Everyone loves a well daylit space, so it’s no surprise that bright, airy interiors are at the top of the list of aspirational features for home buyers, renovators & self-builders. But did you know that natural daylight brings a host of benefits way beyond the obvious ‘feel-good’ factor?
Over the last thirty years or more, research has revealed that the effects of daylight on the human condition are wide ranging and in many cases, remarkable.
During this period, our lifestyles have changed dramatically throughout the developed world, with many of us now spending high proportions of our time indoors. This fact has been the driver behind many detailed independent studies across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, education, commerce and of course, in domestic homes.
Some of the most dramatic findings have been made from detailed and wide-ranging research carried out in hospitals and schools. Here are just a few of the remarkable facts that have been revealed:
Daylight can play a role in recovery from physical injury or health problems
A study published in 2012, found that a significant relationship appears to exist between indoor daylight and a patient’s average length of stay in a hospital. 25% of the comparisons showed that, in the brighter, daylit areas, the average length of stay by patients was shorter than less well-daylit areas by 16%-41%.
Daylight can assist pain relief
A 1995 study concluded that post-operative hospital patients in well daylit areas required 22% less analgesic medications during their hospitalisation. This remarkable finding has had significant implications in terms of hospital design, patient care and benefits in terms of reduced medication side-effects treatment cost.
Daylight combats mental health conditions
Two studies have shown that exposure to natural bright light is effective in reducing depression among people with bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Exposure to bright morning light has also been shown to reduce agitation among elderly hospital patients with dementia.
Daylight improves concentration and study performance
Several studies carried out in schools, have shown that daylight is not only good for children’s overall health and wellbeing, but that it can also significantly improve academic performance.
One such study, drawing on data from thirteen European countries and a total of 2,387 children, concluded that academic performance can increase significantly when students work in well-daylit classrooms. Students with the most daylight in their classroms progressed 20% faster on maths tests and 26% faster on reading tests.
Daylight reduces building energy consumption & emissions
The IEA (International Energy Agency) states that electric lighting accounts for a staggering 19% Electric lighting accounts for a staggering 19% of global energy usage and the resulting emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. Introducing more natural daylight into buildings has been proven to reduce this figure by minimising the requirement for artificial lighting during daylight hours. For homeowners and businesses alike, ‘daylighting’ brings welcome reductions in energy bills as well as contributing to a more sustainable world.
…and the most efficient way to bring daylight into your home? Rooflights!
Rooflights provide up to three times more light than the same area of vertical windows. They can also provide a much more even distribution of light, particularly in larger rooms. This fact is well understood by most people involved in architectural design. However the huge potential of rooflights to provide exactly the amount, type and distribution of natural light required to meet a given specification is not always appreciated, even by professional builders and installers.
NARM, the National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers, is the UK’s trade body representing rooflight suppliers and a leading impartial authority on rooflighting design – and NARM member companies are able to provide rooflights to the appropriate design and specification for a given application, together with practical advice and support.
Information contained in this article has been drawn from a number of authoritative sources: