Most of us spend the majority of our week living, working and socialising inside buildings. Be it home, the workplace or the pub, it’s just a way of life. Unless we work as a landscape gardener or a farmer, most of our time, at least during the working week, is spent indoors. Then when we’re relaxing at home, or catching up with friends, it’s generally inside, especially during the winter months.
So if you had a choice of where you spent your time indoors, which building would you choose…?
Dimly lit, with lots of dark, shadowy corners, a lack of windows and a definite lack of natural daylight.
Brightly lit and airy, with natural light flooding in from windows and skylights and not a dingy corner in sight.
It’s pretty easy to pick, right? Given the choice, building B would win hands down, and building A would be a poorly lit, gloomy ghost town.
The Benefits of Flooding Buildings with Light
We naturally gravitate to well lit areas of buildings. We long for the window desk. We keep the dingy box room as the guest room as it only gets used once in a while. We feel blue when the heady days of summer start to get shorter and we realise the darker days are on their way. Put simply, we love daylight.
We might look back at pictures of patients convalescing with their beds wheeled outside into the hospital grounds, or school kids having a nap on the school playing field, and dismiss them as crazy, old fashioned ideas. But there was definitely something in that. Not just for fresh air to “keep away the germs”. Even if they didn’t know it at the time, daylight has incredible healing benefits, for both mental health and physical health conditions.
Strategically placing windows to maximise the daylight entering a building and adding roof lights has many unexpected benefits. Here’s the lowdown on each one…
Human Health Benefits
The benefits of natural light to human health are plain to see. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day to raise everyone’s spirits.
But study after study has found that natural daylight can help reduce depression and improve sleep. It also helps decrease the amount of time a patient spends in hospital recovering from illness or surgery, including patients who aren’t feeling depressed. Patients exposed to natural daylight by being on a naturally brighter ward reportedly experience less stress and pain and require fewer pain-relieving medications. And that’s pretty incredible.
Improved Productivity, Learning and Sales
Business owners committing money to extra daylight within their working spaces benefit from increased productivity. Natural lighting allows for increased worker productivity and happiness scores. A happier workplace naturally means an improved workload and fewer days off sick.
Pupils and students benefit from extra natural light too. Those studying in schools with more natural light sources than artificial, demonstrate not only better wellbeing, but better test scores and less stress, fatigue and poor sleeping patterns. Attendance scores are also generally higher in schools with more natural light than those with a heavy reliance on harsh, artificial lighting.
Plus, having a view of the outdoors and nature, provides brain stimulation and inspiration, allowing for increased productivity and learning.
In a retail setting, having a shop filled with natural light doesn’t just benefit the staff, it benefits the bottom line too. Studies show that natural daylight makes goods, especially clothing and food, appear more tempting, making customers more likely to buy.
Increased Energy Efficiency and Lower Bills
Installing skylights and making the most of a building’s position to maximise the daylight that can enter rooms also has the added bonus of saving on energy bills.
Directing and diffusing sunlight into a building means it can be manipulated it in a way that allows maximum benefit whilst not allowing it to interfere with work or leisure time. (Such as glare on computer screens interrupting work or onto TV screens in such a way that it spoils viewing pleasure.)
This so-called practice of ‘daylighting’ helps to reduce the amount of artificial lighting that needs to be used, and therefore saves on electricity bills. In commercial buildings, around 35 to 50% of the electricity consumption is taken up by lighting. It’s estimated that by installing rooflights to increase daylight levels, you could save around £0.50 per square foot of building space per year. Which soon mounts up, especially in large commercial buildings.
Extra electric lighting, that also means extra heat generation within the service areas of a building, also means extra energy required for the safe cooling of these areas. Daylighting initiatives can reduce cooling bills by another 10 to 20%.
Having to keep the lights on all day long is expensive, not great for the environment and when you think about it, really quite a depressing notion.
Having better building performance with built in skylights will help you recoup the extra costs of installing them, over time, and it will benefit the people inside.
All these benefits of natural daylight to health, wellness, mood, productivity and building performance are obvious plus points to clever skylight and flat rooflight installations.
But the most noticeable and immediate benefit is that of aesthetics. A room filled with natural light simply looks better. Saying goodbye to shadowy, dark areas and having a whole room or building naturally lit with daylight from above adds a stunning dimension that makes anyone want to spend time in them.
Expert, Bespoke Rooflights for Maximum natural Light
If you’re thinking about a self-build, an extension or other major building works at home, or you’re redesigning or building an office block or factory, how you allow natural daylight into your building should be high on your list of priorities.
Here at NuDawn, we’re experts in the design and manufacture of high quality rooflights, skylights and flat rooflight glazing systems for all manner of buildings and builds.
We can help your building A become building B so that you can reap the benefits of natural daylight. How about that for a ‘bright’ idea?!