Lighting Considerations in Healthcare Applications: An Extrapolation from Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification Guidelines (EDAC)

Presented by: Cherif M. Amor, PhD & Kevin H. Woolley, PhD

Introduction/Issue Lighting impacts users’ psychological and physiological well-being. In healthcare interior design applications, a growing body of knowledge is emerging relative to the psychology of behavior (privacy, territoriality, personal space); human perception and cognition (wayfinding, semantics of the built environment, and aesthetics); and environmental risk assessment (stress and stressors, environmental pollution, and security) (Kopec, 2006; Bechtel & Churchman, 2002; Stewart-Pollack & Menconi, 2005). While there is a growing body of literature relative to environmental related activities (e.g., wayfinding , perception, cognitive mapping, privacy), and their behavioral consequences (happiness, stress, anxiety, and arousal), there is a lack of data relative to lighting design strategies in emergency waiting rooms, which educators can adopt in their projects’ pedagogy. Then, the question would be how design educators address the present deficiency? The purpose of this study is to 1) identify lighting design techniques that address environmental related activities (i.e., wayfinding) and their behavioral consequences (i.e., stress), and 2) to examine the impact of the adoption of these lighting techniques on the project’s process and product. Methodology To do so, an interior design junior course, including 20 students, served as the setting and sampling for the present teaching report. Using an evidence-based design approach, as extrapolated from the Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification guidelines (EDAC, 2011) including 4 of the 8 steps: 1) define evidence-based goals and objectives, 2) find sources for relevant evidence, 3) critically interpret relevant evidence, and 4) create and innovate evidence-based design concepts. The remaining EDAC steps 5-8 (develop a hypothesis, collect baseline performance measures, monitor implementation of design and construction, and measure post-occupancy performance results) were not included in this report as they were related to performance, implementation and post-occupancy evaluation of completed projects. Students were required to address the design needs of an existing emergency waiting room, taking into account 1) the aforementioned EDAC steps, 2) art for lighting considerations, extrapolated from Michel Lou’s (1995) The Shape of Space: Designing with Space and Light, and 3) lighting for behavioral considerations, extrapolated from Pollack & Menconi(2005) Designing for privacy and related needs. Discussion Findings suggest that the use of Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) guidelines generated well-evidenced holistic design solutions. Likewise, the EDAC guidelines paved the way for the establishment of well-informed design concepts, and facilitated the development of well-evidenced subsequent design phases—schematic, preliminary and final outcomes. Important findings suggest that the combination of lighting for artistic considerations (phototropism, tenebrism, metaterism, interspatial brightness, and others) and lighting for behavioral considerations (relaxation, spaciousness, pleasantness, and others) provided pedagogic holistic solutions that included not only environmental related activities, but also their behavioral consequences. Other reflections on the findings of the present teaching report relative to the combination of the Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification guidelines, behavioral and artistic lighting considerations will be discussed with the conference attendees for feedback.


  • Bechtel, R., & Churchman, A. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of environmental psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.
  • Kopec, D. (2012). Environmental psychology for design (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Fairchild Publication, Inc.
  • Malone, E., Nanda, U., & Harmsen, C. (2008). An Introduction to Evidence-Based Design: Exploring Healthcare and Design (EDAC Study Guides, Volume 1). The Center for Health Design, Inc.
  • Michel, L. (1995). Light: The shape of space designing with space and light. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Stewart-Pollack & Menconi, R. (2005). Designing for privacy and related needs. New York, NY: Fairchild Publication, Inc.