Highlands Sports Complex WELL


Light Concept Intent

The WELL Light concept promotes exposure to light and aims to create lighting environments that are optimal for visual, mental and biological health. 

L01: Light Exposure and Education

Focus: to provide access to indoor light exposure and light education

Why it's Important:

Mammals function on an approximately 24-hour cycle, following what are referred to as circadian rhythms. Light is the main driver of the circadian system, which controls body processes such as digestion, the release of certain hormones, body temperature and sleep. Humans evolved their sleep schedules to be dependent on the natural day-night cycle. Electric light has only been widely used as a source of light for less than 200 years. The increase in the use of electric lighting has led to indoor environments relying on electric light over daylight. However, reduced exposure to light has been linked to the onset of depression and impairment of cognitive function in individuals. Irregular sleep-wake cycles have been linked to poorer academic performance in college students. Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Studies have shown that light exposure during daytime has been linked to increases in productivity and sleep quality in individuals. Light exposure has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Providing indoor access to daylight can positively influence the productivity and mood of individuals while supporting the alignment of their circadian rhythms with the natural day-night cycle.

What We're Doing:

Regular building occupants have unrestricted access to indoor common spaces with unassigned seating that accommodates at least 15% of regular building occupants at any given time. The spaces are located within the project boundary and each meets the following requirement:

70% of all seating in the space is within 5 m [16 ft] of transparent envelope glazing with views to the exterior. Visible light Transmittance (VLT) of envelope glazing is greater than 40%.

Light Education

Highlands Sports Complex integrates lighting education into its online resource clearinghouse as well as into its onsite digital displays that run 100% of the time. Evidence-based topics such as Circadian Rhythm and sleep hygiene are explored both online and onsite.

L02: Visual Lighting Design

Focus: to provide visual comfort and enhance acuity for all users through electric lighting.

Why it's Important:

Humans perceive the world through visual cues that are received through images formed on the retina of the eye. The light levels in a space can enhance the user’s ability to perform tasks in that space while contributing to the feeling of spaciousness. The age of the individual is also a factor in the amount of light required for visual acuity. As humans age, the transmission of light through their lenses is reduced. This is due to age-related changes including increased light absorption by the lenses, smaller pupil size, increased scattering of light due to thicker lenses and yellowing of the lenses. This aging of the eye indicates that an increase in light levels is required to ensure visual acuity. Visual abilities of individuals are dependent on the properties of the lighting environment and the light entering the eye. Visibility and the ability to perform a task require a minimum threshold of illuminance, which may be achieved by incorporating electric lighting with adequate daylighting strategies.

How We Achieve This:

Indoor and outdoor spaces, including areas of transition, at Highlands Sports Complex demonstrates compliance with IES Lighting Handbook 10th Edition or IES Lighting Library.

The lighting plan for Highlands Sports Complex takes into account:

Tasks and activities taken into account in the complex’s lighting design, height of work plan and target of illumination, and the age ranges for the majority of the complex’s occupants.

L05: Enhanced Daylight Access

Focus: to support circadian and psychological health through indoor daylight exposure and outdoor views.

Why it's Important:

Humans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. The way buildings are designed has an enormous impact on occupant exposure to daylight. Exposure to daylight has been proven to have a substantial impact on mood, circadian health and productivity. For example, studies have associated lack of exposure to daylight with a disruption in the circadian rhythms of humans and a decrease in quality of sleep. Rooms with large windows reduce recovery time for patients suffering from severe depression and those recuperating after heart attacks, compared to similarly afflicted patients in rooms with windows facing buildings or other obstructions. Exposure to daylight for at least three hours a day was found to reduce stress and increase satisfaction at work for nurses working in a hospital. Window characteristics have also been found to have an impact on students’ performance in schools. Students have been shown to perform better when they have access to windows that can be opened. Studies also show strong links between quality of views in office environments and performance of employees. Providing users with daylight in a space provides visual, emotional and physiological benefits. Daylight contributes to light levels, thus helping with the performance of visual tasks in a space, while exposure to daylight has been proven to have positive impacts on mood and is an integral requirement for circadian rhythm alignment.

How Is this Achieved:

In spaces where our employees work, 70% of all workstations are within 7.5 m [25 ft] of transparent envelope glazing or atria. Visible light transmittance (VLT) of transparent glazing is greater than 40%. As well as, lighting in those spaces have a view factor of 3 or greater. Views with a vertical view angle of at least 30 degrees from occupant facing forward or sideways provide a direct line of sight to the ground or sky providing our employees with lighting that is conducive to productivity and physical and emotional comfort.

WELL Education Library

The Highlands Sports Complex is a WELL Building, certified by the International WELL Building Institute. For additional resources and information, please visit our WELL Education Library.

We provide websites to search for resources concerning human and community health as it is influenced by the built environment.

If you are interested in learning more about how light affects Circadian Rhythm, Metabolism, and Sleep Hygiene, check out our Light WELL Education Library.