Human Centric Home Lighting

Lighting at the Housing fair in Finland 2016

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The annual Housing Fair in Seinäjoki 2016 is the 47th event of its kind. 98% of Finland’s adult population know the event. Lighting designer Ilkka Pekanheimo has evaluated the lighting of the houses at the Housing fair in Seinäjoki. This link  will tell you more about the idea of housing fairs.

It’s amazing that even though we spend two-thirds of our time living under artificial lighting, we’re not paying attention to the consequences of this light for our body and mind. While people are concerned about organic food, pure water and clean air, the element by which our very life came into existence – light – is often forgotten. Today I recommend full spectrum daylight (5500 K) in the morning and at daytime and warm light (2700 K) late in the evening.

At the Housing Fair 2016, there were near all houses, where all lighting was done by using LED lamps. This leads to a new problem in lighting: shiny surfaces reflect the LED strips. Hence, one should choose the type of surface before lighting with LED strips. Do not choose black shiny surface for the kitchen if you use LED strips. If you choose shiny surfaces, then go for indirect lighting.

One problem at the fair was blending lights, unfortunately found in almost all of the houses. The colours of the interior were corrupted by the lighting in almost all of the houses.

There is no 100 % correct opinion on the lighting. I hope that this evaluation would create discussion and would contribute to making the lighting quality better in homes in Finland and in the whole world.

In my Finnish blog you can see over 200 lighting pictures from the fair.

If you are planning your home lighting, please contact ilkka.pekanheimo@gmail.com. You will get a lot of free lighting tips and even the whole lighting plan for you home at a reasonable price. I have helped in planning with the home lighting this year for one home in Holland and, of course, many in Finland. No matter, if you live in Australia, Africa, Iceland or in the USA.

Indirect lighting is often the best way to light a home. Choose 5500 K daylight or even better, human centric lighting, where you can adjust the colour of the light from 2700 K to 6500 K. Alternatively LED panel, LED plafond, LED strip. 2700 K warm light only in the evenings and daylight in the mornings and at daytime.

There is a LED strip (5500 K) at the front rand of the kitchen cabinet. It is directed to the back wall by the aluminium bar in the 45 degrees angle. You can see very well on the counter, no glare, no reflecting light. House 29.

Excellent stairway lighting with indirect LED strip 5500 K. House 29.

In the both corners of living room there is mast fixture. Dimmable daylight LED strips underneath opal plastic 60 %, thickness 3 mm. Suitable for 4-5 m high rooms. Fixed with aluminium profile, 25 mm with springs. You do not need any fixtures on the ceiling.

Indirect lighting. Daylight LED strip, 5500 K, on WT-4 (from NMC sa, Belgium) light shelf. This lighting is sufficient for the entire room. Even better is the LED strip, where you can change the light colour from 2700 to 6500 K.

The spot lights are an easy solution, but not very elegant. The lamps are very blinding, when you look into them. The colours of the interior decoration will be corrupted because of the bad quality of the light. Too yellow, maybe 2700 K. It should be 5500 K, in my opinion.

Avoid these upwards directed fixtures on the floor. They cause a very bad blinding, when you walk near the fixture or when the children crawl on the floor. They have no lighting meaning, maybe they light only the birds, which are flying over. This is a useless fixture.

A daylight LED lamp in an outdoor fixture should show the colours of nature as they are. In this luminaire the lamp is too yellow. Also in the winter the snow would appear yellow in this lighting. If you have dogs around the house, it does not matter. A better alternative for bollard fixture is indirect lighting: put the LED strip at the top of the white wall and a small moulding on it so that you will not see the strip, only the reflecting light. This luminaire in the picture is wasting light, it is ”polluted” light, the light directs towards the sky. A useless luminaire.

The correct installing place of the LED strip is in front of the cabinet and it should be directed to the back wall. Unlike here, where the light is not good for the children’s or short people’s eyes. You should not see the light at the long distance of the kitchen to the room. It has no use.

A good way to light a bathroom. The 3 mm opal plastic should be about 60 % transparent and you can light it with dimmable daylight LED strip or with LED strip where you change the light colour from 2700 to 6500 K. You can also use LED tube.

Indirect light is a beautiful way to light a room. I prefer pure white, 5500 K daylight or even better, light, where you can change the light colour from 2700 to 6500 K. The light in the picture is too yellow. You do not need the small lamps on the ceiling. They create a restless atmosphere. This is only my opinion. Of course, you can have those, if you like.

This is good lighting, while there is natural daylight. In the evenings you’ll need candles on the table.

Try out a 5500 K, 8 – 12 W daylight lamp in this fixture. One of the best E-27 lamp is Viva-Lite. The luminaire turns pure white and the colours in the room appear correct. You can also see better in the room. The colours of the painting are excellent and true through a daylight lamp.

Try out 5500 K, 8 – 12 W daylight lamps in these fixtures. The luminaire shines pure white and the colours in the room look true. In addition, vision is better in this room. The indirect lighting is OK, but  the down light lamps are not. (This is only my opinion. Of course, you can have down light lamps, if you like.)

An indirect lighting near timber is an excellent way to light a room. Even better, if you use 5500 K pure white light or LED strip, where you can change the colour temperature e.g. from 2700 to 5500 K. The colour of the wood would appear original. The LED down light spot lights are unnecessary, and they are causing a restless atmosphere. This is only my opinion. After all, it is entirely up to you, of course.

The fireplace lighting is excellent. House 12.

Fluorescent lamps are outdated today, they contain mercury and are hazardous waste. Use LED tubes (preferably 5000 – 5500 K) or LED strip (5500 K) instead.

LED panels, 600 x 600 mm, are good lighting ways. The small down light LEDs  are obsolete, but you can use them, if you like. Electricians of course are recommending these, because they would make more money with them.

This fixture is too blending in stairways, elder people can even stumble when seeing this lamp.

Indirect lighting would be here much better here. This is a restless ambience. (Again, this is only my taste. Of course, you can have those small lamps, if you like.)

LED  panels are OK here. Choose panels, where you can change the colour temperature from 2700 to  6500 K. This is human centric lighting with health effects. On the right there are two 2 m long LED  strip in an aluminium bar. It’s a very good wall lighting.

LED light ceiling with LED strip and LED strip as direct lighting. Plastic panel 60 %, 3 mm. Good way to lighting.

Indirect lighting. Flood lamps are unnecessary. Rather use LED strips, where you can change the light colour from e.g. 2700 to 6500 K. 2700 warm light only late in the evening, daylight (5500 K) in the morning and at during daytime.

Indirect lighting is good, best with LED strips, the colour temperature of which you can change from 2700 – 6500 K. Flood lighting is not a good idea, the lamps are quite unnecessary above the bed. That being said, you can still have those, if you like.

Nice indirect LED lighting in sauna. No more lamps are needed. If you use 36 W LED strip with 5500 K light, the colour of wood appears original and not yellow, as normally with warm light.

Avoid these flood lamps. They are too bright and make the atmosphere in the room restless. Albeit, it is a matter of taste, so use them, if you like.

Do not use fixtures with black shades. The lamp may be too bright, at least for the poor eye sighted. White shade would give much more light. I recommend pure white light.

Bad fixture for paintings. It lights only the upper part of the painting. You should light with LED strips in a 45 degree aluminium bar. The length would be the same as the painting. The distance from the wall depends on the paintings height, distance e.g. 20-30 cm. Here the light colour is warm, which distorts the colours of the painting. Always use 5500 K daylight with high CRI.

Indirect lighting would be much better than these flood lights. And also cheaper. This is only my opinion. Of course, you can have those, if you like them, though.

Nice window. However, the black lamps in the middle are not. Rather use indirect lighting.

In the photo shelf on the left there is an excellent lighting idea. The shelves are in 1-2 cm distance from the wall. LED strip is on the back side of shelf and is directed to the wall. See next picture. The colour of the light should be daylight (5500 K), only then you can see also the colours correctly.

The distance of one LED strip from the wall is 1-2 cm. This way of lighting does not glare.

A surprise. A picture of a horse in the sauna. Obviously,  the family likes horses.

Better way of lighting would be dimmable indirect lighting. You should paint the air condition opening the same colour as the ceiling. White colour is not a good idea here.

The nice walls in the sauna are made of dead pine tree. The small LED lamps do not fit in the atmosphere of this sauna. Better use only indirect lighting. You should paint the air condition opening the same colours as the ceiling – white is not appropriate.

This wall light (LED) is too bright, when you look at it from the upper floor.

You should direct the LED strip light towards the back wall and not to the shiny working surface.

Nice light ceiling with a picture.

Indirect lighting is also best lighting outdoors. However, if you use these fixtures, you should use daylight lamps (5500 K) that do not make the wall colour seem yellow. At night (in darkness) you can see the yellow colour much better, which it is not good.

Lighting by RGB is, in my opinion, an unnecessary trick. There are no studies to show, how the continuously changing colour affects people’s well-being. The effect is not undoubtedly positive. The eyes will strain, when they continuously must adapt to a new colour world. Also the colour of the interior decoration changes all the time. I prefer daylight (5500 K).

Indirect lighting would be much better here than the flood lights, which cause a restless atmosphere.

I think that this is not a fixture because there comes only a little bit of light. I call this interior decoration element. Indirect lighting would be good in this space.

Nice indirect lighting. The flood lamps are not necessary here. They make the mood restless.

Last but not least: You might wonder, why I do not recommend down lights, at least the small 50 mm ones. Here are my reasons:

  • You have to drill  holes in and thus spoil the beautiful ceiling. The ceiling is much nicer without holes and lighted with indirect lighting, which is also cheaper.
  • How long can you look at the down light lamp, when you have not dimmed it? Is this pleasant?  I don’t think so, and after 15-30 seconds you must turn your eyes away from the bright light. It may also be dangerous for the eyes of small children. It is very unpleasant to visually impaired people.
  • When you have looked at the spot light for 30 seconds and turn your head towards a white ceiling or wall, do you see a black picture of the spot? And when you start to read a book, I think that it is difficult to read because your eyes do not see accurately.
  • This kind of lighting is very uneven. If you, for example, have glass tables or surfaces or of other shiny material, you’ll see the reflecting light.
  • You can look at indirect lighting as long as you like and it is pleasant.
  • I do not agree with the official terms ”warm white 3000 K” and  ”neutral white 4000 K”, because both are yellow and you cannot see their white colour and when it reflects from the white paper, the paper looks more yellow than white. This is also like cheating people.
  • However, if you like down light, please light with those. In lighting there are many opinions and no one them is better than the other.

Why do I recommend pure white light, 5500 K, instead of warm light 2700-4000 K? 

  • The colours look real under daylight, both outdoors and indoors.
  • You can see better at daylight.
  • You can read faster at daylight.
  • Your eyes will not be as tired at daylight as at warm light.
  • Do not believe, until you have tried.
  • Only in the evening, I recommend warm light.
  • The impact of light on our well-being has made us more aware of the different lighting solutions. By changing the intensity and colour temperature of light we can influence our mental alertness and comfort.  Here is a good example.  Ask me, where you can buy those to a reasonable price.
  • Non-visual effects of light depend critically on the intensity, the duration and the spectral composition of the light. Also the prior light exposure and the timing of the exposure determine the kind and size of the non-visual effects that can be achieved.

    • It is important to take the blue wavelengths from computers and iPads in the evenings. Download F.Lux here and improve your life. Very important for the Children. See this Youtube-video.   
    • Ask the question what is the best lighting in the toilet at night. The light should not influence the melatonin production. So best light is tiny and yellow or orange.
    • I bought the DVD The City Dark. Did you know? There is also some information about the health effects of the light and some information about outdoor lighting. It is very interesting.  Here you can order the DVD.

Light is a drug

That’s what scientists are gradually realising, as research on how light affects the body and mind advances. In my article from 1995, The effects of natural light to our welfare, I already wrote: Light is not only a tool for seeing, as many still believe. It can be also a food, vitamin or medicine – or a poison.

By influencing our sleep-wake cycles, the right kind of light can have a profound effect on our mood, productivity and health, making us work more effectively, recover more quickly from illness, and feel better.

But how do you harness this in the real world? I will help you to understand

  • the latest research on how light influences the body
  • how to apply this knowledge in practice
  • how light is being used to improve outcomes in care homes, schools and workplaces.
  • the latest products that harness the non-visual effects of light

If you are planning your home lighting, please contact ilkka.pekanheimo@gmail.com. You will get a lot of free lighting tips and even the whole lighting plan for your home to a reasonable price. I have helped in planning with the home lighting this year for one home in Holland and of course many in Finland. No matter, if you live in Australia, Africa, Iceland or in the USA.