3 More Knocks . . . light, according to Mary Rushton-Beales

Its hard to believe that a whole month has gone by since my first missive. In that time the triple subjects that have come to my attention have been shadow patterns, ukuleles (or ukeleles, apparently both spellings are correct) and Indoor Air Quality. It would be quite a stretch to discuss ukuleles in the context of lighting wellness – although I am reliably informed that the acappella uku version of “Here Comes the Sun” will bring tears to your eyes – potential cathartic relief, perhaps..

It is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) with Big Fat Capitals that is the best contender; in the course of designing lighting for a Biophilic interior project with a large quantity of living plants we investigated potential ways of improving the IAQ by making the plants work harder at cleaning the air. Although there are some fascinating studies and papers regarding this, it seems that the assumption that plants can clean the air per se is almost as controversial a subject as our dear friend Human Centric Lighting.

Opinions range from a wonderful paper extolling the virtue of “Plants as a Building Service” to long rants along the lines of “Nasa’s research is flawed”. In the end we decided to light the plants for their own well being as beautifully as possible so the plants can fulfil their role in the “nature in the space” biophilic pattern. 

Along the way though it became clear that the importance and awareness of IAQ within the public domain has been far more effectively achieved than the importance of Indoor Light Quality. Some might say that is because a commonly quoted statistic is that 7 million deaths per year are associated with poor air quality.

I don’t think anyone has ever actually quantified how many badly-lit stairs or steps or car parks have contributed to fatalities  but I’m willing to bet there are quite a few. And of course exactly what disruption of  the body clock – due to the wrong light at the wrong time – does to our bodies is still being debated. I’d like to suggest an Indoor Light Quality campaign that helps the general public improve their lives.

Who’s with me?


About Mary Rushton-Beales

Since 2003 Mary has researched into the effects of light on the body. This has led to commissions for lighting of spaces that will enhance the well-being of occupants. . Wherever possible Mary brings her experience to create the healthiest possible spaces for all users, into projects large and small.

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