We are experiencing a paradigm shift in artificial light
Most of us take light for granted. Not fully understanding what light could do, buying a new light bulb or a new fluorescent tube was a choice requiring little thought, we just accepted what was available. We know artificial light is different than natural light and any of us working inside know we prefer natural light much more. We accepted artificial light as “it is what it is”. That has changed.
We no longer need to accept subpar artificial light in the workplace. The time is now for managers to stop the unnecessary suffering people experience working under fluorescent light. It’s time for managers to stop accepting the inefficiencies caused by poor lighting. When I say inefficiencies and suffering, I am talking about something that is not that obvious. Like any long-term problem, they tend to become accepted as OK.
Through education and understanding comes a new standard. How long did we smoke cigarettes before we understood how much they were making us suffer? How long did we eat sub-par processed food before we realized the consequences? How long did we fill our landfills with plastic before we understood the consequences? The list goes on and on, but the point is the same.
Stop embracing technology that is bad for your health and well-being when there is an alternative.
The alternative in lighting is to remove fluorescent lighting and replacing it with solid-state lighting. We now have a clearer understanding what the photon is and how it works and how we can manipulate it to best serve us.
Solid-state lighting is a process where the photon is released from the electron very efficiently with little energy waste. It is the culmination of 50 years of experimenting, testing, improving and learning how certain natural elements, when charged with electricity, will react and release a photon. We are still learning the potential the photon has but, for sure, visible light is one of its greatest attributes.
Today, we can do things with the photon that are amazing. We can manipulate them to land anywhere on the electromagnetic spectrum and thus unleash their power. For example, a photon at the infrared or near-infrared spectrum has such tremendous deep healing power that most people can’t believe it’s true. Yet, there are thousands of studies and hundreds of products that prove this type of light has fantastic power. We know that light at the UV wavelength is a great disinfectant that destroys germs.
We know that, through our eyes, our bodies require a changing wavelength of light each day to reset our body clock. And we all know how lousy we feel when the body clock is off kilter.
Because many of us work under artificial light every day it is critical that the light is right, or we will suffer the consequences. One study shows that over 70% of people interviewed say the most important thing to them is to have natural light at work. Of course, that cannot happen with just windows around the perimeter of a building, so we install artificial light sources. It is time to expect artificial light to imitate natural light. A few years ago, that was a tall order. Not today.
In the past manufacturers were all about making great looking fixtures but doing little with the light emitted from them. When we survey companies for lighting upgrades we see where thousands of dollars were invested in the light fixtures, making designers feel like they were doing the right thing, but a small percentage was invested to be sure that light did the right thing for people. The fixture looked great, but the light was awful.
Today, we encourage managers to think about the light. To think about the resulting ambient conditions. To invest as little as possible in the fixture and as much as possible into the actual light that illuminates the space. This is a paradigm shift.
And like any paradigm shift its success depends on how and when people embrace it. The facility manager, the person responsible for making the facility as efficient as possible, is responsible to see that a lighting change happens. It is their job to convince the decision makers what must be done. To do that with today’s solid-state lighting requires advice from professionals. It is not as simple as what is the best price, or what is the lumen output per watt.
We feel that one of our responsibilities as Philips Certified LED Professionals is to educate people as much as possible on what light is and what it can do. We want to be that specialized tool the FM has in their tool box to use in educating others.
If it seems like too much of challenge to upgrade lighting, consider it from a different perspective. First think of light as important to the health and well-being of the people using the space. Then with comfort and well-being in mind think what would happen if you decided to only run the air conditioning in the building every other day. Maybe shut the heat off a couple days a week. Something as obvious as this would upset people and be intolerable. Nobody would come to work or shop in your facility. The people using the space would suffer because they are used to a different standard. If your existing light is old technology fluorescent lighting you are virtually having the same impact on employees, residents, students, shoppers, anyone using the space. They just don’t understand that there is a choice, a new standard, or they would consider it intolerable also. That is changing now.
Many people complain about old technology lighting and now the demand for the right type of light is moving to the forefront.
Be proactive, encourage and expect the best from the people using your facility. Upgrade to the newest generation of solid-state lighting and take control of natural light. Your team will be glad you did.
Let the professionals at Lumens For Less guide you through the process.