With global environmental consciousness rising, sustainable design has become a prominent feature in healthcare facilities worldwide. The design of facilities such as hospitals, clean rooms, and laboratories has been brought into focus even more now that a global health emergency has been declared due to the coronavirus outbreak, further emphasizing the importance of designing with sustainability in mind. Given how lighting makes for almost 50% of healthcare institutions’ energy use, it becomes clear that implementing eco-friendly lighting is crucial when it comes to sustainable healthcare design.
Energy-efficient lighting as a part of human-centric design
With the LED lighting industry expanding, the accent is being placed on designing products that focus on people rather than on building functions. This human-centric approach to design involves focusing on lighting properties that help improve patient experience while offering both visual and non-visual benefits. For instance, smart building systems combined with energy-efficient LED lighting allow the patients to adjust room lighting to fit their needs and preferences depending on the time of the day or the tasks at hand. Another way these smart features can benefit patients is through circadian activation, which is a non-visual benefit of human-centric lighting design and a good example of product performance being optimized for people.
Brighter lighting makes for more a welcoming environment
Incorporating LED lighting into healthcare design can also change the way the potential patients and visitors perceive these facilities. Oftentimes, hospital rooms will be poorly-lit, equipped with gloomy lighting fixtures that make those places seem dark and unappealing and thus worsening patient’s mood. Something as simple as replacing old lighting fixtures with energy-saving LED fixtures can enhance the space and create a more welcoming environment, which can help relieve patients’ anxiousness while at the same time improving the appearance of the facility. Given their versatility, LEDs can be applied not only in waiting rooms and patients’ rooms but practically anywhere in the building where optimal illumination is essential. Finally, the option to control color temperature and brightness of LED lighting fixtures makes these energy-efficient add-ons a must-have for every modern healthcare organization.
Quality lighting ensures greater comfort and fewer errors
With advancements in the field of lighting technology, it is becoming clearer that lighting has an immense impact on the way we function on a daily basis. Numerous studies have been conducted with the aim of establishing a correlation between lighting and human’s well-being. According to research, insufficient or dull lighting has been associated with headaches, fatigue, higher levels of stress, and even depression, while brighter lighting (such as LEDs) has been found to promote positivity while also reducing drowsiness and having an energizing effect. Other than ensuring greater comfort, quality lighting can also lower the number of errors and ensure optimal performance in facilities such as clean rooms where precision is key. How well the professionals are able to perform their work largely depends on the level of illumination, so installing efficient clean room lighting that meets rigorous requirements of such facilities should be one of the top priorities when designing a clean room lighting system.
Energy-efficient lighting and cost savings
The round-the-clock nature of medical facilities as well as the constant need to meet the demands of facility staff and patients has made it quite challenging for these healthcare institutions to control their energy usage. The complexity of their lighting demands has them consuming twice as much energy to run compared to other commercial buildings, and, according to some estimates, they are responsible for almost 40 million tons of GHG annual emissions. Swapping out old and inefficient lighting fixtures for their modern, eco-friendly versions is a significant step healthcare facilities can take to help reduce their monthly energy bills and also lower their impact on the environment. Given how LED light bulbs can last up to 20 years, upgrading to energy-efficient lighting systems will also translate to lower maintenance costs. On the plus side, there are also tax credits and rebate programs that incentivize investing in energy efficiency, which is something that healthcare facilities can take advantage of as well.
Proper exterior lighting for safer healthcare facilities
We already mentioned how important it is for the interiors of healthcare facilities to be equipped with proper lighting. That’s not to say that exterior lighting can’t benefit from some energy-efficient upgrades as well. In fact, proper exterior lighting can make a significant difference when it comes to the safety and efficiency of healthcare facilities. Properly illuminated paths and parking lots can provide guidance and help patients and emergency vehicles find the entrance more easily, which is extremely important in crucial moments when seconds matter and time is of the essence. Furthermore, equipping the parking structures with energy-saving lighting fixtures can also make healthcare facilities much safer for everyone from staff to visitors to patients.
Healthcare institutions require an array of lighting solutions to fit a wide range of purposes and enable them to provide services 24-7. Because of that, they call for lighting solutions that will reduce their energy use without affecting the quality of healthcare services.
Coming up with sustainable lighting design is an essential step healthcare facilities can take to help enhance their energy efficiency and ensure greater comfort and welcoming environment for patients, staff, and visitors, and it represents a practical solution for making healthcare facilities more sustainable, more environmentally-friendly, and more effective overall.