Automation & Human-Centric Lighting

Automation & Human-Centric Lighting

Human-Centric Lighting (HCL) has proven over the years to be one of the most pleasant and biologically compatible lighting applications in sync with the human circadian rhythm. Given its complex nature, there are not a few who have pondered how it can be implemented, what its cost is, and how easily or difficultly they can maintain such a system.

The change in white light temperature over a 24-hour period.

The building automation system comes to provide solutions to this exact need and concern, offering very user-friendly and cost-effective tools. To implement a human-centric lighting system, we first need a suitable light source. This could be a luminaire with two channels, one for cool white and one for warm white, or an LED strip or any other light source, but it must have two channels, one cool and one warm. In the market, it is primarily known as “tunable white,” but other terms may be used, such as “dynamic white” or simply 2700-6500K, etc.

Next, building automation takes over. The most common tools we use to achieve this mix are DALI in combination with KNX.

These two systems have proven to be an excellent combination, with DALI for lighting management and KNX for building automation. In recent years, the market has introduced the latest DALI protocol, DT8, which is designed for managing tunable white applications like human-centric lighting.

In summary, DT8 allows control via a DALI address without the need to intervene in details like the intensity of lighting elements when changing color temperature, providing a balanced result regardless of any changes.

With the older protocols (DT6), switching between cool and warm lighting inevitably resulted in a change in light intensity.
With DT8, the transition now happens very smoothly, without annoying fluctuations in intensity.


Finally, on the KNX side, there are now DALI gateways that incorporate human-centric lighting functionality. Essentially, all that is required is to provide a trigger signal for when we want such a system to be activated. For example, we can set it to start the human-centric lighting scenario at 7:00 in the morning and have it complete the entire cycle throughout the day until 7:00 in the evening, with small, imperceptible steps for the human eye.

The significant advantage of these systems is that they are open protocols and do not tie installers to specific manufacturers. All major lighting companies manufacture DALI luminaires, and over 500 electrical equipment companies manufacture KNX devices. Additionally, there are more than 2500 KNX programmers in Greece at this moment, providing a wide variety of choices for the end consumer to select according to their preferences.

Is HCL possible without KNX?

Naturally, the question arises as to whether human-centric lighting is possible without systems like KNX. The answer is yes, of course. There are systems that exclusively deal with lighting, such as Invetronics’ DALI eco, or DIY (do-it-yourself) systems like WIZZ. In these cases, you won’t have the capabilities that a system like KNX can support, but they can offer an affordable solution without significant installation requirements for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of human-centric lighting.

Now, we can say that human-centric lighting is not a luxury but an affordable necessity for all people.

Text Editor: Georgios Mermingis – KNX Tutor & Building Technologies Engineer

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