Why Natural Light?
Humans, on average, spend about 90% of our time indoors, exposing us to large amounts of artificial light on a daily basis. Studies have shown that being exposed to too much artificial light can be detrimental to human health and disrupt our natural circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Sleep issues, immunity deficiencies, optical issues, migraines, and elevated stress levels can all be attributed to over exposure to man-made light. Daylighting can assist in elevating Vitamin D levels, which assists the body in promoting healthy muscles, bones, and even has been proven to help fight off certain diseases. The mental health benefits of optimal daylighting are also undeniable. It has been proven repeatedly that greater exposure to daylight increases overall happiness. If your company struggles with morale issues, productivity, or any other problem that disrupts everyday operations, lack of daylighting could attribute to these problems. Offices with greater natural light exposure often report greater job satisfaction among their employees and general productivity has been seen to increase as well.
The process of designing and executing a daylighting strategy are:
- Understand the function of your building – Every structure has a Key Building Function, which determines the purpose for the daylighting methods chosen.
- Define all possible sources of daylight – These can come from both low and high sources, such as skylights, windows, doors, operable walls, and glazed structures.
- Identify all methods to control light – location of opening, type of glazing, and use of shades can all be effective ways to control daylighting.
Solar Innovations offers many industry-leading structure and fenestration systems, from skylights and glass structures to glazed doors, windows and curtain walls, that increases daylighting. These systems may not only increase physical and mental wellness, but also decrease energy consumption. Skylights help regulate temperatures by distributing light evenly throughout a room. By making skylights operable, you receive the added benefit of natural air flow and heat mitigation. To maximize daylighting, glass structures flood a space with sunlight from every direction. Operable vents and windows can be added to assist with ventilation and keep the structure from becoming too hot. Our door and window systems optimize daylight and can accommodate the largest openings. Operable screens can be added to keep insects out, while keeping the fresh air flowing. Our curtain walls offer floor to ceiling glass, showcasing the natural beauty of the outdoors.
The use of clear glass will always increase the indoor temperature, particularly in a glass structure. Solar Innovations utilizes a variety of Low-E coated insulated glass solutions that will keep temperatures down in the warmer months, and resist cold air penetration during colder months, while also providing a layer of privacy. Thermochromic, polycarbonate, low iron, spectrally-selective and tinted glazing can also be utilized for even greater lighting control and reduce ultraviolet light penetration. In many commercial applications, where views through a skylight are less crucial, aerogel glazing may also be effective. This type of glazing diffuses natural light, which reduces shadows and makes incoming light less harsh. For privacy, patterned, acid-etched or grooved glass can be used, as well as a wide variety of shade offerings, that provide the added benefit of keeping the space cool. Combining the use of operable shade systems with optimized glazing can create a system that allows for adequate daylighting, minimize unwanted light when necessary, and reduces energy costs.
Return on investment, when considering changes to a building’s daylighting strategy, are measured by a combination of building performance and occupant perception. Gauging the true benefit of a daylighting strategy cannot be measured simply by energy costs or the productivity of the employees or student, but rather a combination of the two. Early schematic modeling in the design phase is often the best way to avoid costly changes to the strategy later in the project. The best daylighting designs use all possible openings to maximize and minimize daylight when needed.
For more information on daylighting solutions, or any other Solar Innovations® products, please contact Solar Innovations® directly at [email protected] or call 800 618 0669.