20 November 2023

Ergonomic workplace lighting: more than just visual comfort

Science is evolving very quickly in the field of workplace lighting and ergonomics. We are increasingly experiencing the big impact of lighting design. Not only visually, but also on our biological functioning, state of mind and cognitive abilities. At Multiline, we follow these developments closely in order to advise our customers and partners correctly.

Ergonomische werkplekverlichting in vergaderzaal van kantoorgebouw

When designing office buildings, the impact of lighting is often underestimated. However, the correct design can have a significant impact on employee performance and well-being. Ideal workplace lighting should provide uniformity, low contrast and comfortable lux values. When the design is based on the needs of the end user, Human Centric Lighting takes center stage.

Common complaints in workplaces with inadequate lighting include the feeling of too little light or improperly placed lighting that causes light spots.

European lighting standards for workplace lighting

Until 2021, European standards required 500 lux for workstations. This value could vary depending on the nature of the work. With the arrival of the new standard (NBN EN 12464-1:2021) in September 2021, the average illuminance for a workstation has been adjusted and allows us to provide up to 1,000 lux where needed.

Melanopic lighting

The updated standard responds to a “new” light quantity in the lighting technology: MEDI, “melanopic equivalent daylight illuminance”. It takes into account the production of melatonin, the “sleep hormone” essential for good biorhythms and quality sleep. MEDI refers to the consideration of more vertical illuminance to better match lighting to human needs. This is calculated through cylindrical calculations, taking into account the MDER factor of the light source, or the ratio of MEDI to photopic illuminance.


Ergonomische werkplekverlichting in kantoorgebouw

The challenge of deliberate lighting design

Architecture plays a crucial role in this process. Aiming for as many windows as possible, bright interiors and good reflectivity is essential for healthy workplace lighting.

Too often, plans are drawn up with design aspects such as color and light, without considering the lighting effect. This often results in suboptimal lighting solutions. That is why we always stress the importance of lighting studies in order to influence the design process and make the right choices. A lighting architect, who is involved early in the process, can monitor the balance between ergonomics and budgetary considerations.


Rekta SAPP armatuur

What will the future bring?

The future of workplace lighting will focus on minimizing the number of luminaires per room while maximizing light output and reducing energy consumption. The ongoing evolution of LED technology will play a key role in this. The balance between energy efficiency and ideal workplaces will remain an ongoing challenge.

At Multiline, we are happy to take on this challenge. We work closely with architects, engineering firms and building owners to implement the desired lighting standards. A good example is the Dethier office building in Alken, where we aimed for high lighting comfort by creating the perfect combination of aesthetics and scientifically sound lighting.

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