Use Light to Your Advantage
Upon walking into a home with natural light, people will often comment as to how open and fresh that space feels. As it happens, the effect isn’t simply because we like the physical space, we are scientifically affected by daylight. Our bodies need natural light as a nutrient no different than water and air.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND DAYLIGHTING
Significant, scientific studies have concluded that natural light stimulates essential functions of the brain. Benefits include improved mood, lower fatigue, reduced eyestrain and stress. Incorporating natural light into the design of a building is referred to as daylighting.
These same studies conclude that when designing buildings such as homes, offices, schools and hospitals, consideration should be given to daylighting systems, with natural light proving beneficial for the health, productivity, and safety of building occupants.
By harnessing the sun’s natural energy, you are more likely to achieve energy savings through what’s known as passive-solar energy. Passive-solar uses sunlight without the use of mechanical systems. It can involve employing techniques such as window placement or glazing technologies like LowE glass. Passive-solar design can easily be employed in the design of new homes and in retrofit situations.
MAXIMIZE YOUR DAYLIGHT
To maximize the daylight in your home, you can take simple steps to disperse the light or more dramatic renovations under the advice of a designer or architect experienced in passive-solar design.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Disperse the light of a south-facing window using blinds to aim the light. Angling the light towards the ceiling will allow use of the light with less heat-gain in warmer months.
- Choose light paint colours for walls and ceilings, with a reflective sheen on ceilings.
- Add a solar tube in rooms where windows are not possible.
- Enlarge existing window openings to allow more daylight and outside views.
- Plant a deciduous tree. The tree will filter direct light in summer, but drop its leaves and allow more light to enter during the winter.
It’s important to remember that increased daylight doesn’t have to mean unnecessary heat gain. With LowE glazing, heat is reflected away from the home in the summer, allowing the benefit of natural light without gaining unwanted heat or damaging your furniture.
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