While selecting the right lighting fixture for your project, it is essential to consider a great variety of factors which affect the final design. By being responsible towards the entire atmosphere and the environment in the space, color temperature is one of those factors.
What is color temperature?
Color temperature describes the light appearance perceived by people and is measured by the unit called Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1000-10000K. The lower Kelvin, the more red the light. In turn, as we go higher on the Kelvin scale, the light becomes white and then transforms into blue. For example, candle light accounts for around 1800 K, while skylight can get as much as 10000 K. Also, a good reference point to keep in mind while planning a lighting design of your project is that sun at mid-day accounts for about 5600K.
Color temperature and humans
The effects of color temperature on human beings have been explored for decades, so the subject as such is not very new in the industry. However, it is still worth mentioning, because the color temperature should be chosen based on what the space will be used for. For example, one recent study found that creativity was better under warm light (3000 K), while concentration was higher under cold light (6000K).
New control systems can be used to adjust the color temperature and light intensity of the lamp according to the circadian rhythm: relaxing, soft and warm shades of light in the mornings and evenings, and stronger, cooler lights during the daytime. In the short term, color-adjustable lamps can affect sleeping patterns, while in the longer term there could be more significant impact on human well-being. For example, it is possible to increase the pupils' productivity and thus improve learning outcomes in educational institutions.
What color temperature I should choose for my project?
How to choose a suitable color temperature for your project?
At the lower scale from 2000-3000K, light is considered to be “warm light”. The light with this color temperature is often perceived by humans as a little bit yellow. It is recommended to be used with natural materials such as stone and wood. Warm white color creates a cozy and calm atmosphere, therefore can be used in living rooms, bedrooms, hotels or restaurants.
Unlike in the previous example, sometimes a cozy and relaxing atmosphere is not needed, and a higher clarity of objects is required. Therefore, “cold white” color temperature can be used, which accounts 4000K or higher on the Kelvin scale and spreads a bright white light. Basements, garages and grocery stores are good examples of locations where this color temperature can be used.
The 5000K color temperature is most often used in areas where bright and intense lighting is required (e.g. industrial applications). For example, the color temperature of study rooms should be between 4000K and 5000K.
When the color temperature exceeds 5500K, the light begins to turn blue. Applications where this color temperature can be used might include laboratories, pharmacies, warehouses etc.
All in all, the color temperature suitable for your project depends on the design and most importantly the entire purpose of the space you are designing.
Do you need any help in choosing color temperature for your lighting design?
Our team would be more than willing to help you to choose the right color temperature for your application. Also, before starting creating your lighting design in Autodesk Revit, make sure that you have downloaded LIGHTS add-in.