The Benefits of Tunable White Light (Infographic)

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Did you know that the type of lighting can instantly change the mood of a room or space? Believe it or not, the ideal lighting for an office or classroom is much different for a retail store.

The capability to control your lighting can make a significant impact on the atmosphere and mood of your building. Tunable white light provides the ability to alter the lighting based on the situation or time of day.

Compared to outdated fluorescent lights, LED lighting is a visually pleasing, cost-effective choice that boosts the sustainability of a building or facility. When used in conjunction with lighting controls, LEDs provide an easy way to increase energy savings.

But that’s not all. Thanks to one relatively recent innovation, LEDs with a certain added element are being used to enhance the experience — and even improve the mood — of occupants and shoppers. That element? Color, or more accurately, color temperature.

The Influence of Color Temperature

The color temperature depicts how “warm” (orange/yellow) or “cool” (blue) our eyes perceive the white light to be. This color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K) and is known as correlated color temperature or CCT. An LED lamp on the low end of the Kelvin spectrum mimics the color of candlelight or early morning sunlight (reddish-orange). One in the middle looks yellow to yellow-white. A lamp on the high end looks blue.

How Can Tunable White Light Help?

Taking CCT LED technology a giant step forward, tunable white light lets you change, or “tune,” the color temperature of a lamp or luminaire for the task at hand, the time of day, or the mood you wish to set. Using a hand-held remote or a lighting control panel, you can “dial-in” the color temperature you desire, within the range offered by the installed lamps. Even CCT fluorescents don’t allow this flexibility.

CCT LEDs play an outsized role in retail settings, making stores and display areas more inviting, and showcasing products in their best “light.” For example, a red apple can look distasteful under high-Kelvin light, while the same light can make seafood appear off-the-boat fresh. Chicken and beef hold the greatest visual appeal under a light in the middle color temperature range. Tunable white lights come in handy for retailers who often reset displays or sections of their store.

Blue Light

Office workers may be most productive under high-Kelvin, bluish light, but tunable white lights give them the power to customize their environment, which makes for happier employees. Students will be more awake and focused under blue light, but tunable white light allows teachers to adjust the CCT to create environments more conducive to collaborating or calming down.

The bluest light suppresses the production of melatonin (a hormone that signals it is time to sleep) and promotes the release of cortisol (a hormone that gives the body energy to respond to stress or danger). Orange light promotes the release of hormones (including melatonin) that help us relax and fall asleep. In classrooms, high-Kelvin blue light, especially in the morning, can not only help students feel awake but also help them sleep better at night by “setting” the body clock.

Warm Light

Warmer light can also create a more intimate mood, perfect for evening dining at a restaurant, for example. In a hospital, transitioning to warmer light in the evening could potentially help patients get to sleep at bedtime. That’s because a light’s CCT has a significant effect on the body’s circadian rhythm.

See the infographic below to learn more.


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