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What is Color Temperature? How important is it?

What is Color Temperature? How important is it?

By Vanessa Peng

Lighting color temperature can impact your perspective of a space, your mood, and even your productivity and alertness. Adjusting the color temperature of the lighting throughout your commercial or industrial facility will lead to a more successful operation and happier employees. 

What is color temperature?

Color temperature, or Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), is a way to describe the warmness or coolness of a light source. The color appearance let’s us know the look and feel of the light produced. 

How is color temperature measured?

Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The Kelvin color temperature scale ranges from a warm light to cool white. Warm environments are at a lower color temperature, while daylight type conditions are at a higher color temperature. Mid-range color temperatures have a more warm white or neutral white appearance. 

 This is what the different color temperatures look like:

  • 1,900K – Candlelight
  • 2,500K – 2,800K – Sunrise/Sunset
  • 4,800K – 5,000K – Direct Sunlight
  • 6,000K – Overcast Sky
  • 8000K-12000K – Blue Sky

How important is color temperature?

Color temperature can make a huge impact in how your employees operate and can mean the difference between a productive workforce or employees who struggle to keep up.

The right color temperature can support the wellbeing of workers by mimicking daylight patterns, thus regulating circadian rhythms or it can encourage better collaboration during team meetings. Making color temperature a priority in your building is a great way to improve the mood and ambiance of rooms or environments.

Adjusting color temperatures can be extremely beneficial in hundreds of industries, including distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, and plants.

What color temperature should I use?

Deciding what color temperature to use in a space depends on what your goals are for the area. Are you looking to create an environment for your employees to be more alert and productive? Are you hoping to support collaboration during meetings? Do you want to boost the wellbeing of your workers?

Office Lighting

For office spaces you want to choose lighting that is within the 3,500K-4,000K. You want clean white colors in the office to discourage sleepiness and encourage alertness. If the light is too bright it may cause irritability and affect your employees’ circadian rhythms. In conference rooms you will want to go with a warm inviting light in the 2,800K-3,000K range.

Commercial and Industrial Lighting

In commercial and industrial settings you want a vibrant, crisp white light, in the 5,000K range. Industrial settings can tolerate whiter light. The white light color temperature will also help your workers be more productive and precise.

Here are some lighting tips to keep in mind:

Very Warm white (2,300K-2,800K)

A warmer color temperature creates an inviting, cozy type environment. This color temperature range is ideal for hospitality or restaurant spaces.

Warm white – Neutral white (3,000K-4,000K)

This is the range for office spaces since it is bright, but not too bright. It helps employees stay focused and awake.

Cool, crisp white (5,000K)

Cool white lighting is perfect for industrial spaces, manufacturing facilities, plants, and warehouses. These types of spaces do not do well with warm light. The 5,000K color temperature encourages productivity and focus, especially with detailed tasks.

Need help in getting your facility’s lights to the right color temperature?

The lighting experts at U.S. Energy Recovery want to help you have a productive and happy workforce! We would love to learn more about your facility and get the lighting design that fulfills your goals for your rooms and environments. Call us at (800) 834-8737 or check us out online: usenergyrecovery.com.