Lighting may be one of the most important, yet overlooked, details when it comes to design and construction. We often joke about the inclusion of “four cans and a fan” passing for lighting design, which is a sad commentary on how little attention is placed on lighting in many projects.
Lighting literally changes the way we view our surroundings as our eyes are simply capturing reflected light. Poor lighting is commonly understood to create aesthetic and safety issues, but we are learning more about how lighting can effect our health and wellness, specifically the color of that lighting.
Let’s start with the basics, particularly what we mean when we talk about the color of light. The color that a “white” light bulb, or lamp, outputs is described as its color temperature, and typically measured in degrees of Kelvin (K). Typically lamps for lighting interior spaces range from 2700K to over 5000K. The lower the K, the closer to red the light will be, the higher the K the closer to blue. The light at sunrise is roughly 3200K, where noontime daylight is considered to be 5600K. When you purchase a typical LED lamp it is one color, such as 2700K, and cannot be changed.
Tunable light introduces the ability to set a light to any color you desire. This isn’t a new technology, but the way it is now being applied is simply revolutionary. Ketra, an Austin based startup, has created a concept known as Natural Light. In short, they are mimicking the light you would experience outdoors, indoors. As we spend more time indoors, particularly in front of screens, our circadian rhythms are interrupted, resulting in poor sleep and a lack of energy. Natural Light allows our bodies to receive the stimulus they need to maintain proper health and rest.
How does it work?
Ketra lights automatically adjusts color temperature throughout the day, providing the ideal light at all times. In the morning a cool light promotes wakefulness, and that light grows whiter as the day progresses. As evening approaches the light begins to grow warmer, just as the sky does at sunset. This change in light temperature automatically instructs our bodies to begin producing melatonin, the natural hormone that instructs our bodies to sleep.
In an office setting this approach to lighting can help optimize productivity. Employees report having more energy, and feeling better able to get work accomplished. In large spaces where many employees don’t have much natural light, Ketra allows every employee the benefits of daylight.
At home the cool morning light helps to wake the family up more fully, while the warm light in the evening has a soothing, calming effect. When it is time to sleep the body has produced melatonin, and is ready for rest.
Time for Fun
A cool benefit to Ketra tunable lighting is that it is fully controllable RGB light, meaning it can display just about any color you can think of. This allows the ability to create moods for parties, events, or just because. Imagine the ability to personalize your space with the touch of a button instead of days of painting the walls.
Tunable and circadian rhythm lighting will eventually be the standard, it is simply too valuable not to employ. We wouldn’t build a new home without provisions for air-filters or UV blocking glass. Being able to replicate natural light inside of our homes will be just as ubiquitous one day.
If you aren’t willing to wait for that day in the future, give us a call. As one of only two Ketra dealers in Dallas, we would love to introduce you to this life-changing technology today.