Earlier this week someone I follow on twitter shared a link to a report from Philips called “Working the way to wellness”. I did my normal thing of downloading with a view to reading at some point later in the week. Unusually, I actually did get around to reading the report. As somebody who has had nothing to do with light quality, and knows even less, the content of the paper got me thinking.
The report suggests that employees spend up to 36% of their waking hours at work. I think this might be a little low. A quick calculation on the back of the printed Philips’s report suggests that I spend about 45% of my waking time in work.
This got me thinking some more, how much of the available day-lit hours of a week do I spend in work. Returning to the back of the report I did some more quick calculations. Based on this calendar week, with its ten hours and four minutes of daylight per day, I spend 70% of the day-lit week in work. Seventy per cent is a big chunk of daylight, and I’m guessing that at this time of year with our dark mornings and evenings, it’s a not-uncommon figure for the majority of people who work.
This then led me to question the quality of light that I was getting whilst sat at my desk. I consider myself to be fortunate; I have natural light on three sides of my desk with windows close-by to two of those. I also have a well maintained lighting scheme. Read more about the impact of artificial light on health and well being here.
Using a Saint-Gobain research and development device, I measured the amount of light that I get when sat at my desk. The first measurement was with the lights and computer screens turned off. The second was with the lights on and the third was with the computer screens turned on.
A quick google reveals that the levels of light I get at my desk are good; happy days.
But, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to rely quite so heavily on artificial lighting, wouldn’t my wellbeing be further improved if I was exposed to more natural light? Sage Glass does a glazing system that adjusts its transparency based on the conditions. A building using this could allow optimum levels of natural light into my workspace.
This could then be supplemented, when required, with an intelligent lighting system that changed its intensity depending on the natural light entering the building. If the colour of the artificial supplemental light also changed during the day in the same way that natural light does, I suspect I might end up going home at the end of the working day in a more relaxed frame of mind. Imagine that, a workforce leaving their place of work at the end of the day feeling better than when they arrived.
I don’t know if this lighting utopia is even possible. I’m sure there are experts out there who could tell us. I still think it’s an interesting thought.
The report from Philips can be downloaded from here
Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for any views expressed lies with the author(s). Any opinions shared do not necessarily represent the views of Saint-Gobain.