Comparing Tunable LED Systems to Conventional Lighting in Senior Care Centers

LDS LRC logo 400

July 27, 2022

By Lighting Research Center

In senior care centers, tunable LED lighting system retrofits can save energy, reduce operating costs, and improve quality of life for occupants when compared to outdated fluorescent systems that are still used in many facilities nationwide. For example, the ability to dim and tune the color of hallway lighting overnight can provide a more suitable sleeping environment for residents by reducing the light that spills into their rooms. Further, tuning the color and increasing the intensity during the day can create greater contrast between daytime and nighttime environments, which can support biophilic design goals and circadian alignment with natural light/dark cycles. A recent study suggests that LED tunable lighting system retrofits can offer energy savings and reduced costs, along with the possibility of improved quality of life for residents.

The study, “Lighting in Senior Care Centers: Comparing Tunable LED Systems to Conventional Lighting Systems in Four Senior Care Centers,” partnered Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) with Energy Performance Lighting and Midwest Lighting Institute to evaluate lighting conditions in four Wisconsin skilled nursing facilities. Two of the care centers received white-tunable LED lighting system upgrades while the other two centers served as control locations and maintained their existing fluorescent lighting systems during the study period.

Overall, the LED retrofits resulted in more than a 60% reduction in lighting energy use, and greater energy savings were realized through a dimming schedule intended to support restful sleep. In the corridors and dining rooms, energy savings were even higher: 79% compared to the fluorescent systems. On-site lighting measurements verified the ability of the tunable lighting system to provide more light and higher correlated color temperature (CCT) during daytime hours and lower light levels and CCT in the evening hours, as shown in the figure below.


“The PNNL research into tunable lighting is invaluable as a resource for architects developing senior living facilities to provide environments that contribute to improved health and wellness of the residents,” said Scott Fitzgerald, associate principal at Perkins Eastman, an architecture firm with a large senior living practice that was not involved in this study. “Having research that validates the benefits of lighting tuned to circadian rhythms is critical to wider adoption of the technology in the healthcare and senior living practices.”

The energy saved from replacing fluorescent lighting with LED is clear and significant, as validated in this study. For senior care centers contemplating a retrofit, tunability is also worth considering because it enables adjustments to the luminous environment which are particularly important in creating contrast between daytime and nighttime light levels and CCT. Results of the study suggest that the cost-saving retrofit design strategies, careful technology selection, and automated lighting control strategies employed in these care centers not only provided substantial energy savings but also produced an easy-to-maintain, functional lighting system that effectively improved the quality of light and life for senior care residents.

Go HERE to download the full report

Related Articles

Changing Scene

  • Jaime Bishop Named Vice President of Sales at LightForm

    LightForm is thrilled to announce the appointment of Jaime Bishop as the new Vice President of Sales. For 20 years, Jaime has significantly contributed to the company’s growth and success. Among her many achievements, she is particularly proud of launching the careers of numerous talented, design-minded teammates and collaborating with creative individuals to transform spaces… Read More…

  • Leviton Achieves 29% Decrease in Overall GHG Emissions from 2021 to 2023

    Leviton recently announced that it achieved a 29% drop in overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the 2021 baseline year, a major step towards the goal of becoming carbon neutral company-wide by the year 2030 with their CN2030 program. Through on-site renewable energy generation, accelerated energy efficiency efforts, moving to renewable and clean energy providers,… Read More…


  • Resilience Illuminated: Reviving Westminster Pier Park After Devastating Fire

    Resilience Illuminated: Reviving Westminster Pier Park After Devastating Fire

    In September 2020, the picturesque city of New Westminster near Vancouver in British Columbia suffered a devastating setback when an intentionally set fire destroyed much of the city’s waterfront park, including its urban beach, sand volleyball courts, and iconic art installation known as Wow Westminster. The fire, which burned for ten days before firefighters could… Read More…

  • Lumentruss Case Study: The Honeyrose Hotel’s Beautiful Redesign

    Lumentruss Case Study: The Honeyrose Hotel’s Beautiful Redesign

    May 30, 2024 A unique example of intimate spaces created using Lumentruss products at the Honeyrose Hotel. HONEYROSE Hotel, Montreal, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. The beautifully inspired Art Deco boutique hotel located in the heart of Montreal is an exemplary demonstration of integrating layers of light into the architectural design to bring the architecture to… Read More…

New Products

  • WaveLinx LITE Node from Cooper Lighting Solutions

    WaveLinx LITE Node from Cooper Lighting Solutions

    The WaveLinx LITE Node (OEM-WLN) is a wireless to 0-10V control module designed to be integrated into the luminaire. The LITE Node offers two continuous 0-10V output channels that can be used to control dim-to-off 0-10V LED drivers with auxiliary power. The device has a built-in 802.15.1 radio (Bluetooth) that is used to communicate with other WaveLinx… Read More…

  • Peerless Electric: Peerlux Series ECR-G Luminaire

    Peerless Electric: Peerlux Series ECR-G Luminaire

    Introducing Peerless Electric’s ECR-G luminaire, part of the Peerlux Series, a germicidal luminaire for suspended mounting with aircraft cables. Designed to help clean the air of bacteria, fungi, their spores and inactivating viruses by destroying their ability to replicate. A stylish linear fixture that provides indirect UVc disinfection. Read More…