As human beings, we have evolved for millennia with a single source of daylight: the Sun. On many occasions we are forced to spend much of our time indoors with little input of natural light and this change in lifestyle means that we spend less time exposed to natural light.
Lighting, therefore, is a fundamental element in our environment, since it not only influences visual perception, but also plays a crucial role in regulating our biological clock and, therefore, in our health and well-being.
In critical environments such as control rooms, where there are also 24/7 work shifts, or in Alarm Reception Centers, where it is also exacerbated by the fact of not being able to have windows to the outside, technical solutions are necessary. to this need. Thanks to the LED technology of the luminaires, combined with advanced control systems that integrate circadian cycle control clocks, it is possible to implement dynamic lighting in this type of environment that changes the color temperature depending on the time of day, simulating sunlight in its entire cycle.
It is becoming increasingly important for the ergonomics of operating stations to consider dynamic lighting and, therefore, the selection of the appropriate luminaires, as well as the control systems that allow optimizing the work environment, is a fundamental aspect.
Understanding circadian cycles
The circadian cycle, commonly known as the “biological clock,” is a physiological rhythm that follows an approximately 24-hour cycle. This cycle is influenced by light and darkness and regulates a series of biological functions, such as body temperature, hormone release, cognitive performance, and sleep-wake regulation. The perception of light at different times of the day directly affects our circadian cycle.
The importance of understanding and respecting this cycle is fundamental in the lighting of control rooms, since the alteration of natural rhythms can have a negative impact on the health and performance of workers in these facilities.
The circadian cycle plays a critical role in our health and when we are exposed to inappropriate light patterns, especially in places where we spend a significant amount of time our health can be affected. The negative effects of inappropriate lighting include sleep disruption, fatigue, stress and disruption of hormonal balance.
Hormones such as cortisol and melatonin are influenced by the circadian cycle; Exposure to intense light during the day promotes the release of cortisol, which keeps us alert and energetic, and at night the decrease in light triggers the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. In a critical environment, where concentration and precise decision making are crucial, maintaining optimal hormonal balance is essential.
The importance of dynamic lighting in control centers
Control rooms are hubs of activity where professionals face critical tasks and decisions that require constant attention and a high degree of precision. Lighting in these areas is not just a matter of visual ergonomics, but has a direct impact on efficiency and safety.
Improved Concentration and Productivity: Dynamic lighting can adapt to the changing needs of the control room ensuring the light is optimal to maintain high levels of concentration and productivity during long working hours.
Fatigue Reduction: Adequate lighting can minimize eye strain and drowsiness, which is especially important in situations where constant alertness is required.
Increased Safety: In critical situations, accurate decision making is essential. Dynamic lighting can help operators perceive details better and react more quickly and accurately.
Selection of suitable luminaires
Selecting suitable luminaires in control rooms is a crucial process and as not all luminaires are created equal, choosing the right ones is essential to achieving effective dynamic lighting. At GESAB we study, among others, the following parameters:
Adjustable Luminaires: We will opt for luminaires that allow intensity and color temperature adjustments, facilitating the adaptation of lighting to the changing needs of the control room and the circadian cycle. Light levels of 500 lux must be guaranteed on the work plane, although it is advisable to start from higher design levels (around 600 lux) to guarantee that despite the degradation of the LED over time it does not negatively impact the minimum levels. demanded.
LED Technology: LED luminaires are energy efficient and offer precise control over light. Furthermore, its long useful life reduces the impact of maintenance work on the Control Center.
At GESAB we are demanding with quality levels, which is why we work with luminaires with at least 70,000 hours with the L80B10 index at a temperature of 25ºC, for which the manufacturer guarantees that after these hours, 80% of the luminaires will not have lost any more. of 10% luminous flux capacity.
Light Distribution: The design must consider the distribution of light to guarantee uniform lighting throughout the control room, avoiding glare and shadows through specialized computer simulation programs.
Color Quality: Color reproduction is important in control rooms, where critical decisions can be made based on visual indicators. This is why luminaires must have a minimum CRI of 80.
Dynamic LED plate: Luminaires with dynamic regulation have LED plates with two, three or even four types of LEDs, ranging from 2700ºK to 6500ºK. By combining its activation with different intensities, the desired color is achieved. To regulate by circadian cycle, it is recommended that the plates have at least three types of color temperatures (usually 2700ºK, 4000ºK and 6500ºK).
To achieve effective dynamic lighting in control rooms, it is essential to implement advanced control systems that allow color temperature to be adjusted according to the circadian cycle. In addition, they must include automatic management of parameters such as Intensity Control, Zoning, Natural Light Compensation Control and Automated Programming.
DALI lighting control
DALI is a bidirectional open protocol; an internationally adopted digital language for lighting control. Interoperability, flexibility and standardization are the cornerstones of DALI-based lighting controls. Currently, its DALI2 version is widely available, which allows integrating control elements, such as sensors, under the addressing.
It is important that the luminaires have DALI DT8 drivers for communication with the control system. The DT8 drivers are capable of receiving messages in the DALI protocol that include the intensity values of each type of LED according to their color temperature. On the contrary, DT6 DALI drivers require the use of one communication channel for each type of LED, so at least three addresses are consumed for each luminaire.
The use of DALI luminaires with DT8 drivers allows the control systems to be optimized both in terms of the number of loops required to be wired and the control modules required.
Dynamic lighting plays a vital role in optimizing the ambiance of control rooms. Understanding the circadian cycle, selecting appropriate luminaires, and implementing advanced control systems are essential elements to ensure efficiency and safety in these critical environments. GESAB’s close collaboration with the main manufacturers of luminaires and specialized control systems can provide tailored solutions that adapt to the specific needs of each control room.