Rutronik News

Let there be light

  Newsletter Article

The winter season officially arrived and with the end of the daylight saving time we got an extra hour of sleep. Even though it was on the weekend, what doesn’t help us employees at all. At the same time it will be dark one hour earlier in the evening and this during a time when the days are already getting shorter every day. For most of us this means we come to work while it is still dark and we leave work once it’s dark again. This affects our mood and not only this - the dull weather outside is tiring.

The daylight saving time is a controversial topic since its introduction in 1980. Whilst lots of countries in the European Union already put the daylight saving time into place during the oil crises in 1973 in order to reduce energy consumption, the former Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR didn’t institute it until 1980. The reason: As the wall was already separating the East from the West there shouldn’t be a time difference breaking Germany even further apart. Despite the pressure from the FRG the government of the GDR wasn't willing to cooperate on this subject – until they suddenly announced in 1979 that they would take on their “responsibility as important transit country” (Wolfgang Rauchfuß, Minister of material management) and therefore introduce the daylight saving time in April 1980.  

In a hurry West Germany adjusted their time system as well with the corresponding chaos: The federal railroad had to reprint ten thousands of train schedules and more the 80.000 clocks in the train stations had to be adjusted in time. Even though the German unity was established on the clock-face, the summertime remained a controversial topic. A quick Google search reveals a vast number of petitions, webpages, facebook-groups and a position paper from the CDU/CSU party in the parliament from the beginning of 2017 which all advocate the abolishment of the daylight saving time.

All discussions for and against it, all studies about the use or the nonsense of the summer time, don’t change the fact that it is dark, cold and that we are tired – what makes us more prone to depression and diseases,and thus reduces our productivity. For that reason scientists and architects deal with the question how to use light to counteract the negative effects on humans in the most efficient way.

This is especially interesting in the office where the ideal light spectrum can keep employees from getting tired. This also applies to smartphones which adjust their light spectrum to the ambient light during the day, but in the evening they reduce the blue light from their spectrum so that the user has no problems falling asleep. As you can see the lighting design helps us to improve our everyday life indoors and also outdoors where pedestrians are guided by illuminated sidewalks.

Not only this but with the right amount of artificial light we will be able to avoid supply bottlenecks in future megacities: Horticulture Lighting is the key for it. With this technology plants are supposed to grow faster and in a more efficient way. For example if you use LEDs with a wave length of 660 nanometers to grow tomatoes this has a positive effect on the number of fruits they carry. Also a light source with a wavelength of 470 nanometers will benefit the growth of a cucumber and create a fresh and dry biomass. On the contrary 455 nanometers will decline the growth rate of a cucumber even though they both appear to us as blue light.

In conclusion: With the right lighting the winter time in the office is going to be like vacation in the south pacific. Where palm trees are growing, coconuts are ripening, a place where we are getting tanned while working and the carpet is being replaced by sand. A place where the speakers are playing sounds of the ocean accompanied by soft music in the background.  Employee satisfaction can be accomplished so easily and then the old changing of the clock can go to a place where the sun doesn’t shine…