As we’ve previously talked about here on our blog, in the built environment arena, there is much focus on the topic of well-being.
Indeed, the WELL Building Standard, our touchplate for human centric lighting, notes that:
‘Strategies to enhance human health and well-being have played a relatively small role in the evolution of building standards. We believe that the time has come to elevate human health and comfort to the forefront of building practices and reinvent buildings that are not only better for the planet, but also for people.’
We think there is a simple reason for the trend. Better productivity, happier people, increased profit and longer employee retention; all come from more holistic approaches to lighting. The number of benefits that stem from better buildings with human centric focus is enormous.
And among the options to consider, daylighting is a crucial component.
Lighting Services looks at daylighting
For those of you who don’t know what it means, daylighting is the practice of placing windows or other openings and reflective surfaces so that during the day natural light provides effective internal lighting.
The WELL Standard explains that: ‘Exposure to natural light can improve occupant mood, alertness and overall health. Ideal lighting involves proper exposure to diffuse daylight, as well as careful design of windows and glazing to avoid excessive glare and heat gain.’
Of course, on a basic level, we all innately realise that sunlight and brighter days cheer us up. But legacy building design has concentrated on fluorescently lit, stark, harsh offices. No longer can this be the norm. When buildings are more naturally lit, energy costs fall. Employees work harder and happier.
‘Pick a place with a lot of daylight,’ writes the editorial team at Lux magazine. ‘It is recommended that around 3% daylight reaches a person’s working area. However, in most offices this is not the case. Daylight gives an emotional quality to a space and the possibility to look outside is an added bonus. Artificial lighting should correspond to the colour temperature of the daylight. At noon the sky’s colour is a very cool 10000K but at sunset it is a much warmer 2000K.”
The positives of well implemented daylighting are almost endless. Employees who are around more light – specifically natural light – during the day are more likely to be healthier and maintain a good mood.
‘Test participants with windows in their offices got a startling 46 minutes more sleep per night than their natural light-starved counterparts and even reported getting more exercise after work.
“Light also can affect the metabolism and efficiency of how your body utilizes food, which can be important for weight,” Phyllis Zee, MD, Ph.D., Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital told Bloomberg.
Connected, holistic approach – the next steps to take
There is a whole host of advice available within the WELL Standard, online here, on how daylighting can be implemented for best effect.
It isn’t necessarily simple either; windows alone are not the answer. Here at Lighting Services, we take the view that a connected, holistic solution lies in carefully balancing natural light availability with the tasks employees need to carry out, available budgets and your building’s infrastructure.
Daylight management, active ambient lighting systems, automated shading and dimming are just some of the options WELL lays out. To implement these correctly, some in depth research and advice is needed.
At Lighting Services, we seek to deliver futureproofed, health conscious and sustainable lighting solutions. We believe daylighting is crucial. But you must implement wisely, and balance how your office delivers the right, required functionality while offering beneficial light to workers.
Interested in finding out more about how we can integrate new, healthier approaches to lighting across your estate? Call us for an informal chat on the options available.