Implications for Human-centric Lighting Design in Tropical Nursing homes: A Pilot Study
Light is so critical as air, water, and food to our daily life. Conventionally, the light on vision plays a major role in lighting industry. In the last two decades, much has been learned regarding the non-visual effects of light on human circadian entrainment. Light synchronizes our physiological and psychological rhythms to the 24-hour rhythm of the ambient changes. Furthermore, light consists of alerting and activating effects, impacts on mood, and melatonin levels in humans. For the elderly people, adequate environment to compensate for increasing frailty and sensory loss are crucial. Normal age-related changes to the eye decrease the amount of light reaching the retina impacting both vision and circadian rhythm. Some attempts have been made recently to conduct white-tunable lighting and vary lighting levels and CCT/spectrum for health and wellness. However, how to translate such Human-centric Lighting (HCL) concepts proven in laboratory studies into built environments are still in early stage and lack of largely proven practices and strategies on an operational level. Specifically, the necessary requirements for the development and effectiveness of HCL design strategies and actions in nursing homes have not been formulated in a rigorous and reliable manner. The design consultants are faced with the complex issues of the elderly using a variety of space types and balancing the circadian needs with long-term vision, body health and emotions. This pilot study aimed to explore HCL design strategies in nursing homes in Singapore. Firstly, state of the art HCL and aging studies were discussed. We then captured the views to illustrate a HCL framework in a tropical context, whereby the quantitative and qualitative approaches were considered. The preliminary design strategies were developed based on this framework and exemplified in a selected nursing home in Singapore. Also, pre-/post implementation user surveys together with quantitative evaluations (involving horizontal and corneal illuminance measurements) were conducted for assessing the performance of the HCL design strategies. These pilot study findings provide initial insight into HCL design-related knowledge and serve as the solid basis towards the HCL best practices in the environment of nursing home in Singapore.