Category Archives: Lighting and Health

Creating Sustainable Lighting Solutions

Bushwick Park: project by AWA Lighting Designers

Bushwick Park: project by AWA Lighting Designers

Over time, the architectural community has become increasingly invested in the realization of environmentally sustainable design, and this trend shows no sign of abating. This is a global movement. Sustainable solutions acting in a major metropolis can save building owners significantly on operational costs and cut back in vast quantities on the carbon emissions that would otherwise pervade. And, in other parts of the world, sustainable lighting solutions can make the difference between continuing one’s day, be that education, work or home tasks, or allowing darkness to swallow up needed hours of productivity. Thus, sustainability touches us all.

From low impact materials to energy efficiency, to design for reuse and recycling, there is much to be done. In this context, design connects architects with their partners and consultants, as they work toward their common goal of defining and creating structures that live up to the promise of sustainability. With architecture, technologies, materials and products all merge to create the tangible pieces of lighting design. In their collective application we see the final effects, and the success or failure of strategies and visions. How these pieces are put to use by installers and later by building occupants has tremendous importance on their visual comfort, efficiency performance, function and beauty that must be considered carefully from design inception.

Able to realize the vision of their architectural partners, lighting designers are critical members of the process. For, it is very true that one of the most efficient ways to reduce the overall carbon footprint of a structure is to amend its lighting design with smartly conceived and realized design. And, in the developing world, sustainable lighting nourishes the very essence of life. Thus, although it is just one piece of the puzzle, lighting has an outsized effect on sustainability. Understanding what is possible in this arena only serves to invigorate a practice and encourage new paradigms.

Light triggers critical physiological and psychological responses within human beings. And, since most of us spend the majority of our lives in the built environment, the level and quality of light within these buildings has real implications for our health and wellness. Luckily, today’s architect is armed with sophisticated structural options that allow for more lighting choices than at any point in architecture’s history. In today’s design world, it is no longer a question of whether to design with light in mind, but how to design with light in mind. As we become more aware of light’s implications on our physiological and psychological selves, and as technology affords a greater range of options, architects and their partners are left with an increased repertoire to draw from.  As it relates to health and wellness, the key points to consider are the quality, the quantity and the type of light being delivered within the space. 

Consider first how light comes into play in a health-oriented society. Many functions necessary for growth and well being such as breathing, sleeping, blood pressure, body temperature, appetite, moods, mental acuity, and the immune system are governed by the endocrine system, which is strongly impacted and affected by light, both natural & created by electric sources. There is also evidence suggesting that proper quantities of visually perceived light are needed for healthy functioning of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls motivation, learning, and creativity; the limbic system, the part of the brain that stores emotional impressions of the world; and the motor cortex and the brain stem, the parts of the brain that coordinate body movement and the maintenance of life.

Vortices of Energy

Meridians

  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • A path through which the life energy “QI” flows to the body
  • 12 principal meridians divided into YIN and YAN groups, each associated with a region of the body

Meridians

Chakras

  • In Hindu metaphysical tradition, chakras are centers of life force, or vital energy
  • Respond to vital points on the physical body
  • Used in tantric and yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism

Chakras

Lighting for the Elderly

Lighting for Elderly

UNDERSTANDING THE AGING EYE

The human visual system deteriorates throughout adult life and is considered “young” until it reaches 40 years of age

As the visual system ages:

  • Less light reaches the back of the eyes
  • Pupils decrease in size
  • Lens becomes thicker, so that it absorbs more light

DESIGNING EFFECTIVE LIGHTING SYSTEMS FOR THE ELDERLY

  • AMBIENT LIGHT LEVELS: Should be increased by 50% versus those used for younger people. Ambient levels should be at least 300 lux
  • TASK LIGHTING: Light levels should be at least 1000 lux on task areas to see fine details
  • CONTRAST: The contrast of objects such as stair edges, curbs, ramps, or doorways should be increased by using paint or other techniques
  • COLOR PERCEPTION: Can be improved by using high illuminance levels and high-quality fluorescent lamps versus incandescent lamps

SLEEP QUALITY IN THE ELDERLY

Between 40-70% of people over 65 suffer from chronic sleep disturbances

Sleep disturbances result from a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s lighting research center [LRC] have demonstrated that blue light is the most effective at stimulating the circadian system

This light must be combined with the appropriate light intensity, spatial distribution, timing and duration

LRC researchers tested a goggle like device to improve the sleep quality in older adults

A marked increase in daytime lighting levels can counteract the age-dependent losses in retinal light exposure

Sleep Quality of Youth

Light triggers critical physiological and psychological responses within human beings. The level and quality of light within the built environment has real implications on our health and wellness as we become more aware of light’s implications on our health, we have a larger repertoire with which to impact a positive benefit on our health.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

  • During the spring, late sunset and extended daylight exposure delays bedtime in teenagers
  • Increased exposure to early evening light delays the onset of nocturnal melatonin
  • Nocturnal melatonin: hormone that indicates to the body when it’s nighttime
  • Combine the delay in sleep with early school hours means many teens experience sleep deprivation, mood changes, increased risk of obesity and under performance at school

LRC CASE STUDY AT ALGONQUIN MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 16 students were given a daysimeter – a small device to measure an individual’s exposure to daily “circadian light”
  • Circadian light: the potential for light to suppress melatonin synthesis at night not how light stimulates the visual system
  • Experienced a delay in melatonin onset by an average 20 minutes in the spring relative to winter

RESULTS:

  • Extended daylight hours due to the seasonal change, not evening electric lighting, had the biggest impact on delayed sleeping patterns
  • The melatonin delay caused an average of 16 minute delay in reported sleep onset and a 15 minute average reduction in reported sleep duration during the spring
  • The lrc recommends that teenagers increase morning daylight exposure throughout the year and decrease evening daylight exposure during the spring months

Color Mixing and Connotations

ADDITIVE MIXING

  • Mixing colors of light
  • In absence of color the result is black
  • Presence of all three primaries is white

SUBTRACTIVE MIXING

  • Mixing colors pigment / CMYK
  • Absence of color is white
  • Presence of all three primaries is black

Color Mixing

MEANING OF BLACK: DARKNESS
How the color black affects us physically and mentally?

  • Feeling inconspicuous
  • A restful emptiness
  • Mysterious evoking a sense of potential and possibility

Darkness

MEANING OF GRAY: SHADOW
How the color gray affects us physically and mentally?

  • Unsettling
  • Expectant

Stormy Sky

EIGENGRAU (GERMAN: INTRINSIC GRAY)

  • The color seen by the eye in perfect darkness
  • Eigengrau is perceived as lighter than a black object in normal
  • Lighting conditions, because contrast is more important to the
  • Visual system than absolute brightness.

Eigengrau

MEANING OF WHITE : LIGHT
HOW THE COLOR WHITE AFFECTS US MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY?

  • Aids mental clarity
  • Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
  • Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
  • Enables fresh beginnings

Sunrise

 

Light and Dark Adaption

Hermann Grid Illusion

Hermann Grid Illusion

“The eye goes through its involuntary process of responding and adapting to changing brightness values of successive spaces. Sometimes those changes in brightness are severe and occur suddenly, and the eye is forced to adapt accordingly.”

-Lou Michel, ‘Light: The Shape of Space: Designing With Space & Light’

Architecture Spotlight: Abhay Wadhwa

-By Ben Hinson-

Abhay Wadhwa, aka “The Poet of Light” is a very interesting personality in the world of architecture and design. His formative years in the 70s and 80s were spent in India, and if you had told him then that today he would be heading up his own successful architectural lighting firm in New York City, chances are he would not have believed you. But yet here he is, his firm, AWA Lighting Designers firmly established in Brooklyn. And this specialist has certainly made a name for himself: his work has been featured across India, New York City, Dubai, New Jersey, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. Check out the below pictures that offer a sample of his achievements to date:

Brigade gateway – bangalore india


Holland tunnel – New Jersey


Nets go @ seoul plaza – south korea

icici bank – india

Trained as an architect, he discovered his passion for lighting design while working part-time at a theater gig during his sophomore year in architecture school. He founded AWA Lighting Designers in 2002, and since then has transformed his startup into a respected global brand. Abhay likes to focus on projects with high design content, projects that are challenging, projects that can make people happier and use lighting to influence moods. His economic approach to lighting design is to be cost effective and energy efficient. His aesthetic approach is a poetic one, that involves enhancing specific focus points and revealing subtle architectural details and rhythms. And his eclectic nature is evident even in conversation. When I spoke with Abhay for this article, we discussed topics ranging from the intricacies of lighting design (lighting levels, lighting litigation, lighting across different cultures) to history, anthropology and economics across Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. He is quite a unique character, and I appreciated that about him. If I was a contractor/builder evaluating an architectural service provider, besides having a Big Picture, intimate understanding of the project, I would also want someone who took into serious consideration the market, cultural and social forces; past and present, at play, and for that Mr. Abhay Wadhwa has my salute. Talking with him was definitely a treat. Be sure to check out his firm, AWA Lighting Designers for more samples of their work. I’ll leave you with the below video of Abhay speaking at the 2015 Professional Lighting Designers Conference. Enjoy.

View the full article here.

‘Clean the Air. Let the Future Breathe Again’ – Smoke to Illustrate Dangers of Air Pollution

Projection on Smoke

The project helps illustrate how crucial the issue of air pollution is for future generations

exiaozhudesignboom03

xiao zhu uses factory smoke to illustrate dangers of air pollution

Xiao Zhu is a chinese company dedicated to providing clean air to its citizens. The country sees more than 500,000 die every year from causes related in some way to extreme levels of airborne contaminants. Like most socially conscious businesses, entering better products into the market is often only a small part of a larger equation; true change lies within education and protest. To make an impact, xiao zhu needed to show the people of china how crucial the issue is, and they did so in the most direct means possible.

Click HERE to read more about the project

Article Written by : Nick Brink

GIF & Image courtesy of : Xiao Zhu

Source : Designboom

Mariana Figueiro to Speak at TEDMED 2014

Mariana Figueiro

Mariana Figueiro

Mariana Figueiro, Lighting Research Center (LRC) Light and Health Program Director and Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will speak at TEDMED, September 12, 2014 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. During the talk, she will reveal surprising facts about the effect of light—its presence, its absence, and its patterns—on human health and wellbeing.

Humans need to be exposed to a sufficient amount of light of the right spectrum, for a sufficient amount of time, and at the right time, for the circadian system to remain synchronized with the 24-hour day. Light can be used to improve sleep, alertness, and performance, along with overall health and well-being among the general population, and in populations with rigorous work schedules, such as U.S. Navy submariners and NICU nurses.

One of Figueiro’s flagship projects is the 24-hour lighting scheme for elders, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. The lighting scheme delivers high circadian stimulation during the daytime and low circadian stimulation in the evening, along with nightlights designed to reduce falls. The scheme has been installed in several elder care facilities in New York State with excellent results.

Click HERE to read the full article.

Source: Edison Report

Light Show Puts Spotlight on Mental Health

Mental illness was in the limelight in downtown Halifax on Saturday evening.

A crowd gathered at Grand Parade for a brilliant light show projected onto Halifax City Hall.

The #ShineALight on Mental Health event was held to spark conversation about mental health and to help stop the stigma around mental illness. The light show also plays Monday and Tuesday nights beginning at 7 p.m. and at half-hour intervals until 8:30 p.m.

People with a psychiatric illness often wrongly believe that it is their fault which can prevent them from seeking the help they need, Dr. Nicole Herschenhous told the crowd.

Herschenhous, a psychiatrist, works at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre’s short-stay unit that helps people in crisis.

Click here to read the original article

Written by: Clare Mellor Staff Reporter

Source: The Chronicle Herald