Better light for a better workplace
AFRY office in Malmö, Sweden
When AFRY moved into new premises in Malmö in 2014, Light Bureau saw opportunities to modify the lighting in ways that improved employees’ well-being while also reducing energy usage.
By 2020 Sweden needs to reduce its energy use by 20 percent if it is to meet the EU’s climate target. With lighting currently accounting for almost 30 percent of the nation’s electricity use, the potential for savings is enormous. But investments in smart lighting don’t only bring environmental and economic benefits; they can improve well-being, too.
Lighting is often neglected in new-builds
The importance of good lighting for people’s well-being has attracted increasing attention in recent years. The right lighting makes us more effective and alert and reduces costs for sick leave. Researchers at Lund University have shown that people feel most positive when lighting levels are optimised to their task or location. Surroundings that are too bright evoke negative feelings and make us feel ill at ease.
Lighting designer Jim Collin, an expert in creating attractive and visually optimised illuminated environments, says that while recent years have seen a surge of interest in research into lighting, architects and builders have tended to ignore these findings in new-builds. “Lighting is often regarded as a purely technical issue. But it should be a symbiosis of technology, aesthetics and well-being. Lighting will never receive the priority it deserves as long as we see it exclusively in technical terms,” says Jim Collin.
New premises in Malmö
When AFRY in Malmö moved into new premises in southern Sweden, AFRYs lighting designers saw at once that the lighting was in desperate need of an overhaul. Not only did it leave much to be desired in terms of the work environment and energy-efficiency, but it did not reflect the values that AFRY upholds – taking an all-round approach to creating energy-efficient, user-friendly, attractive environments.
Light Bureau’s designers and electrical engineers set themselves the target of making an 80-percent saving in energy, while also improving the lighting and creating a more functional, more appealing workplace. With the aid of new lighting fittings and a flexible control system, the 350 square metre office space was divided into clearly defined smaller areas. “People are always the number one priority in our projects, so it was important to make sure lighting could be adapted to individual needs. Research shows that being able to determine your own level of light improves well-being, so we installed a variable solution where each light source can be separately adjusted and controlled,” Jim explains.
Energy use plummeted 92 percent
The team made use of the latest LED technology, interspersed with conventional bulbs and fluorescent tubes. The result is a variable lighting solution that provides a good working environment and serves – quite literally – as a shining example of AFRYs expertise in lighting.
Efforts exceeded expectations. Energy use has been slashed by no less than 92 percent, enough for the investment to pay for itself in just seven years. Better still, the office environment has become more attractive and more inviting, resulting in an even greater sense of well-being among employees.