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.
Who said that convalescent and care buildings for the older generation must be grey, standardised and boring? Answer: Most likely no one. Nonetheless, there are many such constructions in Norway. Precisely why Luranetunet in Os Municipality has garnered so much attention. Broadly speaking, a supervised residential and convalescent centre that in many ways is how we usually think of them – but it offers something more: Situated at 60 degrees north, twenty or so kilometres south of Bergen, a tropical garden has been built as an integrated component of the centre. 1300 square metres of covered garden, filled with tropical plants, a fish pond and “Bamboo Bar”.
“When we celebrated the opening in wintry November, we numbered 120 sat at the tables, but the lighting and garden surrounding us created such an atmosphere that we could be forgiven for thinking we were instead sitting in sunny Southern Europe.” Aud Winsents, Unit Manager at Luranetunet, speaks fondly of the unique garden in her charge.
“The garden’s very popular. It’s become like an in-house venue for us, where we hold numerous leisure activities, such as singing, drawing courses, afternoon tea, movie evenings. We have taken these activities out of rooms into the open, tropical surroundings. We also have a koi fish pond. We built the “Bamboo Bar”, where we serve cordial/juice and water, and have evening functions where beer and wine are also an option,” says Winsents.
In total, Luranetunet has 155 residents living in nine different divisions, a tenth will be completed in 2019, which will increase the number of places to 175. The centre offers both nursing care places and residential apartments with 24-hour supervision, and the garden enables the elderly to venture “outside” all year round. A common room, so to speak, for both users and family members. A number of benches have been placed conveniently, and the garden can also be enjoyed from a gallery on the second floor.
1400 plants, divided into 35-50 different species, are the source for creating the luxuriant atmosphere. A vital component that enables the plants to thrive and grow, is the lighting. Glamox has supplied luminaires for the entire centre, no less than 1500 in total; of which a wide assortment are installed in the garden. Here are bollard lights, park luminaires, and underwater lighting in the koi pond. Of particular interest are the floodlights with so-called RGB technology (Red-Green-Blue). Red LED light specifically ensures better plant growth.
“The lighting is toned down in the evening and at night, and we are delighted with the solutions that were selected. There has been no negative feedback, in fact, quite the opposite,” says Unit Manager Aud Winsents.
More alert and energetic with Human Centric Lighting
All rooms at Luratunet, the construction of which was completed in the autumn of 2017, have been fitted with modern LED luminaires. One section has also been fitted with the so-called HCL solution (Human Centric Lighting). This is a lighting solution that imitates daylight in intensity and colour temperature, which can also affect us humans, biologically. HCL can provide positive effects to our mood, quality of sleep, wellbeing and job performance.
“We haven’t undertaken any scientific research, but the reports so far from staff working there, are that they have noticed a significant difference. They feel they are more alert and have more energy, mentioning there is a better atmosphere. They often use the areas as a pleasure walk for the joy of the experience,” says Aud Winsents.
Open to all
“This isn’t primarily an institution, it’s first and foremost a home”, Tor Inge Døsen told the local newspaper when the tropical garden was officially opened in November 2017. Døsen is a former project manager at Os Municipality, who took the initiative to build the distinctive garden. All who want to visit are welcome, as both the municipality and Luranetunet are eager for the garden to be a vibrant place where people can meet at their leisure. Luranetunet’s older residents are also able to have ‘get-togethers’ here, such as birthday celebrations and similar with family and friends in “Diamanten”, (“the Diamond”), a popular meeting place in our very own tropical garden.
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