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What is Human Centric Lighting?

06 September 2019

What is Human Centric Lighting?

Some people say that lighting is “human-based”, on the note that lighting is – simply put – designed for humans. What is Human Centric Lighting, how can humans use it and what do we know about this type of lighting in LED?

As we have said before, light is no longer just light. It’s so much more.


In this blog post we will try answering these questions, as well as give you a better understanding of why Human Centric Lighting is a method that is so popular right now.

What is Human Centric Lighting and how can you use it?

Human Centric Lighting refers to how lighting can be used to support human health, well-being and performance through a combination of visual, emotional and biological benefits of lights. The circadian rhythm of the human body is associated with the natural cycle of light and darkness, and subconsciously informs the body to regulate the awakening and sleep patterns. Thus, dimming and changing color temperatures through light sources such as LEDs, can imitate appreciate level of sunlight throughout the day.

At a conference in Norway Mark Rea – a professor of architecture and cognitive science – recommend a way start implementing Human Centric Lighting. He stated if people are exposed to 254 lux through vertical lighting for at least two hours, ideally in the morning, these people will suppress the sleep hormone Melatonin by 30%.

Luminaire 3000K 4000K 5000K 6500K
Direct 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.7
Direct/Indirect 0.6 0.7 0.8 1
Indirect 0.8 0.9 1 1.3

*The table shows how you easily can adjust it for different luminaires, formats and color temperatures. 1 means 254 vertical lux measured with the eye.

Sustainability and the human activity

It’s important to say, this is of course only a small part what should be taken into account in a light installation – the solution should still be energy efficient, flicker free and much more. Human Centric Lighting is said to affect and influence human circadian rhythm, enhance visual activity and increase productivity – while providing an LED solution that is energy efficient and sustainable.

This area is constantly being researched, so this is not a “how-to” but more inspiration on how Human Centric Lighting can be a part of a LED concept.

Recent studies show that especially photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC), have been shown to be affected by light – on the blue scale – up to 10000K. This is particularly noteworthy, as blue light suppresses Melatonin and encourages the production of Dopamine, Serotonin and Cortisol, which means that greater exposure to it during the day, can make us humans more alert and productive in the workplace.


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