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Connected Lighting Systems: Tunable White Lighting

Connected Lighting Systems (CLS) bring many feature options to commercial buildings. One of these is tunable white lighting.

There is strong evidence that light plays an important role in our wellbeing because the color of daylight affects our mood and alertness. Measured in units called the Correlated Color Temperature, or CCT, a “warmer” white such as at sunrise or sunset has a CCT value of 2700-3200K. Daylight is considered a “cool” white with a CCT value of 5200-6000K. It is constantly changing throughout the day and is a cue for our body clock to follow suit. Studies show that the cooler CCTs in the middle of the day keeps us alert and aware, improving our productivity. Warmer CCTs at night create a sense of comfort and relaxation and this helps us unwind and get ready for sleep.

With proper design and programming CLS allows us to mimic these changes in the indoor environment. Using LED products with color tuning and appropriate controls, the lighting can be set up and programmed to dynamically replicate these changes. This can improve the overall mood and wellbeing of those using the room, possibly contributing to increased productivity.

Our color temperature changing technology, SpectraSync™, implemented in luminaires such as the Columbia LCAT LED troffer, allows the facility manager or end-user to adjust the CCT of the room to best suit their needs at the time, ranging from a warm, relaxing 2700K, up to a cool, energizing 5000K or 6500K (fixture dependent).

Hubbell’s Dim to Warm technology, featured in downlight luminaires such as the Prescolite LF6, mimics an incandescent source’s tendency to shift towards a warmer CCT as the fixture dims to a lower lighting level, creating a more relaxing atmosphere as the lighting levels decrease.

The third technology we’ve implemented is our Scheduled White, which can mimic the CCT of the daylight entering the room, or follow a preset schedule for the day, adjusting the CCT of the luminaries in the room along the range of 2700K through 5000K or 6500K (fixture dependent). Using the same Tunable White luminaires, the control system, such as our NX series, adjusts the CCT of the fixtures based on the control strategy desired by the customer.

Occupants can also be empowered with all or partial control of the intensity and color of the lighting to make changes that best suit their needs. A smart home or building automation system, properly set up, can make those changes on demand by the push of a button. The Michael Best Law Firm developed its facility with just such abilities and believe that it contributes to employee productivity and mood.

Tunable White Lighting is just one of the many benefits that a Connected Lighting System enables. Next, we’ll dive into how today’s CLS luminaires can eliminate the need for line voltage power runs for lighting fixtures.



Prem Kumar

Technical Marketing Manager

Prem Kumar is actively involved with the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and is currently the Past President of the Toronto Section. An Electrical Engineer by education, Prem has been Lighting Certified (LC) since 2007.


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