Even though a dark, gloomy building is what most of us imagine when we think of a poorly-lit office, many employees actually suffer from over-lighting. Recent studies have shown that the standards of appropriate and necessary lighting have changed dramatically from when they were first set in the 1970s, particularly because of our new era of screen dependency. We’re no longer leaning over pages of type-written notes; instead, we’re looking at surfaces that are already back-lit.
Back in the 1970s, the recommended standard for office lighting was 1,000 lux (a measurements of surface illumination). In the last few years, this standard has been reevaluated, and the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) now recommends that offices have a 500 lux standard in the general office setting, and as low as 300 lux in offices where everyone is working on a computer at all times. Desk lamps are recommended to bring up the light level on occasions when reading or writing is necessary. And in areas like hallways or stairwells, 50 lux is more than adequate.
These new IES standards are important for offices to note and follow. Firstly, these lower levels help buildings conserve energy. Reducing light consumption is a huge part of maintaining a green office, and installing lower-lux, high-efficiency bulbs or even LEDs should be every building’s priority. Secondly, there is evidence that over-lit buildings negatively affect their occupants. Excessive lighting can cause headaches, fatigue, stress, and anxiety, or even interfere with workers’ natural circadian rhythms.
In addition to replacing fluorescent bulbs with more efficient ones, you can also install window film to help dim your office! Our Low-E films will prevent the glare and heat that can come in through your windows, reducing the temperature and ambient light without forcing anyone to pull the blinds and obscure the view. If you’re worried about the light levels in your office, get your levels tested! And if they’re too high, maybe you should consider installing window film!