Experimental study of light at the psychiatric ward


The Psychiatric Ward in Ballerup, for patients with eating disorders.

The new psychiatric ward for patients with eating disorders in Ballerup has now opened for patients. It features an innovative dynamic lighting solution, that will now be tested as part of the Lighting Metropolis research work.  It’s one of the project’s flagship demos within biological lighting in Greater Copenhagen, and unique in its scope internationally.

A vast number of studies have shown, that light influences mood, with the most evident example being in seasonal affective disorders, where treatment consists of frequent exposure to intense broad-spectrum lighting. Since emotions are dysregulated in eating disorders (ED) and depression is a frequent accompanying disorder, researchers believe that exposing patients to intense broad-spectrum light will stabilize mood and reduce signs of depression.

The objective of the research study is to explore, if and how artificial lighting affects symptoms of ED. If an influence of artificial lighting on symptoms of eating disorders is indicated, the study will provide information on how to improve light exposure to ED patients in psychiatric treatment units. In addition, the outcomes may help identify a better system for measurement and adjustment of the specific light variables of colour temperature and light intensity.

The dynamic lighting features both fixtures, management systems, control panels, sensors (thermal cameras and wristbands) and data handling.

Specific research project information:

Research period: March 15th – July 31st (4,5 months)
Clinical (blood etc.) and technical data (thermal cameras and autographs etc.) will be gathered during this period, as well as activity, humidity, weather conditions and noise levels.

Baseline + two circadian lighting scenarios:
Baseline: 24h fixed light (no change in lux or kelvin) (March 15-31)

Dynamic level 1: high intensity (high kelvin in one long peak) (April + June)
Dynamic level 2: lower intensity (changing kelvin in two shorter peaks) (May + July)

During the research period the light levels and kelvin will be fixed. After this period, a workshop with staff, 2CTRL, and others involved will discuss the circadian light from August 1st and onwards.

If you’re interested in contacting or visiting the Psychiatric Unit in Ballerup, please send a request to Flemming Jørgensen.


Patient bedroom, inspected by project members.


Patients’ common area, seen from across one of the enclosed gardens.


Thermal cameras capture patients’ movements during night time, in common areas.


Touch panel with pre-set lighting scenes.


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