As lighting technology continues to develop, architectural designers will be able to move beyond fluorescent lighting – toward the LED Light Bulb. Architectural lighting design is benefiting from awareness about energy consumption and health benefits of past, current and new lighting technologies. It’s about time that lighting undergo the next step in the revolution that can make lighting integration more cost effective, energy efficient and health conscious.
We are at the advent of a better lighting solution as LEDs gain more and more popularity. As such technology comes down in price this more optimized solution will contribute to better architectural designs. The predecessor to the LED is fluorescent lighting – known for its problematic side effects as described in the following:
[Fluorescent lights] use electricity to excite mercury vapor. The lights can flicker, which could set off epileptic fits, and badly made ones might leak ultraviolet radiation, and may thus pose a cancer risk. There are also concerns about the disposal of the toxic mercury vapor. (1)
Thankfully, a renewed lighting technology is on the forefront – the LED light bulb. Such technology is much safer and healthier as “these can be tuned to produce light that is similar to natural daylight but with virtually no ultraviolet or heat”. (1) The LED light bulb not only cancels out negative risks as emitted by the fluorescent bulb, but also provides positive health benefits for occupants when experienced indoors.
Because LEDs can be tuned to produce light similar to natural daylight; there is less negative impact upon circadian rhythms as experienced by occupants. This is of prime importance for occupants during winter months, or for those spending a great deal of time indoors. Light quality is key for keeping an occupant’s “body clock” in check; thus, it is architectural lighting design that can positively impact interconnected occupant moods.
I am optimistic that fluorescent lighting is fading out. As the LED light bulb continues to be refined, it is my hope that architecture will take one giant step toward healthier and more efficient designs for occupants. Advancements involving architectural lighting design are important for the evolution of the architectural industry – such technological and design improvements ultimately contribute to architecture that is better tuned and more humane.
(1) A Brilliant New Approach. Economist.com. Science & Technology. Cambridge, England. March 19, 2009.
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