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arc Jun/Jul 2019 – Issue 110

The green, green grass of home (or the office) is becoming ever more important in lighting design…

A recent study has revealed that a two-hour dose of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports using data from a Natural England survey, is based on interviews with 20,000 people in England about their activity in the previous week. Of those who spent little or no time in nature, a quarter reported poor health and almost half said they were not satisfied with their life, a standard measure of wellbeing. In contrast, just one-seventh of those who spent at least two hours in nature said their health was poor, while a third were not satisfied with their life.

The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in parks, forests or the beach are well known but for many of us living in urban areas, this is not a possibility – certainly during the working week. 

So how can we, as the lighting industry, help?

As Karolina Zielinska states in her article on page 49, Biophilic Design: A Trend Watch, millions of people spend more than 90 percent of their day in enclosed spaces and typically work a five-day, 40-hour week. It’s of utmost importance to create harmonious and sustainable interior spaces to support human biology and respect plant life.

Biophilic design creates healthier spaces that support wellbeing, boost creativity, increase productivity and reduce staff absence. Adding green areas to the built environment also reduces indoor air pollution. Of course, we know that daylight is the best form of illumination for humans and plants alike. But when daylight in indoor spaces is not possible, then artificial illumination is vital. However, there is very little research and no established standards regarding this important topic. So much so that it is often left to individual lighting design practices to do their own research for individual projects (something that Julia Hartmann at lightsphere explains on page 57).

Obviously, this is not an ideal situation so we shall be tackling this subject at [d]arc room in London in September (www.darcroom.com) with a discussion dedicated to the importance and requirements of biophilic lighting. Details and registration options will be published shortly so keep an eye out for further announcements.

Paul James
Editor
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