Through research we now know that light affects us not just visually, but also non-visually. Traditionally lighting quality was only described visually within a space by stating the illuminance within the working area and its immediate surroundings. However, research has shown that ambient lighting, the lighting of walls and the ceiling, has a significant effect on us both biologically and emotionally (non-visually). The level of ambient light is important for our alertness and therefore our ability to perform over time.

The VBE index is a model that describes a way to interpret the lighting experience within a room visually, biologically and emotionally.

The aim of the VBE index is to describe the subjective lighting experience – where all parameters have significance and can be weighted differently depending on the type of room and the activity. The model aims to be a support and communication tool in the dialogue between the buyer and the lighting planner and can be used for different types of environment, e.g. work, restaurant and care environments. The template can also be used as a basis for evaluating the existing facility.

The model for the evaluation of the quality of the lighting solution, with man in the centre, is based on a subjective evaluation of the visual, biological and emotional aspects where the overall perception of a lighting solution is taken into consideration.

The different parts are individually evaluated and the sum gives a total VBE index through the use of certain assumed parameters and the value of these. The better the correspondence with the input parameters, the higher the overall points for VBE.

Aspects of the VBE index

The visual aspects

Include the more traditional fundamental values such as the visibility of an object, visual comfort, contrast, glare etc. over time.

The biological aspects

Are primarily due to our biological clock – the body’s endocrinal hormone secretion and its influence on our alertness, wellbeing and performance both during the day and for the different seasons. Research shows that the body is mainly affected by the level of ambient light and its spectral composition.

The emotional aspects

Are the most subjective – how we generally perceive the light in a room, the colour of surroundings and the light’s colour, dynamic and comfort over time.