Imagine being able to get over that 3 o’clock slump when you’re at the office by merely making subtle shifts to your lighting. Color tuning is a concept that is growing in popularity in more and more industries, including, office spaces, schools and hospitals. A color tuning lighting system can help with employees’ alertness, productivity, and health.
What is color tuning? What is a tunable light?
Color tuning is the technique of changing light intensity and the correlated color temperature (CCT) of your lighting system to mimic daytime and nighttime light progressions. In LED lighting, correlated color temperature defines the spectrum of white being provided by the LED, from warm to cool, and is measured in degrees Kelvin. Tunable light, Tunable White, Warm Dim, and Human-Centric Lighting are other industry terms you may have heard in the past that relate to color tuning. It is not a new concept, but with the rapid development of LEDs and lighting control systems, this lighting method has become more cost effective for businesses.
What are the benefits of color tuning?
Light controls your mind more than you may think. Your brain receives signals from light to tell your body when it’s daytime or nighttime, which controls the amount of melatonin released in your body. Melatonin regulates how sleepy or alert you are. Now that many of us are indoors all day with little or no access to windows, our bodies cannot react to changes in sunlight properly. A color tuned system can be set to mimic regular natural light patterns – starting out more warm in the morning, then more white during the day, before it gradually becomes more warm again at the end of the day.
What color should I set my LED lights?
Color tuning can be extremely beneficial in hundreds of industries, including offices, schools, healthcare facilities, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers. Here are some examples of how color tuning can enhance and improve an environment:
In a factory or plant:
- Set lighting to a white color to support focus, alertness, and productivity.
- Support the wellbeing of workers and increase employee morale by mimicking daylight patterns to regulate circadian rhythms.
- Maximize collaboration by adjusting your lights to a warmer color temperature during team building exercises or discussions.
- An added bonus? LED lights create safer working conditions for your employees.
At the office:
- Lighting can be set to whiter colors to optimize concentration and productivity.
- Give employees more options and increase their satisfaction with the job by letting them set the light color and intensity to their individual preferences.
- Use the same space for different activities by varying the light between areas.
- Lighting can be adjusted to warmer temperatures to enhance cooperation during team meetings or discussions.
In the classroom:
- Encourage concentration and focus by setting the lighting to whiter colors.
- Support collaboration and team building with warmer colors.
- During one-on-ones with students, teachers can set the color temperature and intensity to the child’s preference so the session is more productive.
In healthcare spaces:
- Enhance patient sleep and support recovery and wellbeing by adjusting the light throughout the day to mimic daylight patterns.
- Make patients have a more comfortable and satisfactory hospital stay by giving them the opportunity to control and adjust the lighting to their needs.
- Increase productivity of hospital staff by adjusting the light to white colors.
Perhaps one of the more interesting examples of how effective color tuning lighting systems can be, is their use in Las Vegas. Color tuning has been used there as a way of keeping people up all night so they will continue to gamble, eat, drink, and spend money shopping.
Another great feature of color tuning is that it uses lighting controls that can be customized to provide scheduling, occupancy sensing, and daylighting benefits, which can save a facility even more energy dollars.
What is color temperature?
Color temperature is a way of describing the warmness or coolness of a light source. It is measured in degrees Kelvin(K), with temperatures ranging from 1,000K to 10,000K. Lower temperatures are more warm and orange, while cooler temperatures are more blue. 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+ – Blue Sky
How do you control LED color temperature?
LED color temperature is controlled manually within the lighting fixture. Usually this is controlled by a wireless control system or there is a dip switch on a fixture that allows you to choose your preferred color temperature setting. This technology allows installers to customize color temperatures for your facility. For example, the installation crew could set the fixtures in your office to 3,500K, while out in the warehouse the lights are set to 5,000K.
You can also control lighting through a smart lighting system, which allows you to turn your lights off and on and adjust color temperature and brightness remotely. Most utility providers offer increased incentive amounts when installing advanced wireless controls.
Does dimming lights change color temperature?
Yes, it can when used with specific color tuning LED fixtures. You can simply adjust the correlated color temperature (CCT) through a slider control with a dimmable light switch or control it via a smartphone app. Keep in mind, this only works with LEDs, not older, outdated lighting technology.
Will color tuning work in your facility?
Our lighting and controls division at U.S. Energy Recovery can help with putting together a color tuning LED package for your office, warehouse, or production facility. The first step would be to schedule a virtual meeting where we will discuss your specific needs and goals.