The physical benefits of daylight are well documented. Daylight improves people’s mood, it can enhance morale, and reduce fatigue and eyestrain. The morning sun is the brain’s signal to get going. Daylight helps keep people alert throughout the day and regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
In the workplace, many studies have shown that employee performance and productivity can increase with the quality of light. Future Workplace surveyed over 1,600 employees in various industries. They ranked access to natural light and views to the outdoors first in workplace attributes. Even above other perks like a fitness center and on-site childcare.
For students, daylighting produces a brain boost. One study found that students in classrooms with the most daylighting scored 7-18% higher on standardized tests than students in classrooms with the least daylighting.
Then there are the economic benefits of maximizing daylight inside of buildings. Electric lighting accounts for 35-50% of total electrical energy consumption in commercial buildings. Using daylighting strategies can reduce total energy costs by up to 30%. Furthermore, electric lighting emits heat and increases the load on mechanical cooling equipment. Relying less on electric lights can reduce building cooling costs between 10-20%. Another perk? Daylight is usually most abundant during peak demand hours. Using it more can also reduce demand charges!
The amount of daylighting, interior design strategies, occupancy patterns, and lighting control strategies all impact bottom line expenses. Even if there aren’t many existing exterior windows, it is still possible to harness the daylight and bring it deep into the interior environment.
• Glass interior walls – use partial or full glass walls adjacent to exterior windows. If maintaining privacy is a concern, use glass rather than drywall on the top 20% of the wall.
• Skylights/solar tubes – inoperable skylights and solar tubes can be installed above the most interior portions of the floorplate.
• Reflective finishes – light colors reflect more light. Using satin or semi-gloss paint and wallcoverings makes light colors even more reflective.