The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.
This month, we explore a circadian-friendly lighting controls design at an observation unit in a healthcare facility. Lighting control design by Stantec. Photography by Jeffrey Totaroc. Lighting controls by nLight, an Acuity Brands company.
During a 48- hour maximum stay at a new 10,370-sq.ft. observation unit in a windowless area of a children’s hospital, patients and families might not receive daylight, leading to circadian misalignment. This may cause poor sleep, mood, and appetite. Conversely, proper circadian alignment is linked to accelerated recuperation time and increased overall wellbeing.
The goal was to provide quality care in a windowless unit without sacrificing patient and family health or comfort, while simplifying practitioner and patient lighting control. Another goal was to educate families on the lighting system and its health benefits. Cutting edge lighting design was implemented to support these goals while conserving energy. The resulting LPD is 0.84W/sq.ft.: 20% better than the mandated 2018 IECC. The project was delivered within budget utilizing few luminaire variations for simplified maintenance.
Biophilic design was incorporated by providing “natural light” in the windowless hallways and exam rooms through daylight- mimicking luminaires on a 24/7 circadian schedule. In exam rooms, patients can “open or close the blinds” by turning the circadian “clerestory window” luminaires on or off. Overhead lights can also be controlled by patients through three dimmable scenes providing optimal color temperatures and intensities for the morning, daytime, and evening. Staff can override the overhead lights with practitioner exam switches that provide two dimmable hospital standard lighting scenes.
Through circadian stimulus-based lighting set points, intensities, and color temperatures verified by spectrometer measurements, patients and families can maximize ideal serotonin and melatonin production while in the unit. The result is a comforting space that provides the healing benefits of “natural light” in a windowless, controlled environment, that also educates families on the relationship between lighting and health. If future research indicates different lighting requirements for optimal circadian health, all controls can be re- programmed to accommodate any
color temperature or intensity.
Three adjacent exam rooms compare the three patient settings with circadian clerestory luminaries on. Settings from right to left: Morning, Daytime, and Evening.
Luminaires in the hallway are set to a 24/7 circadian lighting schedule. Overrides are located at the nurse station and can override the circadian schedule.
Sign above the patient-controlled scene selection in the exam room educates families on the relationship between lighting and health.
Dimmable practitioner “Exam” switch overrides the patient-controlled overhead lights to the hospital’s standard setting for examination lighting: 100% intensity and 3500K color temperature.
The circadian “clerestory window” luminaire illuminates the room to mimic natural daylight according to an astronomical timeclock.
The “Morning” setting is programmed with high light levels and a color temperature of 5500K to energize patients and encourage serotonin production.
The “Daytime” setting is programmed with moderate light levels and a color temperature of 4000K to relax patients, decrease serotonin production, and begin melatonin production.
The “Evening” setting is programmed with low light levels and a color temperature of 2700K to halt serotonin and maximize melatonin production to promote sleep.
Exam room with crib, set to “Morning” setting with circadian “clerestory window” luminaire on.
Exam room with crib, with circadian “clerestory window” luminaire only on.