What Are the Benefits of Biophilic Lighting?

By Torrin Greathouse | May 12, 2016

While the idea of biophilic lighting is foreign to many people, it is beginning to catch on in the lighting industry. What this lighting method involves is integrating either daylighting or color-tuned smart LEDs into a building, so that occupants are exposed to the regular changes in color and intensity they would  experience with natural sunlight throughout the day if they were outdoors. Lighting in this way can provide many benefits for employees and business owners alike.

Maintains Circadian Rhythms

The body’s circadian rhythm, which maintains the sleep-wake cycle and regulates hormone release, is intrinsically tied to the light of the sun. When we are deprived of natural light, our bodies slowly fall out of synch. This is especially true for office workers, who spend hours away from full-spectrum sunlight while working in front of the light of a computer screen or in buildings where the lighting fixtures produce high levels of blue spectrum light. In both cases, the poor lighting quality is shown to contribute to insomnia. Biophilic lighting helps to resynchronize workers’ circadian rhythms, improving health and productivity.

Supports Health

Studies show that natural lighting provides major benefits for overall health. When workers were exposed to light that shifted naturally in color and intensity throughout the day, they experienced reduced levels of stress and tiredness. Natural light is proven to aid in the prevention of conditions such as hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and some autoimmune diseases, while also reducing recovery times from sickness or injury.

Boosts Worker Productivity

A case study on natural lighting by Lockheed Martin found that every wasted minute per hour accounted for a nearly 2% loss in productivity—which added up to losses of nearly three million dollars annually. Replacing electric lights with biophilic lighting, however, can increase worker productivity by 6-16%. Reduced stress levels and increased energy ensure that workers are able to complete their work more efficiently, and with 6.5% fewer sick days, workers spend a greater number of productive hours completing the tasks they are assigned to do.

Reduces Carbon Footprint

Because electric lights are so commonly used, many people do not realize the negative effects they have on the environment. As much as 67% of the electricity we use for lighting is produced by burning fossil fuels, contributing to the rise of global warming. Investing in biophilic lighting can drastically reduce your facility’s use of electricity for lighting and HVAC, in some cases by as much as 80%, helping to minimize the environmental impact of your business.

To learn more about the natural lighting methods available today, download our eBook A Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Lighting.

(Photo: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, CC.)

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