Light Right Consortium

Light Right Consortium

Program Description:

The Light Right Consortium brings together interested parties and researchers to work toward a common goal: to use research as a basis for market transformation towards Ergonomic Lighting. Ergonomic Lighting is designed and installed in a way that considers the physical and psychological needs of people in buildings – it is quality, energy efficient, and economical. Preliminary studies show that Ergonomic Lighting can have positive effects such as improved productivity, reduced health complaints, and increased occupant satisfaction. Due to the high costs of labor, these benefits can provide compelling incentive for improving workplace lighting. As a result business owners can significantly reduce organizational costs and energy consumption at the same time.

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The cost of labor is
exponentially more than
the cost of energy.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Light Right will perform research that extends beyond visual performance to address neglected issues of aesthetics and psychological processes and capture the full importance of lighting. Scientific tools and research models from disciplines such as psychology, human factors, ergonomics and econometrics will be used. Using the most recent progress of these disciplines we can apply new ways of thinking to the complex challenge of studying Ergonomic Lighting.

Making an Impact

The members of the Light Right Consortium know that is takes more than research to change the market. Rather than wait for final research results before beginning to address applications and market place issues, market transformation elements are included in the project from the very beginning. A feedback loop between research and market transformation tasks ensures that both aspects of the project benefit from each other.

Working Together

Light Right is committed to collaboration. By pooling talent, capabilities and resources, research dollars go further and produce objective results with broad buy-in.

  • A diverse membership from the lighting and buildings industries, government agencies and non-profit organizations provides direction and input.
  • A team of researchers with varying specialties will agree on scientific methodologies before performing the work.
  • Lighting specifiers will be involved to ensure that “real world” lighting conditions are measured and that the results are geared towards useful application.

Benefit to Society

The Light Right Consortium is a national effort with a diverse membership from both the private and public sectors. Industry and taxpayers will benefit from a project that:

  • PROTECTS THE ENVIRONMENT: Using efficient equipment in new and existing buildings saves energy, preventing pollution and conserving resources.
  • IMPROVES THE ECONOMY: Increased sales of lighting equipment will occur, as well as new jobs to design and install lighting systems.
  • HELPS PEOPLE: Employees will have an improved workplace and business owners will realize a financial benefit with Ergonomic Lighting.


The ultimate mission of this project is to create a profound change in the market.

Central to the success of the Consortium is establishment of a link, based on sound research results, between quality lighting and economic benefits. Feedback loops between research and market transformation tasks ensure that both aspects of the project benefit from each other. For example, market research was conducted prior to the start of the research to ensure that research topics were of primary importance to decision-makers. This increases the likelihood of changing purchasing behaviors in a sustainable way.

Market transformation goals include:

  • Influence customer decisions so that they are designing, purchasing, and installing higher quality and more energy efficient technologies.
  • As a means to change customer decisions, go beyond the technology issues to delve into the dynamic of customer and market behaviors.
  • Create enduring market changes that do not require an ongoing flow of funding to keep the new behaviors in place (e.g., we should be fundamentally changing value systems rather than creating temporary financial incentives).


The Phase Two research examines the relationship between productivity in the office workplace and various features of lighting…

…including personal control, overhead glare, and non-task surface brightness. These features of lighting are being studied in detail to better understand their effects on workers. The research projects are being conducted by research organizations that were selected through solicitations issued by the Light Right Consortium. Each research project is part of an overall research agenda that addresses the key aspects of lighting and effects on productivity that were identified by the Research Master Task Plan Workshop of Phase One. The projects relate to each other, allowing the results to be used in predictive format in later phases of the Light Right project. The output measures in the studies have been informed by the Market Research from Phase One to ensure that results will be important to decision-makers.

How do we define “productivity” and how can it be measured in an office environment?

Productivity is defined in economic terms as an output produced per unit of labor (or other factor of production). When it comes to productivity in a non-industrial setting such as offices, the definition of productivity extends beyond worker output per labor hour to include numerous aspects of individual and organizational success, such as the quality of the output, occupant satisfaction, employee attraction and/or retention, health and comfort of workers, company image, and financial success.

An emerging approach to studying knowledge worker productivity focuses on mental building blocks and psychological processes – those skills and abilities that are characteristic of information processing work in general. Examples of these mental building blocks include attention, vigilance, memory, creativity, mental occupation and comprehension. Examples of relevant psychological processes include motivation, persistence and effort. Researchers from several different scientific fields have developed measurement tools for assessing these various skills and processes.


The first Light Right Consortium research project was conducted in an office building in Albany, NY.

The question this study addressed was, “Can different forms of realistic office lighting affect the performance of office work or the well-being of employees?” An office was furnished as a typical open plan workplace for nine workers, and two experiments were conducted with a total of 6 different lighting conditions. Both experiments collected data from temporary office workers, who were hired to work under one of the lighting installations for a complete day. During that day the participants carried out tasks involving many forms of clerical and cognitive office work, evaluations of the physical environment, and assessments of their mood. The results showed that occupants appreciated quality lighting and had preferences that were consistent with our predictions.

Satisfaction with the lighting influenced other areas of preference. People who are more satisfied with their lighting rate the space as more attractive, are happier, and are more comfortable and satisfied with their environment and their work. This is the first time that this complete path has been demonstrated.

Lighting designs that provided direct/indirect lighting and wallwashing were rated as comfortable by 81%–85% of participants. By comparison, designs that provided only downlight (2×4 troffers) were rated as comfortable by 69–71% of participants. The most preferred design provided direct/indirect lighting, wallwashing, and occupant dimming control of the overhead lighting for their workstation. This design was rated as comfortable by 91%, the highest percentage of the six conditions. (See FIG. 1)

In addition to occupant preferences, the study also found that the presence of personal control had a measurable impact on the motivation of office workers to perform on tasks. Normally, the persistence and vigilance of office workers will decline over the course of a workday. However, the presence of personal control of their lighting increased subject motivation allowing workers to sustain their performance — they persisted longer on difficult tasks and were more accurate on a task requiring sustained attention. (See FIG. 2)

When using the dimming control, subjects showed a wide range of illuminance (desktop light level) preferences. On average, people with dimming control chose lower levels than current practice. However, although people on average chose lower illuminances, the diversity of preferences suggest that if a fixed lower ambient room illuminance is chosen it must be supplemented with some means of providing higher local light levels for those who prefer them. (See FIG. 3)