5 Major Ways Sustainable Lighting Benefits the Workforce
By Jeff Brain | October 10, 2017
Despite the number of studies published on the topic, the effects of lighting in the workplace are widely ignored.Replacing the linear fluorescent or HID bulbs in your facility with daylighting or efficient LED bulbs offers a lot of potential benefits, particularly for your employees.
Below are five ways that updating your sustainable lighting to a more sustainable option can significantly benefit your employees.
Increased Energy Levels
One way in which more traditional sustainable lighting negatively affects workers is actually the spectrum of light it provides. Most fluorescent, HID, and even some LED bulbs provide most of their light in the blue spectrum. This mimics the blue color of the sky and can actually slowly disrupt workers’ circadian rhythms, altering their sleep cycle and reducing their energy levels throughout the day. Utilizing lighting methods such as daylighting, which provide broad spectrum light works to reverse these effects, allowing employees’ energy levels to return to normal.
Reduced Stress Levels
Another benefit of incorporating natural, sustainable lighting is that it serves to decrease employee stress levels. This effect is known as Attention Restoration Theory. A study by the California Energy Commission (CEC) found that the sounds or sight of nature, even something as simple as exposure to sunlight, can act as a physiological trigger to reduce stress. The combination of increased energy levels and reduced stress also contributes to an average increase in workplace productivity of 6-16%.
A healthier facility begins with sustainable lighting. Over the years, a plethora of studies have been done on the health effects of light quality. While poor light quality can worsen conditions such as pre-diabetes and cause repetitive eye strain, moderate exposure to natural light has been tied to the prevention of several medical conditions. These include rickets, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, seasonal affective disorder, and select autoimmune diseases.
Unfortunately, injuries are fairly common in industrial facilities due to heavy machinery and often sub-optimal lighting. When compared to fluorescent bulbs and HIDs, sunlight and broad spectrum LEDs improve visibility significantly. Not only that, the consistent light also enhances our eyes’ ability to detect edges and fine details. When Prince Street Technologies incorporated natural lighting into their facility, they saw worker’s compensation cases decrease by a factor of more than 20.
Higher Workplace Satisfaction
What all of these benefits leads toward is a higher level of workplace satisfaction. Company-wide employee surveys show that workers in a well-lit workplace tend to develop non-specific positive emotions associated with that space. Not only that, data also shows that these workers tend to hold the company in higher regard for their efforts to incorporate higher quality sustainable lighting.