What is light?

Light consists of daylight (sunlight) and artificial light (artificial light sources).

The relationship between light and productivity is a fairly complex one because so many factors are involved and the experience is incredibly personal.

Improving light

Daylight (light protection)

People naturally feel best when sufficient natural daylight is available. Nevertheless, an overabundance of daylight or daylight that is too bright can have a negative impact on performance: from glare caused by direct sunlight to reflection coming from (surrounding) buildings and surfaces. Good light protection is essential to guaranteeing the quality of daylight.

Proper filtration of daylight leads to an increase in productivity of 5 to 15% according to research by Loftness et al (2003). Research by Oosterhaus (2005), among others, also shows that productivity decreases by up to 5% when proper indoor light protection or exterior sun protection are absent.

Artificial light (lighting)

For artificial light, both the illuminance and the quality of the luminaires are important – more specifically, the shielding and screen-friendliness.

Hygge and Kniez (2001) researched differences in cognitive performance during office work at different illuminance levels, specifically at 300 versus 1,500 lux. Performance was significantly better at the higher lighting level.

Circadian rhythm

Light controls the human pattern of sleep and wakefulness, which consists of a 24-hour cycle. This circadian rhythm causes us to wake when the sun rises and grow tired when darkness falls.

The process is controlled by the inhibition or stimulation of the sleep hormone, melatonin. This hormone is produced in the hypothalamus in response to stimuli from the non-visual photoreceptors in our eyes.

Because we spend a lot of time indoors, we are less exposed to sunlight (along with the rhythm associated with it). Artificial light and all kinds of artificial stimuli disrupt our internal clocks, which results in a range of different complaints and disorders.

Lighting with a circadian rhythm mimics the natural diurnal and nocturnal rhythm, in this way counteracting the disruption caused by too much time spent indoors.


Sustainability certificates 

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)

This assessment method determines the sustainability of buildings. It was developed and introduced by the English research body Building Research Establishment (BRE). The method is divided into five different standards: 1) Communities, 2) Infrastructure, 3) New Construction, 4) In-Use, and 5) Refurbishment and Fit-Out.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

LEED is an assessment and certification system used to determine building sustainability performance. The method was set up in 1998 by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the most widely used sustainability tool in the United States.

Wellbeing certificate


People – and not just sustainability and energy – are increasingly the centre of focus in the design of new buildings. The end goal is to guarantee the user’s wellbeing. It’s for this reason that the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) introduced the WELL Building Standard in 2014, to promote healthy and sustainable buildings. It was updated in 2018 based on experience gained: WELL v2.

This performance-based standard measures, certifies and monitors the built environment and its effect on our health. In so doing, WELL strives towards designing buildings that make users healthier and happier. The air, comfort, sound and light quality are measured and improved based on personal needs. WELL, therefore, specifically targets the health and wellbeing of building users.

Trusted partner: SIG Air Handling

Total solutions

HVAC expert (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) SIG Air Handling provides lighting fixtures and systems that are equipped with personalised, user-operated lighting control.

SIG Air Handling also implements fully integrated Smartwellbeing solutions to create an optimal indoor climate (indoor air, thermal comfort, acoustics and light). Our specialists combine products, systems and services with advanced control technology and smart building technology (Smart Building). And that’s how we create a healthy living, work and residential environment that the user is able – based on his or her own needs – to help determine. 

Development and testing 

Our experts also put their experience to work in the (continued) development of new products and systems, services and project-specific solutions for every indoor climate issue.

In relation to climate, noise, control technology, performance, installation and assembly, SIG Air Handling has a wide range of testing facilities for this purpose. Where necessary, we also employ complementary techniques such as BIM/Revit, CFD, big data and 3D printing. 

Specific advice 

Would you like advice on light or Smartwellbeing? Our specialists are eager to help with any indoor climate technology-related issues. 

Please feel free to contact one of our specialists.



Smartwellbeing case


The EDGE Olympic (The EDGE) office building in Amsterdam is an inspiring workplace where smart technology, sustainability and wellbeing set the standard. The project involved the complete transformation of an existing building from 1990 and was finished in June 2018. The result: the smartest, most sustainable building in the world with the highest wellbeing certificate (WELL Platinum pre) attainable.

Thanks to the building technology and digital infrastructure, everything and everyone within EDGE Olympic is connected. This makes it possible for users to, among others, manage their own workplace using a smartphone app: whether it’s temperature, lighting, humidity or CO2 levels

More resources

There are a number of great resources available for diving further into the world of Smartwellbeing.