As the interplay between design and occupant wellness comes into greater focus, the push to make buildings more compatible with human physiology is only becoming more pronounced.
The use of circadian lighting to synchronize natural sleep-wake rhythms, and biophilic elements to soothe and calm, are at the forefront of ZGF’s design for Swedish Medical Center-Ballard’s 22-bed Medical Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) in Seattle within two existing hospital floors.
Due to the parameters of the BHU project, patients do not have access to the outdoors. This makes the onus even greater on lighting to mark the passage of time, instilling a sense of normalcy and providing a sense of calm as the day winds down.
In August 2017, the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory published a report examining the performance of LED lighting in the BHU. The study is a first-of-its-kind exploration of a color-tunable lighting system commissioned as part of a large-scale renovation project.
Co-authored by ZGF, the study demonstrates that circadian lighting controls and luminaries can be designed, specified, commissioned and validated with a spectrometer to match known circadian lighting metrics throughout the day – and from different patient vantage points.