Indoor lighting is always a critical component for all types of buildings. Recent trends of green building brings forward designs that utilises windows, sun roof or even large openings where natural sunlight can reach inside a building easily.
While this green movement serves to conserve lighting energy, it also directly benefits the people working within the building by exposing them to natural lighting. We can then explore the concept of cicadian lighting systems; the pros and cons of natural lighting to our body biological system.
Following the sun set and sun rise cycle, the natural light emitted from the sun varies in intensity and color temperature and we may have very strong dependency with the sun cycle. Circadian lighting design is meant to simulate the intensity and color temperature of the sun cycle to promote productivity at work and a relax atmosphere reaching the end of the day.
To achieve the respective intensity and color temperature, lighting industry have come out with tunable white LED where it can produce various color temperature via dimming of intensity and a control system that is capable of changing the intensity at real time. This is still a relatively new concept as the science and lighting technology have not yet merged together completely but companies in the United States are getting them installed improve productivity.
I feel that it would be necessary for circadian lighting design to advance further. With the flexibility and stability of LED lighting technology, there is the potential to provide more lighting design to benefit our human body and internal body clock. Gradually, the benefits may encourage more research into a better tunable bulb or white LED that have a wider and precise range for the color temperature.
Article written by: Mr Tan Chin Koon, 3rd Year Nanyang Technological University, EEE