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What is Integrative Lighting?

Integrative lighting is human-centered lighting. Integrative lighting takes into account the visual, emotional and biological effects of light. The color spectrum of the light changes throughout the day, just like natural daylight. This adaptation to natural daylight increases the sense of well-being and has an effect on the synchronization of the natural human biorhythm. Human Centric Lighting supports human health and performance.

We were allowed to interview Dr. Oliver Stefani on the subject of integrative lighting. Dr. Stefani is an international renowned expert on the subject of light and integrative lighting. He conducted research on this for years at the Fraunhofer Institute and wrote his dissertation on it. Wikipedia refers for the topic integrative lighting in the literature to Dr. Oliver Stefani.

What is integrative lighting?

Integrative lighting is "human-centered lighting." It is a sensitive support tool with great impact on how we feel and behave.

How does integrative lighting work?

Most often, integrative lighting is understood as the changeability of the color temperature and thus the blue components in the course of the day. This is often realized using two LEDs with different color temperature, which are mixed in different proportions depending on the time of day. White-appearing light that is enriched with blue portions of the spectrum can be suppress melatonin, increase awakeness, and improve work performance, and thus has strong potential to reduce the Risk of performance deficits to reduce. Cool activating light during the day and warm calming light toward evening create the atmosphere we would want for a productive and enjoyable daily routine would desire.

How does light affect humans?

The positive effect of light against depression has been known since the 1980s. Renowned scientists agree that light can work better for depression than a drug.
Essentially, light has three overriding meanings for humans: enabling sight, the emotional effect, and the non-visual effect. The latter two were underestimated in their effect on us for a long time. Light not only has an effect on us, but it also controls us and can be arranged in such a way that it supports our sensations and our daily routine.
With the right light, performance can be improved. As a result, less effort is required to achieve the same cognitive performance. Under certain conditions, light can improve both physical as well as mental performance can be improved.

What scientific studies are there on integrative lighting?

 There are only a few studies on integrative lighting. One of them is by us. Most of the other studies only addressed partial aspects from  which one can derive the "ideal light". Our HCL study was published in the prestigious "Journal of Pineal Research" in early 2021. We investigated whether HCL over a 16-hour day affects sleepiness, cognitive performance, visual comfort, melatonin secretion, and sleep under controlled  laboratory conditions.

What are the most interesting findings in the integrative lighting study?

 Conventional static lighting attenuated the evening rise in melatonin levels more than integrative lighting. Melatonin should not be  suppressed for health reasons. After the subjects were exposed to Integrative Lighting, the time to fall asleep was significantly shorter. The study showed that with Integrative Lighting, the changes in light spectrum and light intensity promote melatonin secretion and sleep initiation.

What does this mean for room lighting?

It is important to use the right light at the right time. During the day we should signal our inner clock with bright light and more short-wave (blue) spectral components via the eye to signal that it is daytime. The light from incandescent lamps is spectrally similar to fire; it has very few shortwave (blue) components and, unlike the light from fluorescent tubes, a continuous spectrum. For these reasons, the light of the incandescent lamp would actually be particularly well suited as evening light.

Why have luminaires with integrative lighting only been around for a few years?

There are two reasons for this: First, the new lighting technologies LED and OLED make it much easier to change light colors than with conventional light sources. On the other hand, the knowledge of the effect of light on humans has changed and expanded considerably.

For which living and working areas do you recommend integrative lighting luminaires and for what reason?

I recommend integrative lighting fixtures for flexible living areas where we both work and rest, and for areas we use both early in the morning and late at night. Light is a very powerful means against circadian misalignment and drowsiness.

When does integrative lighting have a particularly positive effect on well-being and productivity?

The more artificial the environment, the more important  the right light is for our well-being and productivity. This means that you should pay special attention to the right light in rooms with little daylight. The Institute for Work and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IAG) recommends. For lighting during flexible working hours: "Wherever possible, daylight at the workplace is preferable to any artificial lighting." We are particularly sensitive to light in the morning and in the evening, which means that rooms used at this time of day should be particularly well lit.

Why do you think luminaires with integrative lighting are the future?

As with healthy nutrition, healthy environmental factors will increasingly become part of people's awareness. Light plays a central role in this. It depends on when and how much flour and sugar you use and what you make of it. It is the same with light. It depends on having the right light at the right time. Human-centered lighting, or Integrative Lighting, is based on the natural needs of people. It has been scientifically proven that this has a positive influence on people.

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Interview with Dr. Oliver Stefani, International Lighting Researcher and integrative lighting Expert