Office lighting has historically been an afterthought. Fluorescent light fixtures were mounted flush with acoustic ceiling tiles, green-shaded banker’s lamps were stationed on desks, and a few accent lamps were scattered in conference rooms to lend to a professional atmosphere. Office designers have now broken away from these historical patterns to incorporate advanced LED lighting and other illumination into modern office designs that are also shedding the boxed or cubicle feel of the office of old. The illumination systems of the offices of the future will include considerations of eco-friendliness and energy efficiency, and will have controls that allow office workers to adjust the temperature and color rendering index of lighting to match changing circumstances during each workday.
LED lights are the preferred choice for modern office lighting systems. Many modern office designs feature large open workspaces that extend into the interiors of buildings, requiring more lighting to achieve full and appropriate illumination for all employees. LED systems consume, on average, up to 50% less energy per illumination unit than standard incandescent or fluorescent lights. Higher initial installation and equipment costs that may be incurred with LED lights are typically recovered within eighteen months to two years after installation solely from reduced energy costs.
LED lights are also versatile and adaptable to a variety of office needs. A full color tunable LED light system can provide illumination that is very close to natural lighting during a regular work day. Blue wavelength light has been shown to aid in alertness. An LED system’s color rendering index can be adjusted throughout the day, for example, to generate larger amounts of blue wavelength light in the morning and early afternoon, when employee energy levels may be on the wane. LED lighting can also be tuned to make a modern office more attractive for receptions and other evening events after regular business hours.