Light exposure effects on the perception of the thermal environment

Marije te Kulve, Luc Schlangen, Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


A wider range for acceptable indoor temperatures can reduce building energy consumption and may be beneficial for health. In the current study, we investigated the influence of the intensity and spectrum of white light exposure on thermal comfort and sensation. In two well-controlled laboratory studies with 35 healthy young adult females, we tested the effect of the correlated colour temperature of light (2700K and 6500K, both 55lx) and the intensity of light (5lx and 1200lx, both 4000K) on thermal comfort and sensation. The light exposures were provided during cool, neutral and warm thermal conditions. Core and skin temperatures were measured. Thermal comfort and thermal sensation were not significantly affected by the light intensity or relative correlated colour temperature. The preferred lighting conditions differed between individuals. Interestingly a significant positive correlation was found between visual comfort and thermal comfort. This result implies that visually comfortable conditions may improve thermal comfort, but individual preferences should be taken into account. The main conclusion therefore is that thermal discomfort can partly be alleviated by lighting conditions that result in a higher perceived visual comfort. Field studies are required to demonstrate the practical relevance of the interaction between light exposure and ambient temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 10th Windsor Conference
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Comfort
EditorsFergus Nicol, Susan Roaf, Luisa Brotas, Michael A. Humphreys
PublisherNCEUB 2018
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780992895785
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event10th International Windsor Conference 2018: Rethinking Comfort - Windsor, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Apr 201815 Apr 2018


Conference10th International Windsor Conference 2018: Rethinking Comfort
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Ambient temperature
  • Correlated colour temperature
  • Light intensity
  • Thermal comfort
  • Visual comfort


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