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HCL - Human Centric Lighting

Posted February 23, 2016 by Marketing


HCL, or Human Centric Lighting, was all the industry buzz in 2015. Study after study indicated that the lighting around us affects both our mood and health.  We were told not to look at our smart phones too late at night, as the blue light emitted prevents melatonin from being released. Some even theorized that fire, and the warmer color tones of light that emit from it, helped us evolve in a way that made our sleep more efficient and our brains more capable. It has become clear that light not only touches everything that we perceive, it also transforms our experience.

The basics behind the science are that cooler color temperatures closer to blue cause us to be excited, awake, and alert. The reason theorized reason for this is that the sun emits more of these cooler color temperatures, and therefore, we have evolved to respond to them. Contrastingly, warmer color temperatures, closer to amber and red, much like those found in a fire, cause our brains to release melatonin causing us to relax and prepare us for sleep.

These natural responses to light have always been part of our interaction with the world around us, but they are becoming more exaggerated with the advent of LED lighting.  The reason for this is that the vast majority of LED lighting is created with blue led diodes that are color corrected with phosphors. As more and more sources are switched out with LED sources, the amount of blue light that we are all subject to has steadily increased.

The next step in lighting design is taking these principles and adding them to our design criteria. Ideally we should use cooler color temperatures in the morning as a natural way to assist in our body’s waking.  At night, when we want to start winding down, we should use warmer sources of light and minimize the amount of light in the blue spectrum that we encounter. 

Luckily, the next progression of lighting technology is here to help, and the products are finally affordable enough for mainstream adoption.  Sylvania recently released the “Lightify” line of products that makes controlling the color temperature of lighting possible.   All one needs to do is replace their lamps with “Lightify” replacements, and plug a controller device into any regular outlet.  Then, from a computer or phone, you can control the brightness and color temperature of up to 50 lights. Furthermore, this system integrates with logical protocols such as Zigbee and IFTTT, so that scenes can be programmed for different times and events.  If you want your lights to slowly fade from cool to warm as the day progresses, to mimic the natural progression that your body expects, Sylvania has you covered.

Control of lighting is the next step in increased health and wellbeing. Instead of a cup of coffee to wake us up and a pill to help us sleep, we can now use lighting to facilitate a more comfortable life.  In the coming weeks we invite you to join us as we look in depth at the “Lightify” line of products and see exactly how powerful and customizable they are.

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