It is perhaps not the lighting that customers notice first when they enter the brand new, ultra-modern premises of SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge (SNN) in the centre of Mo I Rana in Northern Norway. But lighting plays a crucial role in the building. The bank has elected to invest in Human Centric Lighting, artificial lighting that mimics daylight in intensity and colour temperature. This type of lighting can promote better Circadian rhythm, improve concentration, prevent sleeping disorders and provide an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
Glamox has supplied luminaires and the light management system, while Haaland, who is also a general contractor, was responsible for the installation. Glamox understands that Sparebank1 Nord-Norge is the first bank in Norway, and one of the first banks in Europe, that has invested in this type of lighting.
Lighting up the future
"We are convinced this is the lighting of the future. Therefore we are now rolling out full-scale systems to several of our finance centres, which we are in the process of building. In addition to Mo i Rana we are also investing in Finnsnes, Alta, Bodø and our head office in Tromsø," said Øystein Eikrem, head of SNN's technical section.
Research on how light affects people biologically has been ongoing for many decades. However, in 2002 researchers made a major breakthrough when they discovered ganglion cells in the eye's retina. The cells react to the blue wavelengths in the light, and send signals to the brain, which ensures that the biological clock in the body keeps in step with the Circadian rhythm.
But when the light disappears, so too do the signals to the eye. Particularly in northern regions, many find the conditions in winter months challenging, due to the lack of daylight for long periods. Daylight doesn't just affect the sleeping cycle. Signals from the ganglion cells in the eye regulate hormone production, which affect among other things energy levels, awareness and wellbeing.
Many positive effects
Research shows that correct lighting can counteract sleeping disorders, and also prompt a number of positive effects. "Several research reports, including from the Netherlands and Norway, reveal positive results from use of HCL in office environments and schools respectively. This is new and – to say the least - exciting. If HCL can result in enhanced wellbeing, and a decline in sick leave, then it's a win-win situation for everyone," stressed Eikrem.
"Our most important resources are the people who work in the bank. Then we must organise it so that they have the best conditions. Not just inviting, pleasant work environments, but we must also implement the best technological arrangements for them that includes future oriented lighting. It also promotes a more enjoyable experience for those visiting the bank," said Eikrem.
Office landscapes are ideal for Human Centric Lighting solutions. These solutions can provide employees with more energy and motivation. For example, a cold white light with high intensity at the start of the day can ensure synchronisation of the biological clock. For countries that have little daylight in the winter months, "tuneable white” fittings can help towards reducing Polar night depressions and other seasonal-dependent disorders. The same lighting settings can also produce short-term effects on concentration and awareness, if used correctly.
"Between 5-10 percent of the population struggle with Polar night depression, and this leads to dejected humour, low level of energy, diminished motivation and constant fatigue. These annoyances can be reduced with the right lighting, and therefore HCL lighting is even more important for us who live in a country with a long winter," said Eikrem.
At SpareBank1 Nord-Norge's new premises in Mo i Rana, the lighting system in the team rooms for the 36 employees are preset according to a fixed day cycle. In the morning when the staff arrive at work, the lighting is warm white and the lighting strength is around 400-500 lux. After a while the lighting shifts to cold white and lighting intensity is increased to 800 lux, before it is lowered again, and turning warmer towards lunchtime. After lunch the blue-white tones increase again, before they decline towards the end of the day, and the warm white light becomes more prominent. In the meeting and quiet rooms it is possible to adjust the light in three categories – normal lighting (4000 kelvin, 500-lux), calm lighting (3000 kelvin, 500-lux) and focus lighting (6000 kelvin, 800 lux), as required.
Inspiring pilot project
Espen Ytterstad, sales engineer at Glamox describes the HCL investment in SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge as an exciting pilot project in which he has participated.
"This is the first time we have installed HCL in a bank, and this will be rolled out in many of the bank's locations. Therefore in this contect it is a pilot project for us and the bank. The bank is sporty in daring to invest in creating the ultimate in a working environment, and that their people really enjoy their job," said Ytterstad.
Ytterstad is also quick to praise the co-operation with Haaland. "As well as the installation, Haaland has collaborated with us on programming of the fittings. They have been great to work with and the co-operation has worked very smoothly," he said.
"It's vital for us that we have a participant that is serious, and has the appropriate experience. That is why the nod was given to Glamox. We are certainly looking forward now to hear what our staff think. We are waiting in anticipation to see how much job satisfaction improves and how much sick leave declines, as we believe it will," said Øystein Eikrem, head of SNN's technical department.
Bank Director Tor Magne Aanonli at SNN's branch in Mo I Rana is elated over the investment made in lighting and can't wait to see what effects it has in the future.
"We've only just moved in, and can see we have plenty of light and good lighting. Even though It is still light outside, we can't wait to see what it will be like when the days start to darken," said Aanonli.
Kemi SnowCastle has attracted winter tourists since 1996. Now it's possible to enjoy snow and ice round the year, as the new main building houses a “snow experience space” with -5°C temperature all year round. The building also provides numerous other services.
”The SnowCastle operates all year and offers versatile restaurant and meeting services. In between meetings, one can drop by the ice room to cool down, to play in the snow or to have a go at the ice slide" says Susanna Koutonen from Kemin Matkailu Ltd.
The main building was opened in March 2019, on the 150th anniversary of Kemi.
Clean white light
The lobby of the two-storey building has a blue reception desk which looks like it's made of ice cubes. The high glass windows in the lobby and the shop windows are decorated with snowflakes.
“The colour temperature of the light in the room next to the experience space is mainly 4,000 Kelvin, which coincides with the snow white of the wall and ceiling surfaces,” says Seppo Penttinen, electrical designer at UpNet Engineering Ltd.
The ice cream parlour serves delicious ice cream sundaes, and the café serves drinks with ice flakes, amongst other things. From the lobby, there are stairs to the viewpoint restaurant which seats 300 people. The ice cream parlour, the restaurant, the café and the spa section are illuminated with Glamox D70 downlights.
"We were already familiar with the Glamox products, and we knew they were first-rate and reliable. The purchasing and the installation of the light fixtures for space was very easy. Everything worked flawlessly", Penttinen says.
The SnowCastle's large kitchen and cooking areas are illuminated with C63 square lights, embedded in the ceiling. "Cooking requires good, glare-free and even lighting. The IP55 enclosure ensures that steam from the kitchen does not penetrate the lights. The surfaces of the lights are also easy to clean. Good impact resistance ensures that the light fixtures can withstand impact so parts of it will not be scattered around the space, ”Penttinen explains.
The ice restaurant in the snow experience space is decorated with a fairy tale castle theme and it's the perfect venue for weddings and other events. "The venue offers princesses their fairy tale castle wedding with an ice sculpted pumpkin carriage and everything", Koutonen says.
Lights as part of the interior
The lights in almost all the areas attached to the main building are connected to the DALI control system.
The DALI system allowed us to create a versatile operating system and the light dimming feature has proved to be very useful. The wall panels and the operating system are equipped with automated settings, such as the northern lights setting which dims the space with a press of a button. The light levels can also be adjusted by hand", Penttinen explains.
”It's important that the lights can be adjusted to suit everyone in the work space. Some prefer to work in better lit areas than others", Koutonen says.
The office space, the souvenir shop and the reception area are illuminated with C90 and C95 module lights. Their clear and minimalistic shape lights every corner of the space. "The light fixtures are also interior elements in these areas and an important part of the architecturally stylish space,” Koutonen continues.
The technical spaces, service rooms and the safari service areas are illuminated with i60 lights. The i80 and i85 lights are fitted to the high ceilings of the maintenance areas and the loading bays. They are extremely durable and efficiently light the work areas.
Clean energy from nature
The experience space is 400 m2 in size and contains more than 100 000 kilos of natural ice.
"Many of our foreign visitors have only seen ice in their cocktail glass. Here they get to marvel at the enormous ice cubes cut from the sea and the river. We are also telling a story about the freezing of the Finnish waters and the clean snow", Koutonen rejoices.
Renewable energy and sustainable energy use are the corner stones of the SnowCastle area operation.
There is a solar plant on the roof of the main building. The buildings are heated with geothermal heating and cooled with geothermal wells. Waste heat is salvaged and used to heat the water.
"Kemi is the first city in Mainland Finland with the ISO 14001 environmental certification. We want to do our share to keep the city green and produce as much of the energy we require as possible", Koutonen states.
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