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22 February 2016

Better lighting for a better workplace.

By 2020 Sweden needs to reduce its energy use by 20 percent if it is to meet the EU’s climate target. With lighting currently accounting for almost 30 percent of the nation’s electricity use, the potential for savings is enormous. But investments in smart lighting don’t only bring environmental and economic benefits; they can improve well-being, too. When ÅF recently moved into brand new premises in southern Sweden, ÅFs prize-winning lighting designers saw opportunities to modify the lighting in ways that improved employees’ well-being while also reducing energy usage.

Lighting neglected in new-builds
The importance of good lighting for people’s well-being has attracted increasing attention in recent years. The right lighting makes us more effective and alert and reduces costs for sick leave. ÅF lighting designer Jim Collin, an expert in creating attractive and visually optimised illuminated environments, says that while recent years have seen a surge of interest in research into lighting, architects and builders have tended to ignore these findings in new-builds. “Today lighting is often regarded as a purely technical issue. But it should be a symbiosis of technology, aesthetics and well-being.” Jim says.

New ÅF premises in Malmö
When ÅF in Malmö moved into brand new premises in southern Sweden, ÅF Lighting saw at once that the lighting was in desperate need of an overhaul. Not only did it leave much to be desired in terms of the work environment and energy-efficiency, but it did not reflect the values that ÅF upholds – taking an all-round approach to creating energy-efficient, user-friendly, attractive environments.

ÅFs lighting designers and electrical engineers set themselves the target of making an 80-percent saving in energy, while also improving the lighting and creating a more functional, more appealing workplace. “People are always the number one priority in our projects, so it was important to make sure lighting could be adapted to individual needs. Research shows that being able to determine your own level of light improves well-being, so we installed a variable solution where each light source can be separately adjusted and controlled,” Jim explains.

Energy use plummeted 92 percent
The team made use of the latest LED technology, interspersed with conventional bulbs and fluorescent tubes. The result is a variable lighting solution that provides a good working environment and serves – quite literally – as a shining example of ÅF Lighting’s expertise.

Efforts exceeded expectations. Energy use has been slashed by no less than 92 percent, enough for the investment to pay for itself in just seven years. Better still, the office environment has become more attractive and more inviting, resulting in an even greater sense of well-being among employees.

This is one of the articles from ÅF’s Green Advisor Report 2015, read more about this in the latest issue of Green Advisor Report here.