A1 Energy

Human-Centric Lighting: Focused on Occupant Wellness

03.01.17 02:21 PM By Jon
hospital human-centric lighting system

The impact of LED lighting goes beyond aesthetics and sustainability—it is also being used to promote better mental, physical, and behavioral health via its effects on circadian rhythm. It’s a fascinating industry trend that we are following closely at A1 Energy.

What Is Circadian Rhythm—And What Effect Does Light Have On It?

Physically and mentally, we respond to the light-to-dark daily cycle known as circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm is that internal biological clock that tells our bodies when to be alert (during the day) and when to sleep (at night, when it’s dark). This natural cycle helps keep us healthy—physically and mentally. When the cycle is interrupted, it can have adverse effects.

As an example, consider SAD (seasonal affective disorder). According to information on the Mental Health America website, SAD (commonly referred to as the “winter blues”) is a subtype of depression that afflicts people around the same time every year—when the seasons change and we have shorter periods of daylight and longer periods of dark within our days.

Unfortunately, our circadian system isn’t compromised only in the fall and winter months. Due to man-made lighting—including the glow of smart phones, e-readers, tablets, and computers—our bodies and minds get mixed signals year-round. Our days and nights blur together, affecting our ability to get the restful sleep so necessary for optimal health. Research has shown that this disruption in the circadian system has links to depression, mood disturbances, obesity, cancer, diabetes, diminished mental and physical performance, decreased productivity, and other issues.

Supporting Circadian Rhythm With Lighting

While man-made lighting can wreak havoc on our circadian system, fortunately, promising efforts exist to use color-tunable or human-centric lighting to support it instead.

In fact, A1 Energy was recently involved in a project that explored the potential of color-changing LEDs; we assisted in a pilot study of circadian rhythm lighting’s affects on dementia patients. Westminster Village, a community of Presbyterian Senior Living in Allentown, PA, installed human-centric lighting at Westminster’s Neighborhood of Hope, where 23 memory care patients reside. The lighting system changes color and intensity depending on the time of day, simulating the natural patterns of sunlight.


In the May 8, 2017 article Getting With The Program In Memory Care by Cheryl Slavinsky on the Senior Living News website, the executive director at Westminster Village and residents’ family members shared that the lighting has enabled residents who were previously unable to sleep through the night to finally get a full night’s rest. Also, the residents seem more calm and optimistic. And in some cases, residents’ medications could be decreased.


Not only did Westminster Village notice a positive change in its residents, its staff members have experienced changes, as well, according to the article. They’ve said that they feel more energetic and less tired after a day’s work.


“A1 Energy was proud to offer this new technology to one of our clients as the first of four national pilot studies,” said Mike Porreca, project manager at A1 Energy.


The Light At The End Of The Tunnel—A Brighter Future

As more color-tunable human-centric lighting products enter the market and are applied to support our circadian rhythm, imagine the impact. Workspaces and homes that promote better health, harmony, and productivity.

“We’re excited to be on the leading edge of the exploration into the benefits of color-tunable lighting,” shared Porreca. “As a company, we realize the potential impact this new technology may have on end users in many different settings.”


For more information about lighting options to support circadian rhythm, contact A1 Energy today.