Visual Comfort in the Built Environment

We’ve all been victim to bad lighting before. Lighting can trigger headaches, affect energy levels and make it difficult to complete tasks.

While the basic function of light is to help us see, lighting can also have a huge impact on human health. Various levels of light are needed to see and perform basic activities. Proper lighting can enhance visual acuity and optimize human performance and health.

It’s important for building designers to keep work functions in mind when making decisions about lighting. If light levels are too low, employees are more likely to make errors. On the other hand, too much light may cause decreased employee productivity and health effects such as headaches.

One way to optimize office areas to support human health and promote a healthy circadian rhythm is to match indoor lighting to outdoor lighting. Circadian rhythm is our body’s biological clock that keeps us energized throughout the day and sleeping well at night. To maintain this roughly 24-hour cycle, light levels should be higher during the day and gradually reduced – incorporating softer yellow and orange tones – as the sunsets in the evening.

Learn more about visual comfort and how lighting can impact health in the indoor environment in this video presentation by Jie Zhao, Ph.D., Director of Delos Labs. Dr. Zhao is a researcher at the Well Living Lab and delivered this presentation on “Why Lighting is More Than Comfort” during Mayo Clinic’s Transform 2016.