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Human Centric Lighting: Exploiting opportunities or waiting passively? - HBC.2018.0018


  1. KU Leuven (Department of Electrical Engineering/ESAT) - Light & Lighting Laboratory
  2. Howest - Applied Health Sciences

The shift to Human Centric Lighting (HCL)

LED lighting and new sensors make it possible to dynamically change the spectrum (and intensity) of the emitted light. In addition, recent scientific literature shows that light can have an influence (both positive and negative) on people's general well-being. Nowadays these influences are becoming better understood, even though many falsehoods are still proclaimed. For (Flemish) companies, it is an opportunity to incorporate these insights at an early stage. Through evidence-based innovations, new products and services can be developed that far exceed the added value of energy saving. Lighting affects visual, biological, emotional and social aspects of people’s life.  Organisations active in this theme need a) a good understanding of all effects of light on humans (visual as well as non-visual aspects) and b) demonstration cases in which the positive influences are shown to create confidence in the new technology. With this project we want to provide neutral information and encourage the development of effective and sustainable innovations. It is also the intention to broaden the lighting training from a solely visual based performance focus to a human-centered lighting (HCL) focus with attention to non-visual aspects of light and lighting. One of the most important non-visual systems regulated by light is the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). The master clock is for example synchronised via sufficient light during the day and the master clock controls on its turn different circadian processes such as the production of melatonin (a hormone crucial for our sleep-wake pattern). A weak or disturbed synchronisation can therefore have detrimental consequences for our well-being; including poor sleep quality and emotional, cognitive and somatic dysfunctions. Hence, the adjustment of light can optimize human well-being through synchronisation of the circadian system.

General purpose

By increasing knowledge we want to give the target group a solid basis to prescribe, implement and/or validate HCL. With well-founded demonstration cases we want to create broad support and confidence in the new technology. The broad target group in the current project are the suppliers and designers of lighting systems on the one hand (mainly SMEs and non-research intensive distributors) and customers of welfare support agencies on the other hand (companies and social profit organisations). We want to reach 60 prevention advisers or professional end users, 70 manufacturers, installers and distributors of lighting applications, 20 engineering offices for building technology, 30 hospitals and 75 residential and nursing homes and 10 mutual health insurance companies. We anticipate that half of the targeted companies (i.e. 125 companies) will effectively implement the results (within 2 years).

Concrete goals

  • In consultation with the user group, 4 demonstration cases will be investigated: 3 cases will be investigated in real situations (in situ) and 1 case will be investigated in a controlled laboratory condition to get a better insight in different aspects of HCL (e.g. sleep quality, concentration, …)
  • Simple design tools are provided - there are guidelines for 3 applications.
  • Each year, two educational seminars will be organised with the aim to translate the international available scientific evidence to the target group. Desired range: 4 times with at least 25 participants.
  • Closing study day with conclusions of the demonstration cases and dissemination guidelines. Desired range: 150 persons.
  • At an accessible level we also want to give input on this theme at 6 information sessions of other organizations. We also want to publish 5 articles and columns in journals for the target group and participate in training programs organised by third parties.
  • Within the educational program of the 2 actors in this Tetra project (Howest and KU Leuven) there will be a lecture and practicum for the students. In addition, students will also be involved in the set up of the demonstration cases and there will be at least 4 master thesis subjects about HCL.

Expected results and consequences

There are opportunities for prescribers to provide a broader service and to differentiate themselves with a unique selling point from others. HCL requires specific knowledge and specialisation that goes beyond the product knowledge of lighting equipment. Through HCL applications it is estimated that the revenue will increase by 20% within 5 years and that there will be a growth in the recruitment of higher educated employees. For the lighting manufacturers the same reasoning applies in the field of lighting design but there are additional opportunities in developing and offering new control strategies for these applications. Developmental paths (e.g. R&D) will be necessary but must of course lead to a better, more specialised service and correspondingly better market position and revenue growth. First, for professional end users (e.g. offices), the economic impact is mainly on the profits made with employees. Better concentration and alertness can for example lead to 1% efficiency gains and productivity increases. In addition, the influence on general well-being on the longer term (including the sleep-wake pattern) can directly or indirectly reduce the prevalence of absenteeism and presentism within organisations. Second, patients (especially seniors) in hospitals or WSC with a better sleep-wake rhythm consume fewer sleeping tablets and have a better emotional and cognitive well-being. As a consequence HCL can lead to a reduction in the amount of required interventions and can therefore contribute to potential cost savings. Third, HCL leads to better working conditions for carers, especially in shift systems. HCL is the provision of services (depending on application, times, environment, task, ...) rather than the provision of light equipment. Therefore HCL is typically suitable for new business models that promote light as a service

Date:1 Dec 2018 →  30 Nov 2020
Keywords:human centric Lighting, Light and lighting, well-being
Disciplines:Sensors, biosensors and smart sensors, Other electrical and electronic engineering, Modelling, Multimedia processing