How Can a Lighting Designer Use Light in Buildings For Well-Being? - 'Presented as invited speaker': Symposium Lighting and Architecture - What can Chronobiology offer Architects and Lighting Designers?

Jens Christoffersen

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    Objectives: Designing a good lighting environment seems to become more complex in the future. Traditionally, lighting designers, architects, engineers and lighting manufactures have concentrated on creating a lighting environment for visual functions and visual amenity, completely integrated with the building architecture and meeting the challenges of being energy efficient. However, ongoing biological and behavioural research suggests that the lighting environment should also support human health and well-being; but it is still unknown what implications it will have for architecture and lighting design.

    Summary: Adequate lighting, both natural and artificial, is important as part of a person's well-being. A description of a person's well-being may be context-specific depending on the building design and include a number of parameters such as daylight and sunlight penetration, window views and content of view, enclosed or open space, crowding, visual and acoustical privacy, personal control of ambient conditions etc. Successful daylighting requires trade-offs and optimisation between competing design aspects by skilful integration of the facade layout with the space configuration and the choice of lighting system used.  Surveys consistently show that people prefer daylight over electric light, a desire for windows and view is well-established, and daylight as primary source is believed to be more healthful. Also, work spaces often consist of changing visual tasks, and thereby different lighting requirements. A lighting designer needs to balance the intensity of the light used, its location and direction adequately. The design must fulfil national building regulations or standards and provide a scenario where the general lighting satisfies visual functions and visual amenity and includes lighting that supports individual needs (e.g. task lamps). Thereby the lighting environment would meet most individual needs, reduce possible nuisance and support a person's well-being. However, the lighting designer is challenged by the ongoing biological and behavioural research, which opens new areas for lighting and daylighting application. Does this cause significant changes in today's building design and practice or can we continue as now, if we apply context-specific, evidence-based lighting and daylight design?. Maybe, maybe not, since lighting and daylight design are often introduced too late in the building design process, thus creating lighting environments that are difficult to improve, since building design rarely changes during the lifetime of a building. Therefore, the research community needs to bring its knowledge to the designer, as one of the main targets, and it is essential that the information provided is clear, simple and context-specific, in order to minimise poor design resulting in short- and long-term effects of the people within the building. The information is rich, but the readers may not have the necessary background knowledge or time to search for similar information and thus adopt research results into a building design that is completely different from the context in which they where found. So, to quote a recent publication by Veitch [1], she addresses one of the key issues why design guidance may not be the main target of the research community: Many academics may think that these activities [Design Guidance] are unimportant and not rewarding. These forms of publication may not be among those counted towards tenure and promotion decisions, which constitutes a barrier to interdisciplinary research and to its application. Experience suggests that there are other rewards, most notably the awareness that one's applied research is being applied in buildings, with beneficial results for the well-being of the people in them.



    [1] Veitch, J. A. (2008). Investigating and influencing how buildings affect health: Interdisciplinary endeavours. Canadian Psychology, 49, 281-288.

    StatusUdgivet - 2009
    BegivenhedThe Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms, Abst 2009:21:23 - Berlin, Tyskland
    Varighed: 24 jun. 200927 jun. 2009
    Konferencens nummer: 21st


    KonferenceThe Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms, Abst 2009:21:23

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