+ Light for
value of light
LEDsmagazine.com MARCH 2017 39
regulations | HUMAN-CENTRIC LIGHTING
Look at the strategic 10-year roadmap for the European lighting industry, and the thing that stands out the most is the
drive toward human-centric lighting (HCL) —
the designing and tuning of LED light’s biological, visual, and emotional effects to foster
human health, wellbeing, and performance.
As charted by Brussels-based industry association LightingEurope, HCL will
emerge as the top business force in a few
years’ time, and will continue to gain prominence after that (Fig. 1).
Human-centric lighting represents a big
part of a necessary sea change in the lighting
industry business model, and one that could
help ensure a future for the 1000+ companies, 100,000+ jobs, and € 20 billion of yearly
revenue of LightingEurope member companies, including 33 manufacturers. Everyone
knows that the century-old business model of
selling replacement incandescent bulbs is falling apart now that LED lamps have become
commonplace and are expected to last for a
decade or three. In its place, says LightingEurope, bring on the HCL.
The general idea is that lights will adjust
their on/off, brightness, colors, and color tem-
peratures to levels that optimize any partic-
ular setting. A schoolroom, hospital ward, or
open-plan office might emphasize blue hues
during the morning to stimulate alertness;
reds and oranges might take over in appro-
priate settings in the evening for a calming
effect. Brightness levels might increase in a
public place when more visually-challenged
senior citizens than better-sighted teenagers
are present. And so on.
As LEDs Magazine explored in a two-part
series last summer and fall, HCL systems are
already taking hold in hospitals and health-
care settings ( http://bit.ly/2cL4Fnn), and
will slowly work their way into the work-
place ( http://bit.ly/2iEsGPI).
The benefits are potentially profound to
people, business, and society: faster healing
in hospitals; better educated and engaged
kids; a more productive workforce; health-
ier, happier human beings (hence why you’ll
also see us refer to it as lighting for health
So you might think that LightingEurope,
which operates out of Europe’s capital in
large measure as a lobbying group to help
shape lighting industry policy and regula-
tions, is pushing hard and fast to mandate
the adoption of HCL systems.
Not exactly. Lighting Europe is angling to get
regulators there alright. But it is taking a prag-
matic approach, one regulatory step at a time.
With much of the science behind HCL still
evolving and in need of further proof and
case studies, the industry group is instead
focusing on establishing regulations to
implement the foundation technologies that
could eventually support HCL.
Consider, for a moment, that HCL aside, the
industry is for other reasons already counting
European lighting regulations
could help usher in
European regulators may have a play in delivering the Holy Grail of lighting for health and wellbeing.
A simple directive or two mandating Internet connections may be all that it takes for now.
MARK HALPER looks at the industry’s 2017 EU regulatory priorities.
MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for
LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and
business journalist ( email@example.com).
FIG. 1. LightingEurope hopes that all regulatory routes, like its roadmap, lead to