The Effect of Lighting Environment on Task Performance in Buildings - A Review

Iason Konstantzos, Seyed Sadeghi, Michael Kim, Jie Xiong, Athanasios Tzempelikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus Citations


The effects of indoor environmental conditions on human health, satisfaction, and performance have been the focus of research for decades. This paper reviews and summarizes the impact of lighting environment on task performance, specifically for the built environment audience. Existing studies included a variety of performance tests on cognitive performance and perception, visual acuity and reaction, memory, reasoning, and labor productivity. Illuminance, luminance ratio and correlated color temperature were found to affect performance in different ways, reflecting the impact of experimental techniques, conditions, performance evaluation methods used and data analysis methods. These were reviewed and categorized, with discussion on limitations related to sample size, modeling approach, carryover effects and other factors affecting individual differences in performance, with recommendations for future improvement. Although no universal conclusions can be made, in general, task performance seems to improve with higher illuminances, contrast ratios in the range of 7–11:1 (while always making sure that glare will not occur in the space) and higher correlated color temperature, while spectral tuning in the red or blue wavelengths has also shown positive effects. To obtain more generic evidence, future studies should be more consistent in terms of experimental procedures and overall light conditions, and also consider the effects of vertical illuminance, daylight provision/control, and outside views on task performance. Finally, studying performance with multi-factorial designs in a human-centered optimized manner (such as deploying variable lighting scenarios optimized for various tasks) can lead to deeper understanding of lighting effects on task performance, and ultimately to improved lighting design and operation in buildings overall.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110394
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-77812


  • Experimental designs
  • Lighting environment
  • Performance assessment methods
  • Task performance


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