Blackout – Bad lighting kills
Do you know which evolutionary advantage turtles have over to us? When the lighting is bad they simply die! We on the other hand suffer away for decades, develop winter depression, have headaches, flickering eyes, concentration problems, a disturbed sleeping pattern, and never even notice that it’s all because of the fucking light. And ever since Energy Saving Regulations and the slow extinction of the good old lightbulb, lighting has become – no offense – even shittier. Your boss may have to wait a while for your enlightenment!!
Big Mac on the ceiling
We spend 90 percent of our days in closed rooms – like Dutch salad constantly artificially shone on by illuminants stuck to ceilings and related to fast food: cold and unhealthy. A lack of vitamins is to burgers what a lack of spectral light distribution is to our offices. Presumably no one had a clue about parameters of good lighting when designing your work space. Chances are, it was chosen for a single factor, practically insignificant for your own wellbeing: an investment cost as low as possible.
So there it hangs – quietly lights away and irritates your biorhythm, keeps you from going to sleep tonight, helps your optician and the pharmaceutical industry to make a mint in the next few years.
And all that despite a beautiful, highly complex inner clock God Almighty (or whoever) gave us! Biochronological processes in our body control things like our wake-sleep cycle, jetlag, winter-weariness, in fact, even our predisposition for depression and aggressive behavior. If we don’t use this clock, never even look at it, then – day after night – our body will slowly lose balance, and cannot function anymore the way intended (by whomever).
Out there, in the real world OUTSIDE your office, the wave frequency of the sunlight changes continuously during the day and has been for millions of years. The human eye for instance – and that we’ve only known for 5 or 6 years – uses receptors to measure the degree of blue in light. And those results set our inner clock by reducing the hormone melatonin. A low melatonin level is the off-switch for tiredness and starts our engines in the morning; it makes us young, fresh, and productive.
However, in the morning we step out of the shower, get in the car and drive to the office, hardly touched by the sun our natural clock. And the undynamic, spectrally inferior lighting in your work space simply does not suffice to lower your melatonin level. The switch is, so to speak, never flipped und it costs you a great effort to ever pick up the pace. Now you can try and pour down as much coffee as you want – you stay drowsy. (If you want to look it up: The circadian rhythm is disturbed.)
Learning from turtles!
A few years ago, when we were planning a secondary school, a color designer suggested Osram biolux lamps. Teachers and students were equally delighted by the outcome. Only later did we learn that those lamps were actually intended for reptiles. When you read up on the topic, do some online research about how passionately turtle and reptile breeders converse about the best light sources for their loved ones. It makes you wonder why architects, investors, and controllers do NOT exchange views about lighting. I mean, they don’t. At all!
Switch the lighting!
Sweden, like all Scandinavian countries with their damned short days, has a problem with alcoholism – especially during the winter. To reduce the subsequent error rate in the industry they started experimenting with fabrication lighting in the 90s. Fabrication lighting imitates the light temperature curve of the sun. Today, that development rapidly forges ahead, also thanks to LED technology. Philips is a pioneer in further developing so-called “daylight-dynamic lighting systems”, which bring the sky into your office, so that you don’t lose touch with the outside world. They notably improve your wellbeing.
All good things come from above
When differentiating light sources inside a building the distinction between “bright” and “less bright” simply isn’t enough. Lighting with a high proportion of blue and the strength of the noon-sun boosts concentration during work phases. It is ideally placed over your desk, while for breaks and in conference rooms dimmed lighting with wave lengths in the red area is more suitable to cause a “positive vibration”. Use indirect lighting, radiating from the bottom up; it will improve the luminance distribution on the ceiling. Not only will the rooms appear larger – the feelgood lighting improves contract signings. Not fantasy but biochemistry.
Subtracting by adding
By the way, the intelligent lighting not only makes us more productive and generally happier, it also reduces energy costs and CO2. You know, such as we could shut down entire nuclear power plants… But don’t get me started. I can only imagine how many millions of people in their offices vegetate away in unhealthy light. And that bullshit costs companies significant amounts of money… I think I’d rather go and soak up some sun!
25.04.2015 in Allgemein