DESIGN MODELS THAT CREATE RETURN ON INVESTMENT Facility design that focuses on wellness and sustainability is proving to have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. This idea is broadly known as the 3/30/300 story — as a general rule, organizations spend approximately US$3 per square foot per year for energy, US$30 for rent and US$300 for personnel. Since people are a company’s most valuable asset, improving their overall experience delivers the greatest return on investment. The WELL Building Standard provides a model for space design and construction that integrates performance-based systems to positively impact the built environment. Lighting control is an essential piece of this proverbial puzzle. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification helps promote the use of building systems that enhance energy performance standards. Many organizations, and building professionals, who have successfully implemented LEED in their buildings are now also turning their attention to the WELL Building standard as a guideline for facility design focused on wellness, comfort, and productivity. The Washington, DC-based headquarters of the American Society of Interior Designers is the first space in the world to achieve platinum-level certification for both the WELL v1 Building Standard™ (also known as WELL) and LEED, under the LEED ID+C rating system v4. To achieve this dual certification, ASID leadership, along with architectural firm Perkins+Will, lighting designers Benya Burnett Consultants and electrical engineers GHT Limited, were committed to making the facility a showcase for progressive design. Together, they prioritized the goal of achieving dual Platinum certifications. As such, the project serves as an excellent model for how design can meet the needs of the people in the space, while supporting LEED and WELL certifications. By looking into the structure of the WELL Building Standard, and examining features that lead to certification, we can better understand the role lighting control plays in helping to achieve WELL requirements. A centralized light and shade management system was essential to meeting project goals. To enhance its value proposition, WELL Building certification may also help companies attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive environment. It creates a more attractive facility by: Improving the environment for employees and clients Supporting thought leadership Contributing to increased productivity Enhances employee satisfaction and retention the light concept The WELL Building Standard promotes lighting and shading systems that increase alertness, enhance the overall occupant experience and even promote healthy sleep. The Light Concept area provides illumination guidelines to minimize disruption to the human body’s circadian system, enhance productivity and provide visual acuity. In designing lighting and control solutions to meet WELL requirements, the lighting professional will consider standard strategy categories including: activity-based light levels, color quality, daylighting, and glare control for any given space. Because LEED and WELL certifications provide complementary benefits, designing a lighting control system that effectively supports both certifications demands intricate knowledge of the lighting control system capabilities as well as the certification requirements. Fixture selection and fenestration play a role in all preconditions and most optimizations in the WELL Light Concept. A smart, integrated lighting and shade control solution can specifically help achieve precondition features in Visual Lighting Design (#53), Circadian Lighting Design (#54), and Solar Glare Control (#56), and is essential for optimization features in Automated Shading and Dimming Controls (#60) and Daylight Modeling (#62). We’ll examine each of these features in more detail, and define the contributing role of smart lighting control solutions. WELL certification starts with seven concepts that influence human behaviors and define a wellness-focused environment: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Under these concepts there are “features” or provisions with requirements that have to be met. Some features are mandatory “preconditions,” while others are optional “optimizations.” There are three levels of WELL certification: SILVER Meets 100 percent of WELL preconditions applicable to the project type in all concepts GOLD Meets all WELL preconditions and 40 percent or more of the optimization features PLATINUM Meets all WELL preconditions and 80 percent or more of the optimization features SOURCE www.wellcertified.com/en/content/are-there-levels-well-certification visual lighting design FEATURE # 53 The visual lighting design feature defines required average light levels of 215 lux on the horizontal plane, measured at 30” above the floor, as well as independently controlled zones of light no larger than 500 square feet. Also, this feature requires appropriate brightness and contrast ratios on different surfaces among spaces, and among surfaces within a space, to avoid dark spots or excessively bright spots in a room. Tunable lighting (setting maximum lighting output to the appropriate illuminance level) helps designers meet the contrast ratios. Lighting design can meet required lux with fixtures alone, but this strategy can result in very bright light, which is acceptable early in the day but less desirable in the late afternoon when it can negatively affect sleep patterns. Designing an integrated light management system with usable daylight enables the shades to help regulate daylight, provides the required foot-candles, and prevents glare, while the drivers and ballasts automatically dim to help save energy. In accordance with the WELL Standard, lighting zones must be no larger than 500 square feet, or 20 percent of an open office floor plan. Digitally addressable ballasts and drivers can accommodate zoning requirements without the need for complex wiring, and when the furniture or layout inevitably changes, zones can be easily adjusted using software with no need to rewire. Tunable white fixtures and controls allow lighting to adjust automatically and unobtrusively over the course of the day. For example, short wavelengths of light can be included earlier, then scaled back in the afternoon to minimize sleep disruption. While WELL certification does not focus on energy efficiency, energy savings is still a consideration in most commercial buildings. Lighting control solutions that integrate with daylight and occupancy sensors, or daylight responsive shading, can significantly reduce energy use. Using automated, digital control, the lighting design not only complies with certification requirements, but easily facilitates integration with timeclock control. With a single button or command, all lighting zones can be turned on or off, and still deliver zone-based occupancy or daylight control. This is one example of how advanced lighting control solutions go beyond certification requirements to simplify operations for the facility management team. circadian lighting design FEATURE # 54 This aspect of certification is designed to provide lighting conditions that reinforce natural patterns of the human circadian cycle with appropriate melanopic light intensity in work areas. At least one of the following requirements must be met: — 250 equivalent melanopic lux (EML) is present at 75 percent or more of workstations, at four feet above the finished floor, for at least four hours per day — Ambient lights provide recommended illuminance of equivalent melanopic lux greater than or equal to lux recommendation from IES For a facility manager working to provide the most comfortable, productive environment for employees, the blue light that helps meet EML during the day can have a negative impact on sleep at night. This is one motivator for the enhanced use of color-tunable fixtures with appropriate control solutions — they can provide biologically active light during the day at lower power consumption, and adjust to less biologically active light in the evening and night. solar glare control FEATURE # 56 Solar glare control helps mitigate glare from the sun by blocking or reflecting harsh, direct sunlight away from space occupants. A key requirement is to provide controllable or automatic window shading, and this feature cannot be met with a static glare inhibitor such as overhangs. By using an automated shading solution, the lighting control design can also help meet optimization Feature #60, Automated Shading and Dimming Controls. daylight modeling FEATURE # 62 Daylight Modeling supports circadian and psychological health by setting thresholds for indoor sunlight exposure. Manual shades can be used to meet this WELL feature, but automated shades that respond to changing daylight conditions can increase spatial daylight autonomy. Using this control strategy, a facility can meet the requirements for LEED Daylight credits in addition to the WELL Daylight Modeling feature. rising to the challenge The ASID project set a high bar for sustainable, wellness-oriented, energy-efficient lighting design, using an integrated lighting and shading control system to contribute in three WELL concepts and four LEED categories, including almost all the energy efficiency points. LEED is energy focused and WELL is tailored to human performance and health — but together they deliver a versatile, responsive space. In the ASID offices, adjustments can easily be made using software to ensure the space remains dynamic, and the facility team is able to quickly make adjustments to meet changing space requirements. Achieving WELL and LEED Platinum helps change the conversation about how to design a space that promotes both wellness and sustainability. Integrated lighting and shade control delivers a comfortable space that promotes a creative work environment and helps the facility management team make adjustments over time without disrupting the flow of business. As research continues to uncover the benefits of dynamic building design, lighting controls will continue to make important contributions to ensuring the right environment for the people in the space. Michael Jouaneh is manager of sustainability and energy standards for Lutron, the world leader in light control solutions. He is a frequent presenter at industry events such as Lightfair International and Greenbuild, and is active in the development of the top energy and green building codes/standards for the U.S. He is also the author of several published articles, whitepapers, and case studies on high-performance, energy-efficient green buildings. Michael is the vice chair of the Lighting Controls Association, and is involved with many organizations, including ASHRAE, the California Energy Commission, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Illuminating Engineering Society, International Code Council, and the U.S. Green Building Council. He is a Certified Energy Manager, Green Globes Professional, and a LEED AP.
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