The future of lighting is very exciting and we are so happy to be at the leading edge of that curve. In this post, we look at circadian rhythm (bio adaptive) lighting for health and wellness.
Guy Singleton MIET LCGI MInstLM(our principal engineer) previously held the position of R&D Lighting & Environmental Controls Manager at Crestron EMEA. He is a fully qualified and registered electrical and electronics engineer. He teaches and lectures internationally and is a subject matter expert for CEDIA’s education council, specialising in lighting, HVAC, home theatre design, fundamental electrical theories, electrical maths and control systems and programming. This part of or industry has always been his passion.
In this article we look at:
- Home Lighting Control – A Brief Summary of the Last 25 Years
- Lighting Evolution – Circadian Rhythm Lighting Systems
- Our Lighting Control Systems
Home Lighting Control – A Brief Summary of the Last 25 Years
Cast your mind back 25 years and lighting control was generally for the top tier of the social spectrum. Most systems consisted of banks of resistive modules ‘cooking’ away in a rack somewhere in the house. (These were usually the basement or garage). All of the lighting circuits were returned to the rack, in what is known as a centralised lighting control system.
Each circuit would be wired in a radial back to the panel and connected to one of the output terminals on a dimmer module. The dimmer would usually have been TRIAC based or FET based, for real trailing-edge control.
Lighting loads were different then. There were lots of leading-edge ELV (electronic low voltage) and MLV (magnetic low voltage) loads, with the occasional resistive incandescent load. These formed most of the lighting systems of the 1990s.
Times have thankfully changed.
Lighting Evolution – Circadian Rhythm Lighting Systems
The evolution of LED lighting has heralded a smarter approach to lighting control. Bio-adaptive/circadian rhythm lighting designs have meant that evolution has become a lighting revolution.
In new circadian lighting systems, colour temperature (measured in Kelvin) changes throughout the day to synchronize with the human circadian rhythm. This provides a wellness approach to lighting and not just simply dimming and switching. Tunable white light allows the infinite slow changing of colour temperature throughout the day to match the natural daylight. This is achieved by varying intensities of the primary and secondary colours in the CIE colour space.
The lighting quality and colour temperature are so important and this approach to lighting design will become the standard in modern homes as we move through the next few years.
Lighting control sytems have become more complex
Much of what our industry delivers, such as cinemas and distributed audio/video, are affairs of the heart. Lighting and shades (along with heating control) seem to fall more under decisions of the head. If you’ve ever experienced a fully automated lighting system, you’ll know that it really enhances your lifestyle and living environment. Of all the wonderful things that we deliver for our clients, this is by far the most rewarding.
In the old days, distributed audio and video, RF distribution systems and CRT theatres were complex to deliver. Conversely, lighting was easy. There were a few loads that were predictable and simple to design for. Now that situation seems to have reversed. Distributed audio and video is a simpler proposition, and theatres and media rooms are mostly all at acceptable performance levels (if designed correctly). The correct design of lighting systems now has many, many potential banana skins.
LED and solid state lighting is both a blessing and a curse. The advantages of having long lamp life, efficient running costs and beautiful lighting quality, are tempered with a multitude of other challenges. Choices of colour rendering indexes, colour temperatures, LED driver specification, DALI groups and addresses along with macadam step binning and the general overall control characteristics, make for some real design and commissioning challenges.
The end results can be simply stunning.
Bio-adaptive lighting will push these advancements to the next level of client expectation. And that will bring more opportunities to the lighting market for those with a deep skillset and extensive understanding of light, electrical systems and design creativity.
Our Lighting Control Systems
At Imagine This, we use Lutron lighting control and Crestron lighting control systems to deliver the most amazing lighting experiences. As a result, we provide our clients with warm and inviting spaces. These deliver from an aesthetic standpoint and also from a human-centric and wellness perspective. These undoubtedly enhance the home and lifestyle for our clients.
We are NICEIC full scope approved contractors. Our skilled and qualified tradespeople carry out the work to the very highest standards. We’ve actually been doing this successfully for over 25 years and continue to push boundaries and innovate from within. Additionally, we created the highly acclaimed and widely used The Lighting Designer software, which has established itself as the go-to for our industry as a whole.
We can because we are, Imagine This…
Lighting systems, as we know them, are changing. We are thrilled to be delivering some of the UK’s cutting edge new systems. Our systems provide elegant, intuitive control over lighting, leading to health and wellbeing benefits for our clients.
By adjusting the colour temperature during the day, we can align lighting with the human circadian rhythm. For example, by increasing the warmth in the evening, you may find sleeping easier. A cooler, bluer hue earlier in the day may help you concentrate better and be more produtive.
For further reading, please see Guy’s archive article celebrating our 20th birthday or one of our Lutron lighting projects. Here is another Lutron Homeworks lighting project or for something cinema-related, here is Guy’s article on Home Cinema Dialogue and Speech Intelligibility.