Podcast examines how indoor lighting can improve energy savings, human health


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On the latest episode of the Growing Impact podcast, two researchers discuss their seed grant project that investigates how indoor lighting can be adjusted to save energy on a building’s heating and cooling and positively impact human health.

“In this work, we look at the human thermal response to the tuning of indoor lighting,” said Julian Wang, an associate professor of architectural engineering in the College of Engineering. “We did some preliminary energy analysis, and if we widen a thermostat’s set points by just one degree Celsius [in a commercial building], energy savings from air conditioning could be between 7%–15%.”

There also is a wide range of human health benefits, including productivity and wellness.

“This could have significant implications for human health and well-being, considering things like thermal comfort for sleep,” said Anne-Marie Chang, an associate professor of biobehavioral health in the College of Health and Human Development. “There are great potential opportunities for looking at residential use. Even though you might see a smaller scale in terms of energy efficiency compared to a commercial building, this could have a real impact from the consumer perspective of people in their homes wanting thermal comfort [and energy savings].”

Growing Impact is a podcast by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE). It features Penn State researchers who have been awarded IEE seed grants and discusses their foundational work as they further their projects. The podcast is available on multiple platforms, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Spotify.


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