But color rendering, crucial to making a building more comfortable, is often forgotten.
All lights have a color rendering index (CRI): a number on a scale of 1-100 that describes whether a light shows many colors or few colors to the human eye.
When people are outside in natural daylight, they will see a wide variety of different colors. If those same people go inside a building that has low-CRI lights, their eyes will see a more limited range of colors. It will feel less comfortable for them — even if they don’t quite know why.
Keep in mind: CRI is different from color temperature — which can tell how close a light will resemble natural daylight. Both are important for overall comfort and atmosphere.
Invest in lights with high CRI
A light bulb’s CRI is listed on the packaging; it’s easy to find it and factor it into light-buying decisions. Many light bulbs are competing in the CRI space so it won’t be hard to find some companies are trying to stand out.
While an incandescent light can have a near-perfect CRI, a fluorescent light typically has a CRI of 70.
LED lights, which require less maintenance over time than traditional light bulbs, can range in CRI scores from low 80s to the high 90s.
It may seem like an unusual thing to spend extra money on, but CRI can have a tremendous impact on the building’s comfort level and overall atmosphere.
At Bay Efficiency, we conduct building energy audits and often advise clients to consider comfort over cost. Buying bulbs with higher CRI is a small investment that can help building occupants have a better daily experience.