People, Perspective

The Importance of Lighting in WELL Building Certification: A Q & A with Signify’s Meg Smith

Signify - Modified Hospital Room WELL Building


About Meg Smith
Meg Smith, LC, LEED AP, WELL AP is responsible for Signify’s Ledalite and Day-Brite professional lighting portfolios. She is a voting member of the IES Light & Human Health committee and a member of the board of the Institute of Human Centered Design. Meg has experience in specification lighting sales, new technology adoption and lighting applications research focused on light and wellbeing. She is committed to inclusive design and the goal of delivering the right light at the right place at the right time…for you.

Office design is changing – fast. Functional workspaces are giving way to engaging, comfortable and inspiring environments that prioritize occupant wellbeing. The right indoor lighting can go a long way in this. Light is as fundamental to life as food, water and air, and can have a big impact on the way employees see, feel and function.

We recently caught up with Signify’s Meg Smith on making the most of one’s office lighting. She is passionate about helping the industry understand and embrace lighting design strategies to meet high-performance, “healthy building” requirements like WELL Building Certification version 2 (WELL v2).

Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

How does the WELL standard impact built environments?

Meg: WELL has distinguished itself from green building certification programs – it is opening people’s eyes to the importance of optimizing built environments for wellbeing. It’s also elevated the conversation around lighting and its impact on our visual comfort and circadian rhythms.

In particular, WELL emphasizes our need for daylighting integration within built environments.

Most of us are spending approximately 90% of our time indoors and are missing the exposure to the appropriate amounts of natural daylight, as well as the colors and dynamics of nature. We forget how important these elements are – they can affect our mood, energy levels, productivity and quality of sleep. Lighting solutions that can help recreate natural daylight patterns and that allow building occupants to reap those benefits are vital.

It’s important to remember that WELL v2 is not specific to offices, however. It can be applied to address similar issues that people experience in built environments across retail & hospitality and healthcare, for example.

The shift to WELL seems to be a win-win for all. Are there any challenges or obstacles to adoption? If so, what are they? How do you think we can overcome them?

Meg: WELL faces the same obstacles that LEED certification did nearly a decade ago and even still does to some extent. It pushes budgets to their limits. The science that supports circadian lighting design for wellbeing is also young – meaning building owners and businesses are proceeding with caution.

That said, it’s time that we come together and collaborate to define and lead a new era of workplace wellbeing. Integrative design and interaction are critical. The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) coming together was an important step. We all need to speak the same language and agree upon the metrics. Like with anything else, consistency is also key.

What can attendees expect to see from Signify at LightFair with regard to WELL?

Interact Office supports design strategies required for several WELL features. It offers personal control of light level and color temperature, and by integrating sensors, it can also monitor indoor air quality, temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions.

Meg: Our Interact Office connected lighting systems, Genlyte Solutions collection of indoor luminaire brands and NatureConnect by Signify are powerful solutions for meeting the design strategies of many pre-conditions and optimizations in WELL v2. NatureConnect specifically can help you reach the required number of points in the “Light” and “Mind and Movement” categories.

Visit Signify at booth #1349 to learn more about these lighting innovations and how they can enhance health and wellbeing.   

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