lighting Components has announced that it has purchased selected assets of Reflek Manufacturing, Inc., a producer of high performance reflector and fabricated components for the lighting industry.

In April, manufacturer Eaton was featured in a new technology report from Business Roundtable on cutting-edge technologies that are improving the environment. Through a series of individual company vignettes, the report showcases how the private sector is leveraging technology to solve real-world energy and environmental challenges here at home and across the globe. The report features Eaton’s solid-state lighting solutions. Learn more about the report here.

In June, LED leader Cree issued a recall of some 700,000 LED linear replacement lamps. According to the company: “Electrical resistance between the spring contact and the printed circuit board (PCB) may cause over-heating due to electrical arcing. The printed circuit board can overheat and cause the LED T8 lamp to melt, posing fire and burn hazards.” Click here to learn more.

Lighting Solution Development has partnered with Anthem Federal to now provide all facets of federal procurement and government contracts acquisition to LED lighting manufacturers.

In late April, Lunera Lighting, Inc. announced that the company has filed suit in the Southern District of New York against EiKO Global, LLC, Keystone Technologies, Inc., Maxlite, Inc., Premium Quality Lighting, Inc., Revolution Lighting Technologies, Inc., SATCO Products, Inc. and Topaz Lighting Corporation for selling what the company claims are “knock off” versions of its Helen Lamp.

By incorporating linear constant current OSRAM OPTOTRONIC programmable 0-10V power supplies into all of its LED luminaires, Birchwood Lighting is now offering a Custom Lumen Output (CLO) option, bringing a wide range of performance possibilities.

Digital Lumens recently announced that its Digital Light Agent family of products integrates directly with the recently announced Philips Advance Xitanium SR family of drivers to make any LED fixture part of a LightRules-managed intelligent lighting system.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has published ANSI C78.376-2014 American National Standard for Electric Lamps—Specifications for the Chromaticity of Fluorescent Lamps. This standard covers the objectives and tolerances for the chromaticity of fluorescent lamps at their normal 100-hour rating point. Colors included are 2700K, 3000 K/warm white, 3500K/white, 4000K/4100K/cool white, 5000K and 6500K/daylight. Click here to buy it.

NEMA also recently published ANSI C136.3-2014 American National Standard for Roadway and Area Lighting Equipment—Luminaire Attachments. This standard covers attachment features of luminaires used in roadway and area lighting equipment. The features covered apply to luminaires that are side-, post-top, or pendant-mounted. Click here to buy it.

In June, NEMA also published NEMA LSD 71-2014 Best Practices for Metal Halide Lighting Systems Relative to Lamp Rupture Risks. This whitepaper was developed by the NEMA Light Sources and Luminaire sections to provide updated educational information on the selection, operation, and maintenance of metal halide lighting systems with specific emphasis on the risks associated with lamp rupture. Click here to download it free.

In late April, the Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a building energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinance. Two days later, the Portland, Oregon, City Council unanimously adopted its own benchmarking ordinance, making Atlanta and Portland the 12th and 13th U.S. cities, respectively, to adopt such policies. These polices increase transparency and give building owners and occupants information about the true cost of operating their buildings.

May 2015 Construction at $1.036 Billion Annual Rate

construction2The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently announced that construction spending during May 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,035.8 billion, 0.8% (±1.5%) above the revised April estimate of $1,027.0 billion.

The May figure is 8.2% (±2.0%) above the May 2014 estimate of $957.6 billion.

During the first 5 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $382.1 billion, 5.9% (±1.5%) above the $360.8 billion for the same period in 2014.

Private construction

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $752.4 billion, 0.9% (±0.8%) above the revised April estimate of $745.6 billion.

Residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $359.5 billion in May, 0.3% (±1.3%) above the revised April estimate of $358.5 billion.

Nonresidential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $392.8 billion in May, 1.5% (±0.8%) above the revised April estimate of $387.1 billion.

Public construction

In May, the estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $283.4 billion, 0.7% (±2.5%) above the revised April estimate of $281.5 billion.

Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $65.3 billion, 0.7% (±3.9%) below the revised April estimate of $65.8 billion.

Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $85.1 billion, 2.1% (±6.9%) above the revised April estimate of $83.3 billion.

OSRAM SYLVANIA Publishes Results of 7th Annual SYLVANIA Socket Survey

OSRAM SYLVANIA has revealed the results of this year’s SYLVANIA Socket Survey, a national survey of consumer attitudes and awareness of lighting technology.

Key findings:

OSRAM SYLVANIA Socket Survey Infographic_Final-001

Product Monday: Rincon by Griplock

Griplock Systems has introduced a new brand for its single conductor-powered suspension system as a result of the increasing demand and new products on the horizon – Rincon.

Rincon is a single conductor-powered suspension system utilizing CordFree technology for linear luminaires, light boxes, and multi-pendant LED luminaires requiring multiple connectors. The system eliminates the need for a separate power cord, offering a clean and elegant look. Rincon is complete with Griplock’s ground-breaking grippers, which provide labor-saving tool-free installation and quick adjustments in the field.

GE, Eaton and other manufacturers have adopted Rincon, according to the company.

Click here to learn more.


Interview with Acuity’s Jeannine Fisher Wang on OLED Lighting

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jeannine Fisher Wang, PE, LC – Director Business Development, Acuity Brands. The topic: OLED lighting–where it is now, where it’s going. I’m happy to share her responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the November issue of tED.

DiLouie: How would you characterize current demand for OLED luminaires? What is the current trend pointing to future demand?

Fisher Wang: The demand for OLED lighting is on the rise. We see the growing demand in a number of ways:

– Designers are gaining experience in using OLED in their projects. This experience and first-hand knowledge of seeing their clients’ reactions to the unique benefits OLED offers has prompted ongoing consideration, design and incorporation of OLED lighting into future projects.
– Cost of OLED lighting has come down 40% or more over the past year, often bringing the cost of OLED lighting on par with certain premium LED systems.
– Performance of OLED lighting systems can meet strict energy standards in demanding general lighting applications.
– Designers are also looking for specialized ways to incorporate OLED into their projects where OLED offers unique solutions in terms of both form factor and quality of light, such as in retail shelf lighting, biophilic designs, signage, and wayfinding for hospitality and healthcare. A great example of this is the recent introduction of Nomi™, which is offered to the market as an architectural sconce with options for integrated ADA-compliant signage including Braille.
– The recent availability of very affordable OLED lighting for the consumer market in major homecenters and online retailers ( has broadened awareness of the viability of OLED lighting for not simply niche but mainstream architectural specification lighting available through electrical distribution.

DiLouie: What types of OLED luminaires are currently available?

Fisher Wang: Acuity Brands is focused on offering a broad portfolio of products to the market. The types of luminaires we see encompass a comprehensive range of products to support primarily corporate, hospitality, healthcare residential interiors and statement spaces in a wide breadth of application areas and architectural lighting segments. Luminaire families encompass expansive types of lighting systems, including ceiling surface-mount, ceiling grid-mount, wall-mount, pendant, sconce, in an extensive range of scales. Products are offered for both commercial and consumer market segments. These luminaire families each find ways of celebrating the qualities of OLED that make OLED lighting unique, whether that be pure expression of light, thinness, innate evocativeness, organic and flowing patterns, softness, flowing forms, iconic shapes, or awe-inspiring simplicity.

We also see an evolving class of luminaires that transform lighting design with the development of Duet SSL™ Technology, an interplay of OLED and LED light sources in the same luminaire, optimizing both to produce refined aesthetics, photometric performance, superior lighting quality and cost effectiveness. Duet SSL blends the use of OLED – celebrated for its soft uniform glow, thin forms and diffused light – and LED – trusted as a strong, focused point source. With Duet SSL Technology, light becomes more personal, architecturally sensitive and engaging, while breaking boundaries in efficient and holistic design. Two new concept families – Imoni™ and Olessence™ – illustrate the category-defining benefits of Duet SSL Technology, showcasing several stylistic embodiments and various applications of this revolutionary new approach in lighting design.

Image courtesy of Acuity Brands.

Image courtesy of Acuity Brands.

DiLouie: What are the most popular applications for today’s OLED luminaires?

Fisher Wang: Like the breadth of luminaire families available, virtually any interior lighting application is ripe with opportunity to use OLED lighting: open office, private office, lobbies & seating areas, conference rooms, auditoriums, lecture halls, galleries, retail transaction counters, retail shelf & display lighting, corridors, transition spaces, dining areas, and living spaces. OLED can either be the primary light source in any of these spaces or used a special design feature.

DiLouie: What are the basic capabilities of today’s OLED area light sources?

Fisher Wang: Typical form factor, including size: Square rigid ranging from 2”x2” to 12”x12”, bar rigid ranging from 1”x4” to 4”x12”, round rigid ranging from 2” to 4” diameter, square flexible up to 12’x12”, bar flexible in 2”x8”, with additional form factors emerging in the market.

Driver: Most drivers are dimmable using 0-10V dimming; some offer dual technology 0-10V and phase cut dimming. Often dimmers are multi-channel with advancements occurring to enable single panels to be driven efficiently and individually, thereby increasing levels of control and interactive functionality.

Lumens: Lumens vary by size and brightness.

Brightness/m2: Generally a nominal 3000 cd/m2 luminance is optimal for interior lighting, although we are seeing some OLED technology capable of up to 10,000 cd/m2. The higher luminance capability is interesting for certain applications where direct view of the OLED light source is not of primary concern, but with today’s technology, the higher luminance comes with a sacrifice in lifetime.
Color temperature: Primarily 3000K, 3500K, and 4000K with some availability in the range of 2700K to 5000K.

CRI: 85-90.

Lifetime: L70 up to 40,000 hrs.

Cost/kL: est $200-500/kL at the panel level.

DiLouie: Where do you believe the technology be within the next five years?

Fisher Wang: Typical form factor, including size: Same form factors as above with more choices becoming available and a shift to flexible substrates.

Driver: We expect a dramatic increase in availability of drivers with electrical characteristics.

Lumens: Same as above.

Brightness/m2: Same as above with less sacrifice of lifetime at the higher luminances.

Color temperature: Full availability in the range of 2700K to 5000K.

CRI: >90 and R9 >50.

Lifetime: L85 up to 50,000 hrs.

Cost/kL: est $20-50/kL at the panel level.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the progress OLED has made in the last 3-5 years?

Fisher Wang: In the last 3-5 years, OLED lighting has progressed significantly in advancing lifetime, reliability, color quality, and decreasing cost. While we expect these advancements to continue in the very near future, we anticipate a renewed focus on increased efficacy and reliability to keep OLED competitive with alternative technologies.

The path of progress in OLED technology is not unlike the path of progress for LED technology. In fact, OLED is relatively much newer than LED and has advanced more rapidly.

DiLouie: What are the benefits of using OLED luminaires compared to other sources?

Fisher Wang: OLED and LED are complementary light sources. OLED is intrinsically a diffused, large area light source, which lends itself to providing soft, glare-free illumination without the need for louvers, reflectors, lenses and other methods of optical control. In comparison, the LED is a point source well suited to directional applications such as downlights and accent lighting. OLED is well suited to area lighting applications such as general ambient office and classroom lighting. OLED is also inherently an approachable light source, which also makes it possible to place the light source closer to the user, enabling new ways of thinking about where the light source can be placed in designs as well as designs based on the concept of application efficiency. People who have experienced OLED lighting in application are literally so attracted to the light source that they are drawn to reach out and touch it. This character is truly unique to OLED and is a major driving force as to why the industry is so excited about what OLED lighting can do today – and in the future.

OLED sources, unlike LED chips, do not get hot during operation, which means they do not require heat sinking. For this reason, OLED can be used in direct contact with materials not necessarily associated with lighting fixtures, such as fabric, wood, plastics and even paper. These possibilities allow OLED to be used in non-traditional luminaires as well as new methods of integration into architectural materials. The future availability of flexible sheets of OLED manufactured in a roll-to-roll processes will further advance these capabilities.

As OLED advances in performance, continues to decline in cost, and takes shape in flexible forms, this technology will continue to advance lighting design and what it can do enhance the spaces where people live, work, and play.

DiLouie: Where does the technology need to be to transcend OLED’s current status as a niche source and reach new applications? What are the odds of this happening, and when might it occur?

Fisher Wang: The biggest challenge for OLED is to become widely available at significantly reduced cost. While OLED is today more affordable than many think, landslide cost reductions are certainly on the horizon as the technology transfers to production using flexible substrates. At present, OLED can be easily be considered for projects with more generous budgets or limit the use of OLED to portions of projects designated as specialty areas. For certain types of luminaires, such as sconces, OLED lighting is already cost competitive with comparable LED solutions. As the cost of OLED continues to come precipitously down, OLED will become cost competitive with the more commodity-type lighting solutions such as recessed LED troffers and linear pendants. The industry is making big investments toward achieving this goal and driving a timeline as short as 3 years from now.

DiLouie: What are good potential applications for OLED that are just developing or otherwise haven’t been explored yet?

Fisher Wang: Many explorations of how OLED can be used in lighting are underway, such as the Duet SSL as previously mentioned; embedding OLED in other materials such as glass; and incorporating OLED lighting into wall, ceiling, flooring, and furnishing materials. Other exciting areas of exploration include understanding how OLED can be used as part of a 24-hour lighting scheme aimed at optimizing circadian entrainment and developing ways OLED can provide enhanced levels of interactivity aimed at creating new uses for light.

While these explorations of what OLED can do will continue to advance not only the technology but also the practice of lighting itself, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that OLED lighting is still new, and the OLED lighting products offered today are unique and compelling. The more the industry experiences OLED today, the more rapidly OLED lighting will advance for the future.

DiLouie: What are the best selling opportunities for OLED luminaires for electrical distributors?

Fisher Wang: OLED adds a special flair to any project, and electrical distributors should consider stocking some of the discreet-type OLED luminaires such as wall sconces and individual ceiling-mounted modules to offer their clients immediately available solutions that are truly unique. For larger-scale installations, complete OLED lighting systems, and even custom OLED lighting solutions, electrical distributors should expect a straightforward ordering process and service levels on par with any other high-quality non-stock LED luminaire.

DiLouie: What do electrical distributors need to know about OLED luminaires to make the best recommendation to their customers?

Fisher Wang: Standard OLED lighting products are readily available in the market with all of the same design & specification tools as their LED counterparts – including IES files, BIM models, specification sheets, installations instructions & videos. Likewise, installation and integration with controls systems is straightforward. Reputable manufacturers of OLED lighting products can also provide recommendations on appropriate application of OLED lighting to ensure that lighting performance and energy standard compliance requirements are met. Finally, for many applications, an OLED lighting solution can offer the special qualities of OLED while still being cost competitive with LED.

DiLouie: Distributors are just now getting used to LED technology. Why should they care about OLED? What does OLED bring to the table that particularly will interest them and their customers?

Fisher Wang: The industry cares about OLED lighting because it brings unique design and character of light to projects of all sorts. Any customer interested in making an impact with their lighting would want to consider OLED, and electrical distributors who can differentiate themselves with their ability to offer OLED will leave a lasting impression with their customers. As industry leaders transform from a pipe & wire & hardware business to technology companies, OLED will be at the forefront of progressive solutions that are more than simply technology but a platform that makes lighting so far beyond simply providing the ability to see.

DiLouie: If you could tell all electrical distributors just one thing about selling opportunities with today’s OLED luminaires, what would it be?

Fisher Wang: While OLED is newer than LED, it need not be intimidating! Afterall, OLED is a form of an SSL technology, and industry education has already taught us a great deal.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Fisher Wang: OLED luminaires offer amazing design (aesthetics and lighting quality), easy installation, good performance, and reasonable cost. OLED is here and NOW.

Institutional Project Demand Drives Architecture Billings Index Up

Paced by continued demand for projects such as new education and healthcare facilities, public safety and government buildings, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) increased in June following fluctuations earlier this year.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 55.7, up substantially from a mark of 51.9 in May. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.4, up from a reading of 61.5 the previous month.

“The June numbers are likely showing some catch-up from slow growth earlier this year. This is the first month in 2015 that all regions are reporting positive business conditions and aside from the multi-family housing sector, all design project categories appear to be in good shape,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The demand for new apartments and condominiums may have crested with index scores going down each month this year and reaching the lowest point since 2011.”

Key June ABI highlights:

• Regional averages: Midwest (57.2), South (54.9), West (50.7) Northeast (50.4)

• Sector index breakdown: institutional (59.1), mixed practice (54.7), commercial / industrial (51.6) multi-family residential (47.0)

• Project inquiries index: 63.4

• Design contracts index: 52.5

Note the regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.


Lighting Aspects of ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2014

In November 2014, ASHRAE published ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. This updates the 2011 version and covers energy efficiency, site sustainability, water use, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.

The standard allows states and other jurisdictions to regulate green building design using mandatory code language rather than LEED, which is a rating system for green buildings, not a code. One model code is the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), which recognizes 189.1 as an alternative compliance standard.

In summer 2014, the governing organizations partnered to harmonize 189.1, the IgCC and the LEED rating system. Standard 189.1 will provide the baseline requirements aligned with LEED prerequisites and the IgCC. The IgCC will provide an alternate set of LEED prerequisites.

The lighting sections of 189.1 2014 focus on energy efficiency, light pollution, daylighting and occupant lighting control. The standard references the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 2013 energy standard as the baseline of what must be done and then makes modifications and additions. For each major section, the requirements are divided into three parts: mandatory (prerequisites), prescriptive option (mandatory plus a set of prescriptive requirements, relatively simple) and performance option (simulation, relatively complex). Below is a brief description of the lighting requirements, minus daylighting.

Learn more here in this article I wrote for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.

Inside Look at ENERGY STAR Luminaires Spec 2.0

ENERGYSTARENERGY STAR is a voluntary testing and labeling program that verifies that energy-efficient lighting products provide comparable performance as incumbent-technology products while saving energy. ENERGY STAR is used as a qualification for product rebates by a number of utilities.

On June 1, the EPA released the new (final) Luminaires v2.0 spec, which will replace v1.2 on June 1, 2016.

All previously certified products must recertify by that time.

While ENERGY STAR is focused on residential product, it also covers commercial accent, downlight, undercabinet task and portable task lighting.

With v2.0, EPA set out to streamline and simplify requirements, testing and certification. Efficacy levels were also increased to keep pace with advancing technology.

Here are some significant changes:

• Distinction between residential and commercial luminaires eliminated
• Surface-mounted LED retrofit products, both wall sconce and ceiling mounts, now included (but not self-ballasted lamps or products that use an existing ballast)
• Outdoor category expanded with differentiation between directional and non-directional luminaires
• Cove and undercabinet luminaires, now a combined category, must operate at a minimum of 50 lumens/W instead of 29 lumens/W. Light output is simplified to 125 lumens/linear ft. Asymmetrical distribution is no longer required.
• Downlights must operate at a minimum of 55 lumens/W instead of 42.
• LED downlight retrofits must operate at a minimum of 60 lumens/W instead of 42. The retrofit must tested within a luminaire.
• Accent lights must operate at a minimum of 55 lumens/W instead of 35. Wider beams are now allowed.
• Outdoor luminaires must operate at a minimum of 60 lumens/W instead of 35. Luminaires must be certified to IDA or carry their seal of approval.
• Portable desk task lights must operate at a minimum of 50 lumens/W instead of 29.
• For omnidirectional products (including wall sconce and surface-mounted downlight retrofit products), minimum efficacy has been established at 65 lumens/W. Most luminaires must produce at least 450 lumens, while decorative pendants, wall sconce luminaires and retrofits, and single-head bath vanity lights must emit at least 250 lumens. Surface-mounted ceiling retrofits must produce at least 800 lumens.

Click here to download the spec and learn more.

Product Monday: Flyte, a Levitating Wireless Lamp

flyteSeen at Kickstarter: Flyte, an LED lamp with a wireless power receiver and electromagnet in its bottom that allows it to levitate over a wooden base containing a power transmitter and a second magnet. Put the lamp on the base, and it slowly levitates to position.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here. Preorder to support the launch. The intent is for products to ship in October.

My Interview with Mariana Figueiro on Light and Health

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mariana G. Figueiro, PhD, Professor and Light and Health Program Director, Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The topic: what we know, what we don’t know, and what’s currently actionable in design concerning light and health. I’m happy to share her responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the December issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.

DiLouie: The relationship between light and health is now turning into a conversation about best practices related to lighting design and health. How do you feel about where the industry is currently going with this? Do you think we’re getting it right? Where are we getting it wrong?

Figueiro: I think that the industry is in its infancy when it comes to developing products for light and health applications, but at least they are thinking about it and they are now considering this topic in their R&D. My concern is that a lot of the talk is about dynamic lighting systems or blue light. Light and health is much more than these two topics. Correlated color temperature is a factor, but not the only one. Light levels are just as or perhaps even more significant than spectrum alone. Temporal characteristics of light (timing and duration) need to be considered. Timing of exposure is key and depending on whether one is a dayshift or a rotating shift worker, the timing of exposure needed to promote entrainment is different. The same intensity and spectrum of light given in the morning will have a different effect on your sleep time than if it is given in the evening.

Moreover, how much light you get over the course of the day will affect how light will impact your circadian system. The circadian system “sums up” morning and evening light and uses the net result to either advance or delay our biological clock. So, we need to know the characteristics (intensity, spectrum, timing and duration) of our light exposures before we can determine what constitutes healthy lighting for each of us. Also, “morning” for me is different than “morning” for you, so a dynamic lighting system that provides high CCT during the day and low CCT in the evening may be too simplistic, yet, we need to start somewhere and if being simple will help start the process, that works for me.

Our research also shows that red light, which does not affect melatonin production, can increase daytime and nighttime alertness and can affect other hormones, such as cortisol levels. So, it’s not just about blue light.

DiLouie: To summarize as short and sweet as possible, what do we currently know with a fair degree of certainty about the relationship between lighting and health?

Figueiro: 24-hour light-dark patterns reaching the back of our eyes set the timing of our biological clock and exposure to (or lack of) light at the right time or exposure to irregular light-dark patterns for long periods of time can disrupt our biological clock. Disruption of circadian rhythms by irregular light/dark patterns can lead to poor sleep and poor performance, and if experienced over many years, chronically, it can lead to more serious diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and even cancer.

DiLouie: What don’t we know yet? What research is being done to gain this knowledge, and how might it affect lighting practice?

Figueiro: Most of the data we have are from laboratory studies performed under controlled conditions and we have average responses. We do not know much about individual responses and we do not know the exact amount of light needed to affect circadian rhythms outside laboratory conditions. But let me be clear, this does not mean we don’t know enough to start using some of this knowledge in real life applications.

We also don’t know how much light one is exposed to during their waking hours in their own environment. We don’t know whether people will adapt to their light/dark pattern exposures. For example, we measured circadian light exposures in people in Sweden during winter and summer months and we saw a large difference in circadian light exposures, but not much difference in their sleep patterns, though they did report feeling sleepier during the winter days than during the summer days.

DiLouie: What are the “killer apps” for lighting design based on light and health research?

Figueiro: Lighting for older adults, including Alzheimer’s disease patients, is the low hanging fruit. It is ready for prime time, especially in more controlled environments, such as assisted living and nursing homes. This is because they are in a more controlled environment and we can adjust their 24-h light-dark pattern to increase circadian stimulation during the day and reduce it in the evening.

A second close to being a killer app is schools, where we can also control the daytime light exposures. But, for it to be successful, we need to also inform the kids and their parents on what is the best lighting for the evening hours (what to do and what to avoid to do at home).

DiLouie: Do you feel the lighting industry is ready to apply current research to general lighting in commercial buildings beyond these “killer apps”? Is this knowledge actionable for all commercial buildings?

Figueiro: We are ready to start. We talk too much about light at night, but we should also be talking about how little light we are exposed to during the day. Energy codes are bringing light levels in the built environment to levels that are too low for activating the circadian system. So we should be concerned about developing these codes and standards based on visibility only.

Yes, we need to start somewhere, and while I don’t think we can claim we will improve health or performance, we have the potential to impact alertness and reduce sleepiness. Studies have shown that high daytime light levels are associated with an increase in objective alertness, measured using EEG, and a reduction in subjective sleepiness, but not all of the studies show an improvement in performance or better sleep and mood. Light can have an acute alerting effect on people, so, again, it is not just about blue light, acute melatonin suppression and circadian entrainment.

I am comfortable saying that light during the day can increase alertness, but we still don’t know how it can affect health, sleep and performance. Nevertheless, one would argue that high circadian stimulation during the daytime hours and low circadian stimulation in the evening is simply common sense.

DiLouie: What general recommendations would you give to a lighting practitioner hoping to design a lighting system in a commercial building based on current research? How are these recommendations different than current best practice design?

Figueiro: Vertical illuminance is what matters, not horizontal illuminance on the workplane. The addition of windows in the space does not mean one will have greater circadian stimulation. The lighting system cannot be static, but needs to be able to change (light level and maybe spectrum) over the course of the day. Dayshift workers have different needs than nightshift workers, so when designing for a 24-hour facility (e.g., healthcare), the designer needs to account for these differences. Lighting needs to be designed for the individual, not for the building. Task light may be the key. Controls might become essential (manual is fine; they don’t need to be smart controls to avoid extra cost). Short wavelength light matters and it can be good or bad, depending on timing of exposure. Using 6500 K light sources rather than 3500 K may be more common in the future.

DiLouie: What does this look like, exactly? What kinds of sources and equipment would be involved?

Figueiro: We would not be using ceiling lights only; vertical surfaces, such as cubicle walls should be lighted. Task lights that can be controlled by each individual will be more common. Personal lighting systems that can be used to deliver individualized circadian lighting to individuals will be more commonly applied.

DiLouie: There’s only so much the building environment can do to be supportive of circadian regulation during the day. What the user does at home at night is even more important. What general recommendations would you give to the average person?

Figueiro: Correct. It is about the total light exposure during waking hours, so one needs to make sure he/she is not exposed to light levels above 20-30 lux of a warm source starting 2 hours prior to natural bedtimes. Turn off self-luminous displays, or at least dim them down or filter them using orange-tinted filters.

What is the economic benefit here for the lighting system owner? Why should they care if occupants have proper circadian regulation?

Figueiro: People are the most important asset of an organization. Why not provide them with the best lighting pattern we can? Providing occupants with proper circadian lighting is similar to providing them with ergonomic chairs or flat screen computer monitors.

In addition, offices with daylight are more valuable and can be sold or rented for higher value. The same can be established for offices with good circadian lighting.

DiLouie: Would taking walks and lunch outside be enough? What kind of duration is needed?

Figueiro: Taking walks or lunch outside and working near windows can help provide what’s needed in terms of light intensity. 30 min walk in the morning should be enough. Also, perhaps the office spaces should have a light shower (or light oasis) room where people can bring their laptops and work while getting the light they need.

DiLouie: Is there any harm to implementing circadian lighting in a commercial building? How would you answer critics who see circadian lighting as being potential harmful?

Figueiro: We just said that taking walks outside is important. How is implementing circadian lighting in commercial building different than exposing oneself to daylight during the day? The key is to remember to reduce circadian lighting in buildings where people are working at night. It is also important not to make claims about improved health, well-being, and performance. We have not quantified the benefits of circadian lighting on people outside laboratory conditions. We can only state the benefits based on laboratory conditions, but the science is clear: light is the major regulator of circadian rhythms to the local time on earth. But, it is important to remember that one can be perfectly entrained, but have a social life that will preclude him/her to sleep as long as they should. So, as my grandfather used to say, you can bring the horse to the fountain (add circadian lighting to the buildings), but you cannot force it to drink (one can disrupt himself/herself with other activities and lighting will not be enough to maintain entrainment).

DiLouie: If everybody adopted LRC recommendations for circadian lighting, what would be the benefits?

Figueiro: While we cannot state that everyone will sleep better, we think that a good portion of the population would be more entrained and therefore sleep better. Better sleep is associated with better performance and better health. Moreover, if anything, we will not have dingy, dark environments.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and health, what would it be?

Figueiro: Don’t be afraid to try. It may not help everyone, but if it helps only half of the people occupying the building, it is worth it.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Figueiro: It seems to me that we know, for sure, that a regular 24-hour light-dark pattern minimizes disruption, which in turn minimizes negative health and performance outcomes. Where we get into trouble is jet airplanes, self-luminous displays, dim interiors, staying up late to watch hockey, and moving from building to building and space to space throughout the day. The 24-hour light-dark pattern is no longer regular and predictable.

The challenge for the traditional lighting and electrical industries is that they have been so closely tied to thinking about a particular building – that’s where one needs to see tasks and perceive ambience instantaneous. Circadian hygiene is not instantaneous, but cumulative. Today, because we have luminous displays and active lives that change our 24-hour pattern of light dark, we do not have a single industry that is responsible for the full 24-hour light exposures patterns, and therefore cannot address the 24-hour light exposure issues.

A new profession needs to emerge, like a personal light and health coach, or a new software app that keeps track of light-dark exposures an provides recipes for maintaining or correcting circadian disruption. We’re not there yet except where people don’t change their living space across the 24-hour day (e.g., senior houses and submarines). The further we get from predictable light exposures, the more likely we are to cause harm.

One area for real impact could be school kids – they have a regular routine at school and with education of parents, light could be better controlled to ensure adequate and consistent sleep. So, now, fix the senior living facilities and next educate teachers and parents about the significance of a robust 24-hour light-dark pattern. Offices are going to be hard, but something like “a light oasis”, where workers can get their circadian light exposures during the daytime (granted that they need to know what they need, and for that, they will likely need a circadian app). Airline pilots, flight attendants and shift workers, nearly impossible.