Taking the First Step into Human Centric Lighting
There is a lot of talk about human centric or healthy lighting in the residential design and technology world. When you bring the subject up, you tend to get two questions: What is it, and how much does it cost? The first of these questions is easy to answer, but the second is one of those “well it depends” answers. As residential lighting designers, we will try to examine both in the blog.
What is Human Centric lighting (HCL)?
A quick search of HCL will tell you that it is an approach to lighting your home that focuses on how that lighting could affect the wellbeing, productivity, or mood of the family that lives in that home. The largest of these impacts comes from how human-made light can impact your circadian rhythms.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, these cycles regulate when you sleep and when you are awake, and is a 24-hour internal clock that “is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.” Your body responds to light and dark, and the wrong amounts at the wrong times can affect sleep, behavior, and even your overall health. By changing the amount of light and the color temperature of that light at different times of the day, you can support rather than aggravate your circadian rhythms.
Most of us have changed our homes to LED bulbs because they are cheaper and need to be replaced less often. They also lack that warm feeling that traditional light bulbs have when you dim them. Getting the right kind of LEDs can make all the difference. They will allow you to sleep better and put a spring in your step when you are awake. It will also make your home feel warmer in the evenings and vibrant in the daytime.
Where do you start?
The most important thing to understand is that this does not have to be an ‘all or nothing' idea. There is no reason why your home must be designed to have all HCL or none-at-all. If you are building a new home, then preparing the house for HCL is best done before any lights are installed – it may change what lighting fixtures and fittings you choose. For an existing home, you can swap the LEDs for specially designed and managed ones from companies like Ketra to get the effect rather than switch all the fixtures.
On a recent BRAVAS Luxury Living podcast, we discussed these two different approaches and how to pick which rooms go first. It may be easy to start with which rooms don't need this technology. Seldom used rooms or utility spaces don't need to have lights that follow the sun's cycles. Unless you do laundry in the middle of the night, the warm glow of sunset over your tumble dryer is probably not necessary. What most people suggest is that you focus on the rooms where you spend your mornings and evenings.
Many people have found the most significant impact is your bedroom and the room you use in the evening to watch TV or whatever you do before bed. HCL will both soften the light and make it warmer. It is making it less jarring in the morning and relaxing as you wind down. Of course, the other benefits of these sorts of light are that they often show many different colors than white. Your party may come to life with the right color purple in your chill-out rooms, and your local team needs your media room to be in their color before any game.
The LEDs bulbs or HCL light fixtures are not cheap, and converting your whole home may be a shock to the wallet. Picking a few rooms to start with gives you a taste for the technology and ideas of where to install it next.
It is also important to remember that these systems require a mixture of software and hardware control. They also need some careful installation to get the benefits.
That's where a company like BRAVAS can help you. Our team of expert residential lighting designers knows how to add this to your existing lighting control system. Of course, you may not have a lighting control system, in which case call us asap. How do you live without a lighting control system? Trust me; it will change how you enjoy your luxury home.