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Better lighting the next bright idea in improving productivity?

A consortium of major building companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations is exploring the connection between productivity and a well-lit workplace.

The Light Right Consortium hopes to quantify the relationship between the lighted environment and human and organizational benefits and translate the results into the workplace. Their project, which has been managed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since the group formed in 1998, includes a four-year scientific analysis that began in 2000.

The analysis employs research models and tools from disciplines such as psychology, human factors, ergonomics and econometrics. The project includes laboratory experiments, field studies and demographic research.

As the research activities continue, Light Right will work to eliminate the market barriers to worker-friendly lighting and increase awareness of the concept of "ergonomic lighting." Consortium members share a common interest in conserving resources, promoting new and better lighting products and improving workplace environments.

The project's proposed next phase involves developing a tool based on research results that would help people predict the benefits of ergonomic lighting and make informed purchasing decisions.

The group contends that beyond initial costs and energy savings, those making building lighting choices should consider human and business benefits. If better lighting leads to improved comfort and mood, it also could translate into higher staff retention and worker output.

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