Lighting for Health and Wellbeing.

There has been a lot of research into how lighting affects our health and wellbeing. One of the most comprehensive guides on how to achieve ideal lighting for health and wellbeing is summarised in the WELL. The WELL is the first building certification in the world that focuses on human’s health and wellbeing whilst maximising the real estate value.

Here are the most important highlights on how to improve the lighting for wellbeing in your office. For the full version of WELL standard, please visit our Member Zone.

Making lighting comfortable for people in offices.


1 - Light Exposure 


Providing appropriate light exposure can significantly improve health and productivity of the occupants. Smart interior design encourages using daylight to its advantage and, most importantly, making it available for everyone.


You can improve the daylight exposure through 

  • Space layout - at least 30% of the regularly occupied area is within 20 ft horizontal distance of envelope glazing in each floor OR common spaces have unassigned seating and can accommodate at least 15% of regular occupants at any given time.

  • Building design - there are guidelines on how deep the floor plates need to be to ensure access to daylight

  • Circadian lighting design

Daylight, however, needs to be managed through shading and glazing.



2 - Visual Lighting


Commercial projects require to provide appropriate illuminances on work planes for regular users of all age groups, as required for the tasks performed in the space.

To achieve this, it’s critical to take into account the task conducted in the space and the age of the occupants/users. Whether you choose to follow the WELL or not, all indoor spaces need to comply with the illuminance levels specified in one of the current guidelines:




3 - Circadian Lighting Design 


Our bodies are being kept in sync by various cues, lighting being one of the most important one. As we now spend so much time indoors, the ‘light and dark’ pattern is being disturbed by artificial lighting. Disruption of the circadian system has been linked to serious illnesses like obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders to name a few.  

This WELL feature requires projects to provide users with appropriate exposure to light for maintaining circadian health and aligning the circadian rhythm with the day-night cycle.

For workstations used during day time, electric lighting is used to achieve certain thresholds for at least 4 hours.


Circadian rhythm-1


4 - Electric Light Glare Control 

Defined as excessive brightness, glare is managed through the lighting design process. It has been associated with a host of health issues like eye strain or migraine. Reducing glare is vital for visual experience of the occupants in the space.

This WELL feature requires projects to manage glare by using lighting calculation of glare and selecting the appropriate luminaires for the space.

Glare needs to be calculated as part of the whole lighting design, not just as UGR values of a single luminaire.



5 - Visual Balance

Commercial interiors use a mixture of different types of luminaires, including decorative lighting and daylight. Fluctuating light levels impact the visual comfort of occupants and could lead to eye fatigue. Evidence suggests that thoughtful planning of lighting in a space that takes into account color temperature, daylight and electric light supports a visually comfortable lighting environment. The age of users needs to be taken into consideration to create a productive space.

This WELL feature requires projects to create a visually comfortable lighting environment.

The lighting designer has to take following into account:

  • Horizontal and vertical luminance contrast ratio for an ambient light system is no more than 10 between adjacent independently controlled zones

  • Illuminance uniformity ratio is achieved on any horizontal task plane within a space

  • Automatic changes in light levels, colour and distribution take place over a period of at least 10 minutes

  • The correlated colour temperature in each room is consistent (+- 200K) at any point of time



6 - Electric Light Quality

Specifying lighting that uses high quality of light and don’t display signs of flickering contributes to a comfortable and healthy space.

This WELL feature requires projects to consider characteristics of electric light used in the space, such as colour rendering and flicker.

  • Enhance Colour rendering quality by using CRI >90  for all spaces except circulation areas

  • Luminaires in circulation areas should achieve CRI >80

  • Manage flicker



7 - Occupant Lighting Control.


Occupant control switch lighting-1Lighting environments that can be controlled by individuals are shown to improve satisfaction in the workplace. The ages of occupants have an impact on the light levels required for visual comfort. Lighting guidelines recommend twice the light levels for individuals over the age of 65 years, compared to individuals between the ages of 25 years and 65 years. 

Enhance Occupant Controllability by:

  • Creating certain amount of Lighting zones per occupants

  • Lighting controls- allowing regular occupants to have control over their immediate lighting environment through manual controls, digital interface on their phone

Some light fittings provide individual level of control - our best selling linear profile Rio is available with a manual pull switch.



8. Provide supplemental lighting.

Certain task require a higher level of illumination. It is recommended to provide supplemental lighting to increase the light level on the task surface to at least twice the recommended light levels.


Anglepoise - Sezane Offices









Anglepoise desk lamps.



9. Consider using acoustic lighting


Acoustic lighting combines lighting with acoustic panels, which helps the noise absorption. The offer on acoustic lighting varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Whilst providing lighting, acoustic luminaires enhance the interior design, too.


Mobile Acoustic Lighting Pendant Light-1-1'Mobile' acoustic lighting from Nexia.



Office Lighting Design Consultation

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