Integrating non-visual effects of light into lighting simulation: challenges ahead
Lighting is a major influential factor that affects human health and sense of wellbeing in the built environment. Since 2002, when the first reports on the discovery of a novel type of photoreceptor were published, a new field of study started to emerge at the intersection of photobiology and architecture. This novel photoreceptor is considered the primary mediator of non-visual responses to light in humans while the classical photoreceptors, rods and cones, are responsible for vision. Daily changes in the light spectrum and intensity impact a range of circadian, physiological and behavioral functions, including sleep quality, mood, alertness and cognitive performance. This new understanding on how light affects human physiology has sparked a growing interest in the role of lighting design on health and wellbeing. This paper discusses the challenges ahead in integrating non-visual effects of light – mediated by the novel photoreceptor – into a computer-based lighting simulation framework.