When our electrical design engineers are tasked to design lighting systems for our projects from our clients we take into consideration all aspects of the environment along with building compliance, The aim of this is to provide a healthy environment using the latest technologies.
Lights play an important part in the day-to-day successes of a business. Unfortunately, many companies don’t realise just how big an impact the lighting in their office can have.
Recently we were able to apply this approach internally by designing the new lighting system at the AWA office.
With winter here and the colder, the importance of good indoor lighting and its impact on creativity and comfort is clear.
How can businesses supplement the “feel good” rays to increase employee wellness and productivity when nearly 90% of the modern office worker’s life is spent indoors?
Poor lighting quality has several drawbacks, affecting energy levels, hampering morale, and even potentially causing health issues. Headaches and eye strain can become problems that stop people from working efficiently, which is detrimental to business productivity.
The design upgrades of our new office lighting scheme offer several benefits which include:
• Increased energy efficiency
• Boost productivity
• Reduce ultraviolet rays
The existing lighting were fluorescent lamps that have been the most popular choice in offices in the past years, this is now very much old technology. A retrofit of all old office light fixtures to switch to LED lighting is a worthwhile investment, ultimately saving energy costs as well as reducing future maintenance costs, as most have a lifespan of over 50,000 hours.
Bad lighting can cause headaches and eye strain in an office, this is much more likely when you consider the glare from computer screens. As a result employees who suffer from this may be forced to take breaks, or even days off from work. This loss of productivity is just the start, as an ongoing issue can hamper morale and motivation throughout the workforce, as well as impacting on the sleep quality people get. Having good lighting in the office can combat all these problems, reducing potential costs at the same time.
UGR (Unified Glare Rating) is a way of calculating glare from lighting, light through windows and bright sources of light.
Glare can be a common problem in workplaces. Inappropriate luminaires cause excessive brightness to be “bounced off” reflective surfaces, such as computer screens, whiteboards etc. This can cause disruption for the occupants of offices, in terms of headaches & eye trouble.
UGR is calculated by using an equation which considers several factors that may contribute to glare caused by a luminaire, such as the angle of the luminaire, the likelihood of glare and the lumen output.
There are two methods to reduce the glare that is present in relation to interior lighting, firstly to use luminaires that are UGR<19 rated, secondly to ensure that the lighting design is appropriate for the environment they are being used in i.e. the correct number and the position of luminaires.
Within an office setting, for the luminaire to be classified as “low glare” it must have a UGR below 19 at desk level. Anything above this may cause discomfort, in the AWA office this enforced the need for high quality interior lighting that is rated UGR<19.
Taking daylight into account with the lighting design, daylight varies in intensity and colour, some people prefer working in day light conditions.
The new lighting is working with state- of- the-art sensors that respond to changes in lighting levels and the presence of natural daylight in a specific area, when natural daylight intensifies the light level within this specific area, the output of artificial light produced by the luminaire is significantly reduced. This results in a means of maintaining a constant, appropriate lighting level within that environment and a lower dependency on artificial light and a more balanced lit environment with a crucial general uplift.
One of the biggest concerns that people have about fluorescent lighting, is that they will be exposed to harmful UV rays. Fear of radiation and its effects on the body aren’t unfounded. However, the UV levels in fluorescent lamps are minimal. Businesses can take precautions by adding covers or filters, which prevent the harsh light from causing headaches or concerning customers about UV radiation. This will help create ambient light, which is more welcoming and less likely to cause flare-ups for people who are light sensitive. This will translate to happier employees, who can turn their focus to the job.
The design was first implemented into DIALux - the world’s leading software for planning, calculation and visualization of indoor and outdoor lighting.
With the software our engineers were able to design, calculate and visualize the lighting layout viewed as single rooms & whole floors.
The brightness and wavelength of ambient light is not only important for completing tasks but can also have strong non-visual biological effects. These include regulating the human circadian system, positively affecting mood, and increasing productivity, creativity and alertness. The study further notes that most office light is about 75% less luminous than outdoor light, meaning that most traditional office lighting offers extremely low levels of crucial blue light rays—the wavelength of light known to increase positive mood and wellness
Not only are employers looking for better lighting solutions, they’re looking for customisable ones as well. Employee-choice has become a priority as high-level workers seek configuration throughout their day. There are now solutions that provide different light levels for a variety of functional needs, including products with dimming systems that allow users to capitalise on available daylight and allow users to adjust light for commercial office applications.