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Biodynamic light for industry

Challenges and opportunities

Biodynamic light for industry
Biodynamic light for industry
Biodynamic light for industry

Villingen-Schwenningen, March 2018: An interview with Gerhard Waldmann, the owner & CEO of
Herbert Waldmann GmbH & Co. KG

What is biodynamic light?

During the course of a day, natural daylight changes its light intensity and its light colour. This has a threefold impact on us: Visual, emotional and biological. The biological impact of light synchronises the internal clock human beings possess. The hormones cortisol and melatonin are primarily at play here. It determines sleep and wake phases as well as heart frequency, blood pressure or mood. Biodynamic light, also known as Human Centric Lighting, is artificial light that takes account of all three levels of light by replicating the dynamics of natural daylight.

Why is normal lighting not sufficient?

In particular, due to changes in society, the pressure to perform and the long periods during which people are nowadays subjected to artificial lighting, having the right lighting is of great importance. With conventional artificial lighting, we are what could be described as being in biological darkness. This can lead to fatigue, reduced attentiveness and, in extreme cases, to cardio-vascular diseases or depressions. Biodynamic light can provide lasting well-being for employees especially in offices with insufficient daylight and also during the winter months when the internal clock is barely synchronised with daylight.

Biodynamics is still a very recent topic: Have projects already been implemented with it?

This topic is one that has been with us for more than 14 years, originating with our work in the care sector. A sector in which we have implemented more than 300 projects. Since 2014, we have also been offering biodynamic light for offices. A large number of implemented office projects attest to the practical viability of this concept. Today, we already offer a wide variety of products that our customers can use to implement biodynamic lighting.

Lighting that affects the internal clock - can it not also cause damage?

We work closely with scientists on our product solutions, and we therefore stick closely to the example provided by natural daylight. Our innovative VTL light management system for biodynamic lighting was developed in close cooperation with Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. Ing. Herbert Plischke, professor for light and health at the University of Munich. In all cases, our lighting solutions place people and their needs centrally. Apart from the visual and emotional quality of light provided, biodynamics for us is another way of providing optimum support to people. The dynamics of light colour and the change in the intensity of lighting follow the natural progression of daylight. That progression is built into the bedrock of our solutions. This eliminates any possibility of manual operator error or tampering, for example with high blue components in late afternoon.

You showcased solutions for industrial buildings at Light + Building for the first time. However, you have no products ready for volume production. Why not?

At the present time, biodynamic light is hardly used at all in industry. At the present time, pilot projects are being installed, research is being conducted and further experience is being gathered. At Light + Building we showed how technical implementation with the ACANEO hay bay luminaire or the TAUREO continuous row system can look. While there is no question about technical implementation being feasible, we believe that further clarification is still required about the operating method, without the use of indirect lighting components. In other applications, indirect light can be used to achieve optimum effectiveness. This is because, for optimum biological effect, it is best for light to reach the eye from the front and from above. In industrial buildings, having a reflective surface is not viable. In addition, you have shift-based working models during which the progression of daylight needs to be taken into account. Although this field of application is still full of challenges, we believe that there is great potential here for biodynamic lighting solutions.

Why do you view this application as an appropriate one for industry?

In the final analysis, I see great opportunities here. Relatively low use of daylight inside industrial buildings and typically very long operating hours constitute the perfect conditions for the use of biodynamic lighting. This can provide employees with optimum support in terms of a sense of well-being, attentiveness and sustained good health. This option should be taken up. However, to produce an optimum product, one ready for volume production, it is first necessary to clear up all open questions in a satisfactory manner.