With so many people decamping from the work office into the home office because of Covid-19 lockdowns, the health of the physical workspace has never been of greater consideration. Although people might have carefully considered the height of their table surface or whether they are are hunched over the laptop or computer screen, it is highly unlikely that they have considered the efficacy of the lighting in their work from home space. Yet the difference between lighting at home from the professional office space we are used to working in, may cause significant health and safety issues.
Most offices have at least the standard for good office working light, which is set at 320 lux at desk height (AS/NZS 1680 – For Office and Screen Based Tasks) and many offices may even exceed it. This level of light aids concentration and minimises the contrast between the computer screen and the surrounding working environment.
At home people typically only have atmospheric light and the brightness of this may not always exceed the NZ Building Code G7 requirement of 30 lux at floor level. Most rooms will have spotlights or just a single lighting fixture in the middle of the room, and that may cause people to work in their own shadow or suffer with light glare from the computer screen. Needless to say, lighting of this calibre would not fulfil the Code in an office building.
Inadequate lighting may cause considerable health problems including;
- Irritated eyes
- Dry eyes
- Tension headache
- Concentration problems
- Bad sleep
Solving the work from home lighting problem
A Canterbury project demonstrated these issues very clearly where the client was challenged by a poorly lit downstairs home office, an unsuitable working space for any professional but especially for the client, a photographer.
She had the added challenge with the downstairs space that insufficient light reached the one exterior window and wall. Working with Hometech, a clever solution was arrived at using a Solatube 290DS Daylighting System. Taking advantage of the 99.7% reflective Spectralight tubing she was able to achieve an extended run (up to 9m) with 2x 90degree bends and minimal light losses, capturing light at the unobstructed roof level and bringing it down and through a basement space into an internal wall. As this was a retrofit, the Solatube tubing was run via an architectural exterior wooden shaft to protect the tube.
This solution provided attractive and effective lighting appropriate for the client's exacting photography work with the added benefit of the accurate colour rendition only natural light can provide, whilst the Solatube Daylighting System was protected from the elements and hidden behind an attractive façade. To elegantly finish off the project, the client chose a Glass Distraction Decorative Fixture in ‘OptiView' which was mounted vertically in the wall.
The result is a stunning feature that provides excellent daylighting for the client's home office and a refreshing, attractive, and healthy work from home space.
"I am delighted with the natural light I get in my office now," says photographer and client, T. Arthur. "It is perfect for my requirements as a photographer, editing on my computer, without having to switch on artificial lighting. I was impressed with the installation team and how they handled this very awkward room, and am extremely happy with the final result. Thank you!"
The Solatube team can assist with natural daylighting designs and selections, along with supplying visualisations and reports to help demonstrate to councils or your clients the high levels of natural lighting achieved with a Solatube solution.