Creative Director, Light.IQ; co-CEO, Rigby & Rigby
Nearly half of all men and almost one-third of women in the UK still live with their parents into their early thirties in a precarious job market in the hope of saving to buy: the cost of housing has risen by over 175% – and their average salary by just 19%.
And at least half of us work from home for at least part of the week by choice or by necessity. Over half Americans log in to the office from a bedroom or a communal space. This isn’t new – kids have always done their homework on their laps – or in their bedrooms if they’re lucky enough to have one of their own.
The problem is that our homes are neither bright enough to give us the ‘wake up’ signal we need – or dark enough to allow us to switch off.
Bright days –
The new EN-12464-1 standard for lighting may be a good place to start for the corner of the spare room that you call ‘office’ – and the desk where the kids do their homework too. After all, the average parent spends £1,600 per year on after school activities – you might as well give them enough light to do their homework too.
Bright light during the day – daylight boosted by bright cool light – not a one size fits all ‘on the desk’, but a combination of wall, ceiling and horizontal surface, recognising that the reflectance or the ‘shininess’ of those surfaces will make a huge difference to how bright the space feels.
Dim evenings –
It’s just as important to change the lights into the evening. 50% of our homes stop at least half of us getting a good nights’ sleep. The high blue content – or ‘biological potency’ of most LED’s are a big part of the problem – they’re like caffeine for the brain. This brilliant overview explains how- and why it matters.
Dark nights –
This matters for your energy bills too. Simply switching off when there’s nobody there or dimming or switching off altogether when there’s enough light coming in from the window – can cut your bill by up to 80%. An estimated 35% – or $3 billion of artificial lighting is wasted by being poorly aimed or unshielded’ at night.
Investing in better lighting could improve the value of your asset too – 10% of potential home owners said they would pay more for ‘smart’ homes – that includes lighting of course. And Iain Johnson of award-winning property developers Allect International credits his work with Rebecca Johnson of Allect international with helping him achieve record prices and a 68% client retention rate – and no expensive and time-consuming returns.
Most of us are not about to call in a designer, let alone and rewire our homes.
This large survey by LEDWholesale gives some interesting clues about who is shopping for lights and how: 73% were men between 35 and 44 years old. They buy a single lightbulb to replace the one that’s broken. Warm white for social spaces. Cool white for the bathroom and kitchen. Three-quarters said they know exactly what they want and not interested in advice on what to buy. That’s it.
And yet, a new generation of ‘retrofit’ lighting solutions are coming to market that deliver the quality of lighting that you and the people you love deserve. Link them to a smart switching system and they can save money, cut light pollution and be a selling point too.
They are more expensive than the ‘bog standard’ solution.
But, to quote an old marketing slogan – you know you’re worth it.