What makes a building of the future?

Monday 18th October, 2021

What makes a building of the future?


It’s important to dream – to imagine and plan for a better world for future generations. We spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, so when we think about what a building of the future might look like, we start to realise that they are spaces that are designed around us – the people who use them.

It’s safe to say that the decisions we make today will shape our futures for years to come. When we think about buildings of the future, we often envision ultra-modern, gravity-defying shards of glass and metal, stretching into the clouds – and this vision isn’t wrong – however, the buildings we are in right now will likely still be needed throughout the next fifty years. With the technology we have at our disposal today, and the innovations we can already see emerging, it is already possible to update the building you are currently in and bring it up to the specification of the most modern new build.

We specialise in intelligent lighting solutions. This year, we celebrate our centennial anniversary, a milestone in our journey of discovery, innovation, and reinvention. Our mission is to create future-proof spaces that harness data and generate insights, whilst integrating with building systems to form the ultimate smart building. At the forefront of this mission is ensuring the optimal wellbeing of people and supporting sustainability for future generations.

As one of the founding members of the global DALI Alliance, we have been at the forefront of technological advancement for decades. Our journey has seen us form long-lasting partnerships with over fifty global lighting experts, and together we have brought thousands of incredible lighting projects to life in over eighty countries.

Our intelligent lighting solutions and luminaire components can be found in locations including the new Istanbul Airport in Turkey, one of the largest in the world, one of the most iconic hotels, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – you can even find Helvar in over 65% of all cruise ships in the world! But the Helvar portfolio isn’t just perfect for airports, hotels, and cruise ships… With an award-winning hybrid offering, and a full suite of lighting controls, our offering is ideal for office workspaces, schools, hospitals and much more…

The Perfect Office Lighting

Light plays an integral role in the workplace, across a range of spaces including meeting rooms, social areas, corridors, entrances, and parking areas. Human-centric lighting is key to promoting a good mood, healthy sleep patterns and increased productivity at work. It has also been shown to mitigate common workplace ailments including eye strain and headaches, thereby improving workplace morale, reducing absences, and boosting overall wellbeing!

Since most office workers spend almost a quarter of their year at work, it’s clear that workplace lighting can have a significant impact on our overall wellbeing and lifestyle. So, how can we provide optimal working conditions for the users of these spaces? Our lighting experts are here to help.

In 2020, The Helvar HQ in Finland was the first office in the Nordics to receive a Gold WELL V2 Accreditation, and the fifth of its kind in Europe! One of the key elements that helped the team to achieve this award was the lighting design within the office. By harnessing both DALI wired and wireless lighting solutions, the Helvar HQ exceeds the standard lighting requirements for office spaces, with elements including high lumen outputs supporting concentration and circadian lighting profiles designed to facilitate productivity and comfort.


This year, we are incredibly proud to launch our latest innovation to the market: The Helvar Imagine 950 Solution.

Building on the incredible success of the Helvar Imagine range, this state-of-the-art DALI wired lighting solution offers ultimate flexibility, infinite scalability, and the freedom to design and connect like never before.

The Imagine 950 solution offers a unique blend of products, benefits and features above and beyond the DALI-2 Standard. The Imagine 950 Router is the latest DALI-2 multi-master application controller, launched alongside a range of certified Helvar controls, panels, sensors, gateways and applications.

Since DALI-2 is an open standard, the Imagine 950 enables multi-vendor compatibility, offering the flexibility to connect with different suppliers, both now and in the future. With digital system reconfiguration, this adaptable system removes the need for costly re-wiring when spatial needs change over time. Future additions, alterations and improvements are easy when compared with other manufacturer’s own protocols or traditional circuited lighting – and networking with Imagine 950 is simple. The lighting and controls all share the simple DALI network which is very robust and cost effective, being topology and polarity free.

With the Imagine 950 Solution, it’s easy to communicate with many common protocols and building systems such as BACnet, OPC, TCP/IP, Rest API and Tridium Niagara. This communication enables seamless integration with Building Management (BMS) and other systems including HVAC, Blinds, Security, Fire and Audio-Visual Systems, providing ultimate visibility and control of a building.

Our key focus is the wellbeing of people – at Helvar, we are true human-centric lighting experts. The Imagine 950 Solution provides access to our Light over Time™ software, which offers the creation of custom circadian lighting profiles, where brightness and colour temperature are fine-tuned throughout the day to support optimal circadian rhythms. The programming flexibility of Light over Time makes it suitable for a range of applications including office workspaces, where light can have a significant impact on concentration, wellbeing and alertness.


But the Imagine 950 Solution isn’t the only Helvar innovation… The all-new ActiveAhead Generation 2 is our intelligent wireless lighting control solution. Recently awarded the ‘Lighting Controls Product of the Year 2020 by Frost & Sullivan, this advancement is the world’s first artificial intelligence-based lighting control system. Its unique self-learning capabilities provide ultimate efficiency in setup and operations.

ActiveAhead will continuously learn and generate insights, optimising the ever-evolving smart buildings. This solution is perfect for offices, warehouses, stairways, and parking garages, as it learns the way a space is used, and reduces usage in a smart way – adapting to changes in space usage almost instantly, whilst the ActiveAhead nodes dim the lighting when not required.

Luminaires fitted with ActiveAhead are incredibly quick to install – simply fit the luminaires to their intended position and switch on the mains – there’s no control wiring, programming or configuration needed. The recent installation at YIT Headquarters in Finland was set-up over a lunch break, which meant minimal installation time and minimal office disruption. The recent addition of wireless Tunable White lighting control ensures that users can fine-tune their desk lighting to best suit their needs, offering a customisable human-centric lighting solution for all occupants, either through the ActiveAhead app, or via a QR code on each desk.


The Helvar vision of a truly sustainable office reaches new heights with the introduction of Helvar Insights, our cloud-based digital services platform. Helvar Insights enables the harvesting of occupancy data directly from Helvar sensors. Through analysis and reporting, it’s possible to see exactly how any space is being used. Occupancy data is key to maximising usage of a building, minimising costs and ensuring sufficient capacity at any given time. With features such as heat-mapping, users can remotely see the usage at any time, for any site.

Additional features such as PIR time-out reports mean users can identify where energy savings can be made, offering additional cost saving opportunities. The Ramboll Office Headquarters in Finland has already achieved impressive energy savings by utilising this occupancy data alongside a hybrid wired/wireless lighting control solution.

With 100 years of expertise, we’re proud to be playing our part in making the buildings we use more efficient, and better designed for the people who use them. With a range of market-leading wired and wireless lighting solutions, it’s clear to see that the journey towards shaping a sustainable smart building of the future just got a whole lot easier.

Helvar – Turning Everyday Places into Brighter Spaces

Interested in learning how Helvar can help you achieve lower energy costs, increase user wellbeing, and future-proof your space?
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