Combining natural daylight and artificial lighting in office lighting designs

November 14th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Vector

Office lighting must be flexible, save energy, be controllable and must also make the most of daylight.

This is because improved workplace lighting, in terms of both natural daylight and artificial light, has been linked to a 15% reduction in absenteeism in office environments. Related studies have reported productivity increases from 2,8 to 20%, attributable to optimum lighting levels.

Fig. 1: Pendant lights were incorporated in the collaboration areas.

Fig. 2: Improved workplace lighting has been linked to a 15% reduction in absenteeism in offices.

An example of the importance of lighting was Trend Group’s installation for Oracle South Africa’s new headquarters in Woodmead Office Park in Johannesburg. Here, the client had strict lux requirements for the different areas. These ranged from operational (white light) to ambient conditions (natural lights) in the collaborative spaces and other private and breakaway areas. The lighting installation is also future-proofed in that it has been integrated into the building management system (BMS).

Trend Group conducted a lux calculation in conjunction with consulting engineers RWP Taemane for each floor to ensure that all client requirements were adhered to. Pendants were also incorporated, especially in the collaboration areas, to serve the dual purpose of lighting and providing acoustic properties. All the lighting is LED for maximum energy-efficiency. This includes feature lighting in the form of LED strip lighting.

The lighting intent was to supplement any shortfall from natural lighting. There is a lot of glazing on the building, which admits ample natural light and it was therefore a matter of determining where this infiltrated to the required level.

Motion sensors control the lighting, switching on and off automatically whenever there are occupants in an area. Automatic blinds were installed on the ground floor, front-of-house, and restaurant areas, with manual blinds on the upper levels.

Trend Group technical designer Nicola Bridge says, “we basically designed the lighting intent, and then they took it onboard to make it compliant and energy-sufficient, and ensured it met all the local requirements and building standards.

Fig. 3: Studies have shown productivity increases of between 2,8 and 20% attributed to improved lighting.

Fig. 4: The client’s lux ranged from operational (white light) to ambient light requirements.

“It all links back to comfort, and ensuring people are comfortable within the workspace without suffering eye strain or being over-stimulated due to the lighting.”

In architecture, this is termed biophilic design, which incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views, and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. It has been reported to reduce employee stress levels, enhance creativity and innovation, and to improve general well-being.

Such trends are becoming increasingly relevant, especially considering that employees spend 90% of their time indoors. Biophilic design goes far beyond merely adding pot plants to the office environment, but requires architects and interior designers to incorporate natural elements wherever they can.

The impact on lighting in office space design has been an increased use of daylight in addition to the use of softer or accentuated lighting. This complements the latest trend of agile or shared workspaces, which have replaced the traditional windowless cubicles with fuorescent lighting.

Contact Gavin Dickinson, Trend Group, gavin@trendgroup.co.za

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