Office workers 'want bright light they can control'

Initial findings of research by Zumtobel and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering have shown that office workers like bright light sources they can control, with variable colour temperature output.

The first respondents to the long-term global study on perceived lighting quality perceived in offices indicated a preference for light fixtures with direct and indirect components and illuminance greater than 800 lx.

Direct/indirect lighting is preferred by 82.5 per cent of respondents, and about 60 per cent said they liked lighting that was much brighter than mandatory levels of about 500 lx specified in standards or regulations.

Respondents of all ages, genders and nationalities said they prefer to work under light with a colour temperature between 3000 and 6000K, with the 4000 to 5000K range being most popular.

Zumtobel stresses the need to give users control of the intensity and colour temperature of their light. Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed have little or no control of their local lighting.

The company also points out another preliminary finding of the study – a third of the workers questioned said they use artificial lighting as much in the summer as they do in the winter, about seven hours a day.

Zumtobel says that LED lighting and controls can satisfy most of the demands of office workers.

Since November last year, 2,643 people from Europe, Asia, Australia and the US have been taking part in the long-term study, which is expected to finish at the end of the year. The aim is to let many different users assess perceived and expected light quality in different office situations and feed the findings into product development.

Photo: Richard Bryant