Preferred luminance distributions in open-plan offices in relation to time of day and subjective alertness

Christel de Bakker (Corresponding author), Marielle Aarts, Helianthe Kort, Evert van Loenen, Alexander Rosemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic lighting is one of the new trends in lighting research; providing the right lighting level at the right time could possibly increase the alertness and performance of office workers. However, they might have preferences that deviate from this “healthy” lighting. Simultaneously, the building environment becomes increasingly automated, with occupancy-based control as one of the most well-known examples to reduce offices’ lighting energy consumption. Nevertheless, preferences for lighting levels in the unoccupied area of the multi-occupant office space have not been addressed yet. Therefore, we studied luminance distribution preferences in relation to time of day and subjective alertness (SA) in a single occupancy scenario. Participants (N = 30) set the surrounding and background lighting six times a day as we first probed for SA. Our results clearly showed that a subset preferred varying luminance distributions; participants had fluctuating feelings of alertness, too. Preferences deviated sometimes from the typical dynamic lighting scenarios, suggesting that they do not always prefer healthy lighting. Moreover, we identified an effect of SA on the preferences, both with and without controlling for time of day. Hence, this study showed that we need to address these two factors when we want to provide satisfactory lighting conditions in case the office is not fully occupied. These are likely to affect other lighting preferences and therefore deserve more attention from research. Because we identified large individual differences, we suggest personalizing dynamic scenarios as the focus of future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalLEUKOS: The Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
Issue number1
Early online date8 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • alertness
  • Dynamic lighting
  • lighting distribution
  • occupancy-based lighting control
  • open-plan office


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