Office

Office workers want dynamic non-uniform light, study shows

A brightly-litoffice interior with men and women working at desks
In research on workplace illumination conducted by Aalborg University in Denmark, office workers preferred a combination of direct and diffuse dynamic daylight and artificial light.

FOR YEARS, standards and guidelines have dictated that office workers be given static, uniform lighting no matter how much daylight is available. 

But an ongoing study appears to show that this lighting is not what they actually want. 

In research on workplace illumination conducted by Aalborg University in Denmark, the subjects preferred a combination of direct and diffuse dynamic daylight and artificial light.

The lighting approach, dubbed Double Dynamic Lighting as both daylight and artificial light were variable, was validated as having a positive impact on perceived atmosphere, visual comfort, and work engagement compared to the standard static lighting. 

In general, it was confirmed that the combination of directional task lighting and diffuse ambient lighting in response to whether it was sunny or overcast and measured daylight levels in the workspace was preferred to standard static diffuse lighting. 

An analysis of responses from interviewees revealed a large difference in perceived visual comfort between dynamic and static lighting periods, indicating that working with light zones and with direct and diffuse lighting components and uneven light distribution delivers a high level of visual comfort.

One participant told the press: ‘I feel like when it’s overcast and the sun isn’t that much out, the lighting is kind of more comforting in the room, because it fills more.’

Another said: ‘I noticed the light in the room, but it feels like the daylight and the light in the room are blended together, in a way. So, the weather is like casted into the room, projected.’

The project is supported by several lighting companies, including Tridonic, iGuzzini, Fagerhult and Zumtobel. The idea is come up a new approach to

workplace comfort by combining direct and diffuse dynamic daylight and artificial light. 

Backers say it will have a positive impact on perceived atmosphere, visual comfort, and work engagement. 

Practical design guidelines are being developed, tested and implemented in a series of investigations. This work is being conducted in existing working environments with dynamic light, in lighting laboratories at Aalborg University and in interactive, three-dimensional computer models. 

The results of the field study demonstrate that it is possible to define dynamic light settings in response to the dynamics of daylight through a combination of direct and diffuse lighting. 

Prof. Ellen Kathrine Hansen, head of lighting design in the Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology, told Lux: ‘The aim of the study is to apply an innovative mix of methods to create a holistic approach to lighting planning which can then function as a seal of quality in the lighting industry. A combination of biological, aesthetic and functional aspects will form the basis for the design process.’

For further information on Double Dynamic Lighting, click HERE