I've been wanting to share this study with people for a while. In my experience the light thing helps to a degree, but not as much as other concepts - it just depends on what sort of engineer you are I suppose. I think you could somehow creatively fit this into some sort of app or smart house - it depends. It might add some answer to part of your questions. The environmental part? Not so much probably. I'll just present the concept anyway - it involves nutrition.
I've used what this study concludes too and it works. It's essentially just saying "eat protein, have more energy in the morning." I know everyone says that, but I want to cite it.
Overgeneralized Preface: Tyrosine levels in the brain tend to cause the brain to make more dopamine or other types of chemicals, "catechlomines," that give a person energy. Coffee causes more of these to release in your brain. Amphetamines...much more so. Tyrosine is the building-block for these chemicals in your brain though.
Brain levels of tryptophan are the same thing except it will cause your serotonin levels to rise and make you either tired, lazy, or could have any number of affects...but most likely, in general, those that are the opposite of the catechlomines.
Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios.
Richard J Wurtman, Judith J Wurtman, Meredith M Regan, Janine M McDermott, Rita H Tsay, and Jeff J Breu + Other Author Affiliations. From the Clinical Research Center (RJW, JJW, MMR, JMM, RHT, and JJB) and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (RJW), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Full text here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/1/128.
Background: The delivery of circulating tryptophan to the brain and its conversion to serotonin vary directly with plasma concentrations of tryptophan and inversely with those of other large neutral amino acids (LNAAs). Although carbohydrate-rich, protein-free formula diets have been shown to elevate, and high-protein diets to depress, the tryptophan-LNAA ratio, few data are available about this ratio’s responses to actual meals.
Objective: We determined whether carbohydrate-rich or protein-rich breakfasts, such as those Americans normally eat, produce substantial differences in the plasma tryptophan-LNAA ratio and in the corresponding ratio for tyrosine, the precursor of brain dopamine and norepinephrine.
Design: Nine overnight-fasted subjects consumed, 3–7 d apart, a carbohydrate-rich (69.9 g carbohydrate and 5.2 g protein) and a protein-rich (15.4 g carbohydrate and 46.8 g protein) breakfast. Blood samples collected at baseline and after 40, 80, 120, and 240 min were assayed for tryptophan, tyrosine, the 5 other LNAAs, and insulin.
Results: The carbohydrate-rich and protein-rich breakfasts had significantly different effects on both the plasma tryptophan-LNAA and tyrosine-LNAA ratios (each P < 0.01). Among the 8 subjects who consumed both breakfasts, the median difference for tryptophan:LNAA was 54% (range: 36–88%) and for tyrosine:LNAA was 28% (range: 10–64%). Insulin concentrations rose significantly after the carbohydrate but not after the protein meal.
Conclusions: High-carbohydrate and high-protein breakfasts similar to those Americans normally eat can cause substantial differences in the plasma tryptophan ratio and thus, probably, in brain tryptophan concentrations and serotonin synthesis. Such meals also change the plasma tyrosine ratio and may thereby modify catecholamine synthesis.
As a general summary: if you eat a breakfast with a much higher ratio of protein to carbohydrates then you're likely to have more energy to start your day off with. Whereas if you just eat donuts for breakfast you're much more likely to fall asleep at your desk.
There are many other studies and I believe I really came across a huge one that is a derivative of this work (or vice-versa) that stated the same thing - I just don't have the time to find it although I'm sure if you look around that link at the top of the study you'll find plenty of evidence.
I know this isn't really about light or immediately when a person wakes up, but it may be another factor to consider, potentially.
It gets at the gist of part of your questions though:
What environmental factors influence us the most?
What factors, including sites and sounds, improve our mood?
What factors stimulate cognitive activity?
So, food and that ratio is a factor, not so much environmental...