LEDs in hospitals– or how to get massive cost savings while improving patients’ health
Until recently, switching to LED in hospitals wasn’t even considered as an option, mainly because of its high costs. But when further research was made and administrators realized that 45% of a hospital’s electrical load comes from lighting, they started reconsidering.
When proved that using LED lighting systems leads to reduced air conditioning costs, huge energy and costs savings and less facility downtime, hospital administrators started wondering whether they made the right choice with incandescent light bulbs and CFLs.
Besides the already known advantages of going LED (they don’t contain any harmful elements like mercury – there are some others that might be help the health systems in a surprising way:
They produce less heat – heat can increase aggressive tendencies; a cooler environment relieves anxiety and helps people focus better, which is essential for doctors during surgeries. Also, heat is known for helping spread germs faster.
They last longer – they don’t create a mess by constantly needing to be replaced; they rarely need maintenance, therefore you limit the potential for dirt and pathogens to break into the hospital environment.
They don’t flicker – flickering can affect people with autism.
Their high colour rendering index ensures that the colours are reflected truly and naturally, plus their proper lighting distribution is proven to be comforting for patients. Clean lighting (cool whites provided at over 4600 K) can help the hospital staff focus better, as it usually makes people more alert (this is why it’s usually used in classrooms, offices or meeting rooms). The warm whites (up to 3000K), on the other hand, help to foster a more restful environment, as they set a quiet and more relaxed atmosphere.
Moreover, bio-dynamic lighting systems can change the amount of light according to the time outside, this helping to regulate the circadian rhythm. Usually, the lack of bright light leads to interrupted circadian rhythms that cause poor sleep that then lead to a longer healing process (which will only lead to more time in the hospital).
In addition to that, proper lighting can help alleviate seasonal effective disorder, which is related to the sunlight decrease during winter. It is a well known fact that people who live in Nordic countries are more prone to depression because of the fact that they are less exposed to light.
Research also indicates that blue lighting may help patients with Alzheimer’s to sleep better.
Dynamic lighting is also an element of a multi-pronged approach to help put MRI patients at ease during the process.
What other improvements can be expected in the future? Experts say that organic LEDs (OLEDs) are the next step, but we can only hope that for now, ALL hospitals will go for the cost saving option of LEDs. After that, the sky will be the limit.