Can better lighting improve your bottom line? The research says “yes.”  Studies have shown that proper lighting can lead to higher worker productivity and job performance. If you care about the bottom line, read on.

Lighting and Productivity

In what might be the most frequently cited study on the influence of lighting and productivity, Green Building and the Bottom Line, researchers at the Rocky Mountain Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy found a significant bottom line reward in investing in an improved lighting system. The study looked at eight businesses from various industries who were looking to update their lighting systems, comparing pre to post redesign metrics.

‘Bottom-line’ metrics were determined using the same data types that the companies were already measuring prior to the study. That same data was compared to data collected for the the first year the new lighting was in place.  The study found that in each case, there were real-dollar bottom-line benefits for the businesses after the improvements were made. Example productivity increases included, improved quality control, higher number of revenue generating actions, and reduced absenteeism.



The study also measures the amount of energy savings for each company, which were also significant. Here’s a snapshot of those numbers:




While the study offers compelling evidence for the benefits of quality green lighting, it also includes a word of advice.

“Will just any energy retrofit produce gains in productivity? No, only those designs and actions that improve visual acuity and thermal comfort seem to result in these gains.”


The study emphasized the importance of considering the employee and consumer when making lighting decisions relevant to your business. Focusing on these areas specifically seems to elicit the highest return in productivity.

This study was done in the mid-to-late 90s, and was unfortunately not able to measure the today’s far more efficient LEDs.   So what about newer LEDs? Are there studies about their impact on productivity?  Not exactly.  But there is a 2010 study that did measure “visual acuity” (as mentioned above)  and performance comparing florescent lighting to newer LEDs. Let’s take a look.

LED Lighting and Performance

Effects of Four Workplace Lighting Technologies on Perception, Cognition, and Affective State by B.K. Hawes is a study from 2010, that compared four lighting technologies (one florescent, and three LEDs) in order to determine the performance difference in specific tasks under each lighting condition. The results were significant, and showed that those tested working under LED lighting performed better on visual and cognitive tasks than did those in florescent conditions. The results showed:

“LED appears to support positive mood, extended wakefulness, and speeded performance on both visual perceptual and cognitive tasks.”

So, there you have it. Investing in LED lighting can improve your bottom-line in the form of increased productivity, on top of the energy savings you’ve already come to expect.  


If you want to read more about these studies you can download our Lighting and Workplace Productivity research brief.