So, what is daylighting?
Put simply, daylighting is the controlled admission of both forms of natural light into a building. The purpose is simple: to reduce electric lighting and to save energy as a result.
Through designs that allow as much natural light as possible to flood the room, building occupants – whether employees or homeowners – are able to enjoy a productive and visually stimulating environment.
The science behind daylighting
The theory of daylighting is to not only provide enough natural light to a space, but also to do so without any undesirable side effects.
The key is balance: features such as skylights and additional windows can provide the extra daylight, but other factors must be managed, including – but not limited to – heat gain and loss, glare control and – of course – the natural cycles of daylight availability.
For example, a natural daylighting design will have to take into account the need for shading devices in order to control temperature in the home. (Though, of course, some skylights have automatic opening and closing that reacts to temperature).
A high-performance glazing system will typically admit more light and less heat than a standard window, which is why working with high-quality glass – such as the materials used by Sunsquare – can substantially impact the design’s performance.
Daylighting – The health benefits
It’s worth noting that the benefits of natural light exposure aren’t just financial. Exposure to natural light has been shown to have a number of key health benefits, including:
- Increased levels of vitamins B and D
- Improvement in the body’s circulation
- Improvement in digestion and appetite stimulation
- Increase red and white blood cell counts
- Improvement in quality of sleep
- Natural treatments of skin diseases such as psoriasis
Additionally, studies have shown that exposure to sunlight naturally increases the body’s level of serotonin: nature’s own anti-depressant. So, daylighting could genuinely increase your levels of happiness over time.
The key focuses
Daylighting design has to cover a wide range of different aspects. However, these are four of the key areas that need to be looked at:
- Veiling reflections It’s important that bright light reflections of specular or shiny surfaces be minimised, especially in the case of critical visual tasks.
- Distribution Controlled daylight should be introduced as deep as possible into the building’s area, as this even-ness helps the human eye to adjust to even higher levels of luminance. Typically, light that reaches the area indirectly – such as being reflected off a white wall – which provide better quality lighting than that arriving by an artificial source.
- Glare Efficient daylighting design is focused on creating a comfortable and pleasing atmosphere, which can be ruined by glare. Any design should attempt to cut glare.
- Variety Visual effectiveness can actually be aided by variations in brightness levels, as long as the variations aren’t too substantial. The key is to utilise bright light in emphasising key features whilst keeping it out of the eye line.
Practical daylighting design takeaways
So, what can you do to make a room more daylighting-friendly?
- Allow higher daylight penetration One of the most effective ways to flood any space with light is to install a higher window, such as a skylight. They allow for a reduction in excessive brightness whilst still resulting in deeper light penetration.
- If you’ve got a darker space, the reflection of light can help to brighten it up However, it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t lead to excessive, focused beams of light: this will just lead to discomfort.
- Use vegetation, curtains and blinds to help filter daylight During the brighter hours of the day this can be extremely effective in cutting down heat and excessive glare.
- Take advantage of slope ceilings, as they can help direct more light into a space If the slope faces away from the fenestration area, it will help improve surface brightness.
To find out more
If you’re interested in the benefits of daylighting and would like to find out more about how a skylight could benefit your property’s design, give Sunsquare a call today on 01284 846596.