In response to these findings, the LRC team theorized that supplemental electric lighting could be used to ensure that office workers receive enough light during the day—and put their theory to the test in this new study, installing circadian-effective lighting for 68 participants at two additional U.S. federal government office sites and two U.S. embassies, and evaluating whether the lighting intervention would reduce sleepiness and increase alertness, vitality, and energy. The U.S. embassy sites, in Reykjavík, Iceland and Riga, Latvia, near the Arctic, experience a dramatic reduction in daylight hours and extended darkness in winter. The federal government office sites, the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont, and the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, near Washington, D.C., also experience a reduction in daylight hours during winter, although not quite so severe as that experienced near the Arctic circle.
A scholarly article detailing the study’s results has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Lighting Research and Technology. The LRC is one of the few groups actually conducting light and health research out in the field.
“We are supporting this type of research so we can learn more about the connections between lighting and health,” said Bryan Steverson, Program Advisor with GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings. “The data from this research will help support our efforts in developing new lighting practices that can optimize health benefits for federal employees working in our buildings.”
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