The power of light to change your world for good
Light Notes banner

Apples or Mars Bars? – It depends what you value

I’ve been on the road a lot these past few weeks – and the one thing that comes up time and again is the cost of going above and beyond the standard specification. ‘The competitors will come in cheaper’ is the constant refrain.

Of course, the cost per calorie or per lumen, a better-quality lighting solution will cost more up-front than the bare legal minimum – if only the cost of time to work out what the end-users need and how they will use and maintain it. The brightness you need for non-visual effects including sleep and mood are energy-hungry and delivering those calories with visual comfort and delight looks like a waste – on paper at least.

So how can you justify extra effort, cash and electricity on this basic facility when time and money are tight?

This week we’ll look at the business case in three sectors I’m currently working in to see how the

cost-value equation shifts when you take the money from a different pot.


Can a lightbulb cut the cost of falls?

No – of course not – it’s just a lightbulb!

But as part of an integrated approach to delivering bright days, calm evenings and dark nights for residents in long-term care, the right light at the right time can help everyone – including the remarkable care teams to stay steady on their feet.

And that’s without the toll of pain and distress for all. 

And yet simply investing in lighting solutions that support a healthy day-night cycle can cut falls by up to 43% – Impact of Upgraded Lighting on Falls in Care Home Resident

If a care provider can reduce falls, even by a fraction of the Harvard result, the extra effort and cost upfront start to look like great value.

I’ll be speaking about the business case for lighting with a focus on the benefits for staff at the Care Managers’ show on Friday 30th of June in Birmingham.

It’s free and a great opportunity for lighting professionals to meet managers from the sector to talk about how lighting can help them to thrive- Please join me there!


Most hybrid working patterns involve getting into the office in the middle of the week – but do you really want to?

No amount of fancy controls will transform a toxic culture, but investing in lighting but on the ‘how you do one thing is how you do everything’ principle, taking a look at the lighting just might make the commute a more attractive proposition…

You could say these effects are ‘all in the mind’ – although there is growing evidence for benefits to sleep, mood and productivity too, particularly for neurodiverse employees – the BSI PAS 1948 – Workplace Diversity, Equality and Inclusion standard is an essential read.

Given the average cost to recruit a manager in the UK works out at £19,000 and many companies are struggling to tempt their employees back after COVID, lighting that gives your team a reason to smile could be a good investment after all. 


An apple for the teacher

The kids have just a few weeks left. But many teachers are wondering if they want to come back to the classroom next year too – an estimated one in four currently plan to quit in the next five years.  Why Teachers Quit + Top Signs Quitting Teaching Is The Right Move

  1. School buildings affect student grades – estimated 3-10% of academic achievement – Problems in Research School Building Conditions and Student Achievement
  2. Improved facility conditions can reduce the number of disciplinary incidents for students with disabilities – SCHOOL BUILDING CONDITIONS’ INFLUENCE ON STUDENT BEHAVIOR IN A MEDIUM-SIZED DIVISION IN VIRGINIA , while for children with specific sensitivities such as those with ADHD, air and lighting qualities predict a 9.7% variance in the severity of hyperactivity – Home Indoor Environmental Quality and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  3. For teachers, self-efficacy (including control over the conditions in their classroom) –  Impact of Teacher Self-Efficacy on Secondary School Students’ Academic Achievement – and perceived quality of the teaching environment understandably affects their intention to stay – Classrooms’ indoor environmental conditions affecting the academic achievement of students and teachers in higher education: A systematic literature review,  Predictors of study success from a teacher’s perspective of the quality of the built environment

Even if student attainment is hard to measure – and factors outside school make up at least 60% of the difference  – given the average cost of recruiting a teacher (up to £11,000 – Schools paying out up to £11,000 in ‘exorbitant finder’s fees’ to agencies to recruit teachers), investing in lights that help them to feel valued and get on with their job so they’re ready to come back again next term could be a no-brainer.

I’m looking forward to Education Estates this year with a special focus on SEND students – hope to see you there!

Trees and natural navigation
On sparkling form? thank your biophotons!

I’m a huge fan of Tristan Gooley ( and looking forward to joining one of his walks in the Autumn to learn how you can read subtle shifts in the shape and colour of leaves to identify the direction, prevailing wind et al. In the meantime, I came across these articles that suggest that trees – and your brain – are using ‘biophotons’ to communicate with each other – pulses of light energy generated through a process of recombination of oxygen radicals (an unstable form of oxygen) – similar to bioluminescence. The papers are not big peer-reviewed journals, and the one from Verstraete et al dives into quantum photonics and biology – but worth a read with a strong coffee. According to the Gaia Campus piece, you might even be able to see your brain firing on all cylinders!

Get in touch!