What Is Human-Centric Lighting and Why You Need It?

This is a quick guide on the basics of Human Centric Lighting, the benefits it brings and how businesses can implement it in their work space. 

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In an era where our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology, the need for a balance between modern environments and natural fundamental human needs has never been more essential. Enter the “Human-Centric Lighting,” a specialized approach to lighting that prioritizes our physical and psychological well-being.

Human Centric Lighting in a Office Lobby

In this article, we discuss the basics, and benefits of human-centric lighting and why you need it.

What Is Human-Centric Lighting?

Human-centric lighting is the practice of illuminating a space with light fixtures that mimic the pattern of natural light.

The human body craves natural light. After all, there are several benefits to sunlight. It nourishes the body with vitamin D, which helps calcium absorption. Natural light exposure also improves mood, helps regulate sleep, and generally improves a person’s health.

Human-centric lighting (HCL) aims to combat modern life’s reliance on artificial lighting. We are constantly surrounded by artificial light in our offices, houses, and restaurants.

Soft diffused lighting is designed to negate harsh glares, warm white light mimics natural light, and brightness control helps maintain a reasonable light intensity.

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The Science Behind Human-Centric Lighting

Human-centric lighting synchronizes with our circadian rhythms, promoting better sleep and energy levels, ultimately boosting productivity and overall well-being. Let’s take a quick look at the science behind human-centric lighting.

What Is a Circadian Rhythm?

A circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, refers to a person’s mental and physical changes in a 24-hour cycle. Our bodily functions react to light and dark environments, which helps us maintain our circadian rhythm.

A healthy circadian rhythm helps us maintain a good sleep cycle, helps us keep a regular diet schedule, and balances our energy levels.

Artificial light exposure disrupts our body’s natural clock and upsets our circadian cycle. Staying late at night, getting jet lagged, and being exposed to blue lighting in the evening leads to a disrupted circadian cycle. Which in turn leads to feelings of exhaustion, low energy, etc.

circadian cycle

What Is Correlated Color Temperature?

Correlated color temperature (CCT) is a quantitative means of measuring the appearance of light. White light can have a warm yellowish hue or a cool blue hue.

We can assign a CCT value to these hues, allowing us to measure and compare the light output of an artificial lighting solution. CCT is measured in kelvin and ranges from 1,000K to 10,000K.

With candlelight starting at 1000K, natural light coming in at ~5000K, and a clear blue sky at 10000K, Using CCT, we can scientifically evaluate and compare the output of an LED light bulb to natural sunlight.

Correlated Color Temperature

How Does Natural Light Improve Your Health?

Research has shown that a hefty amount of natural light significantly benefits our mental and physical health.

People tend to be more productive, happy, and healthy when exposed to sunlight regularly. This is likely due to our brains perceiving daylight as the time to be productive.

Sunlight gives you vitamin D, which promotes calcium intake, contributes to bone growth, and helps your body avoid diseases.

woman window sun sunlight

Natural light also simulates parts of our brain that make us happy. A happy mind improves sleep quality, and a good night’s rest will boost our health. Quality indoor lighting can imitate natural light for similar results. 

Benefits of Human-Centric Lighting

Human-centric lighting has several benefits that can be broken down into three main categories.

1. Improved Productivity

A good and healthy work environment naturally improves productivity. HCL simulates natural sunlight, causing your brain to relax and stay tension-free.

Working in a dimly lit or windowless room can strain eyes and significantly reduce morale. Good circadian lighting aims to use LED technology to its fullest extent and boost human performance.

2. Better Sleep

The human body naturally wants to stay awake during daytime and sleep after dark. If your body follows a normal circadian rhythm, you will go to bed on time and sleep a healthy 7-8 hours a day.

Of course, a good night’s rest will give you a long-lasting energy boost the next morning.

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3. Mood Lift

If you are well-rested, more productive, and in a relaxed environment, you are also likely to feel happy.

People experience feelings of sadness and loneliness and stay in a low-energy state during winter due to a lack of sunlight.

HCL provides circadian lighting even in winter seasons to uplift your mood. The improvements to one’s mood can’t be understated; it serves as the basis for a good and healthy life.

4. Reduced Eye Strain and Fatigue

Tailored lighting can reduce eye strain and visual discomfort, especially in offices, by adjusting light levels and color temperatures to suit the visual task at hand.

Artificial lighting also usually falls on the blue spectrum, and studies have shown that blue light can damage our physical and mental health.

Basics of Human-Centric Lighting

Now that we have a good understanding of human-centric lighting (HCL). We can move on to the basic steps involved in implementing HCL.

Human-Centric Lighting

Color Temperatures

HCL involves a variable approach to lighting design. Natural light has a neutral white hue after dawn, cool white light in the morning, then back to neutral white, and finally warm around sunset.

We can use adjustable LED lights to dynamically adjust the light source’s color temperature and match it to daylight. The great thing about LED lighting is that this process can all be automated using a smart lighting control system.

Brightness Levels

Just like color temperature, brightness levels also vary over the course of the day. Businesses should invest in large light fixtures that can produce decent brightness at a moment’s notice.

These large light fixtures can be paired with dimmers and adjusted accordingly.

outdoor lighting

Operating Time

Sunlight helps us maintain a healthy biological clock and tells our body when the day begins and when it ends. Contrarily, exposure to artificial light after sunset disturbs our biological clock and prevents us from falling asleep on time.

A well-thought-out HCL lighting solution considers all factors and plans its 24-hour lighting cycle accordingly.

Light Distribution

Another huge element of human-centric lighting is evenly distributed illumination. A high-brightness bulb in the center of a room provides inconsistent lighting. Leading to harsh glares, bright spots in the center, and dark shadows at the corners.

Light rays from the sun hit the earth at a near-parallel angle, resulting in an even distribution of light. Multiple small light fixtures can be installed in the ceiling to mimic this natural phenomenon for a more well-distributed illumination.

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RC Lighting offers a wide variety of products to meet your every need. 

LEDs: The Best Choice for Human-Centric Lighting

LEDs have become the go-to lighting solution for residential and industrial applications. With human-centric lighting, it is still the best lighting technology available.

Following is a short list of reasons that make LEDs an excellent choice for HCL.

LED Lighting in a Office Conference Room

1. Dimmable

LEDs offer far more versatility than simple brightness adjustment. The dimming function of LED lighting allows business owners to implement HCL in their workspace to cater to their specific needs and preferences.

Whether it’s creating a cozy ambiance for relaxation, boosting productivity with brighter illumination, or saving energy by reducing brightness when it’s not needed, dimmable LED lights provide unmatched versatility. Dimmable LED downlights are a typical example, which are adjusted to meet the needs of different scenes.

2. Color Range

The availability of a wide color range in LED lighting opens up a world of possibilities for personal expression and functionality. LED lights can be tuned to emit a spectrum of colors, from warm and inviting hues to cool and energizing tones.

This versatility allows business owners to set the mood for various activities, enhance aesthetics, and even improve visibility in specific work environments. Color-changing LED lights can also support circadian lighting, which aligns with our body’s natural rhythms, promoting better sleep and overall well-being.

color changing light

3. Energy Efficiency

LED lights consume a fraction of the electricity compared to traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, reducing energy bills and environmental impact. Since LEDs consume less heat to produce light, they also emit minimal heat, making them safer and more comfortable.

Additionally, the environmental benefits of using energy-efficient lighting are sure to have a positive impact on employee morale.

4. Sustainability

Sustainability in the workplace is a crucial element for the success of a business. LEDs not only reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions, but they also contribute to environmental sustainability by containing no hazardous materials like mercury, which are found in older lighting technologies.

LED bulbs’ long lifespan and exceptional durability mean fewer discarded bulbs, reducing landfill waste. LED lighting aligns perfectly with sustainability goals, promoting a greener planet while offering economic benefits and improved lighting quality for users.

sustainable led lighting


Human-centric lighting is a necessary part of our modern lives, where we get less and less sunlight. Working in an office building for eight straight hours will put a strain on workers. A good implementation of HCL will improve employee mental health, recalibrate their internal clocks, and create a more productive work environment.

The trick to setting up a good human-centric lighting solution is to consider the well-being of the people it affects. With a people-first approach, businesses will be able to create a space that encourages employees to work harder.

Bring Human Centric Lighting to Your Business With RC Lighting 

RC Lighting is the premier provider of LED lighting solutions. Our state-of-the-art LED fixtures are designed to bring the best out of your workspace. We are particularly proud of our rapid OEM services, where we bring your ideas to life in a matter of days.

At RC Lighting, we understand the impact good lighting has on the success of a business, and we are dedicated to delivering the best-in-class products with the best-in-class customer service. Contact Us Now!

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