On a cold miserable February in the UK, it is fair to say that alot of us are still going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark and spending a lot of our free time in the evenings and at weekends in the warmth of our homes. The type of build of a home varies greatly as to how much natural light is let inside during our current reduced daylight hours. Trees can be an enemy for daylight obstruction and for those of us that live in an older/period property our homes are likely to have fewer windows and perhaps low ceilings and timber beams. It may be the norm to have lights switched on during daylight hours. In our home the kitchen is particularly dark so we tend to permanently have our ceiling lights on. Older homes are generally darker buildings and are more likely to have old Georgian sash box windows (which let in less light than a full pane of glass) as well as a smaller quantity of windows and glass in general and therefore creating less natural light into the home.
Most of us have a natural physcological desire for daylight and a view! Imagine working/living all day in a room with no windows and what that would do to your mood, health and general well being. So it is obvious to state that natural light offers a number of health benefits. The glass in windows and doors is the main source of natural daylight when we are inside a building. It is believed that regular exposure to day light contributes to:
Increasing the Production of Vitamin D
The Production of Serotonin (a hormone that can improve mood by reducing pain, providing energy and making us feel happy and well rested).
Daylight is believed to increase performance and productivity in the work place. Though, too much of a view or too much glare from daylight can also be considered as a distraction! Equally, different lighting can affect the mood in different ways. Therefore with daylight there comes, hand in hand, a need to control glare and heat retention. Creating the right balance of shade and light retention to maximise both health, physcological benefits, comfort in the home and work performance is the key. Higher Energy Rated Glass and Window Frames are the best way to conserve energy. Replacement Windows and Doors and in particular Triple Glazed Windows are a fantastic investment for this http://maximumvision.co.uk/triple-glazing-the-latest-window-industry-fad/. Saint Gobain Planitherm have glass that can be installed to reduce glare from the sun. This is increasingly being used now – not only in glass roofs but also in windows and doors in particularly sunny properties that face the direct sun. Another simple option is to install blinds that can be adjusted to suit the change in daylight through the windows and doors. Integral blinds are still quite new on the market but are becoming very popular – sealed units are made with the blind inside the glass and therefore eliminate the worry of children and pets getting tangled up in them or their chords, and also no need to clean and maintain them.
Windows that face the East and the West are considered to provide a good amount of daylight during both the morning and evening. Though it may cause glare, attract a lot of heat during the summer when it is usually not wanted, and contribute little to solar heating during the winter. Windows that are South Facing allow the largest quantity of winter sunlight into a building. Also South facing properties tend to be more comfortable as not much of this is direct sun during the summer, especially when properly shaded. Windows that face North seem to be the most reliable though, as they let in relatively even, natural light, producing the least glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain.
There are many things that can be done in a home to increase the natural day. Especially when considering replacement windows and doors in the home or adding an extension/conservatory/orangery. The addition of skylights and velux windows, in rooms that are used most often and that receive the most light, such as bathrooms, could reduce electricity costs – because more natural daylight means less man made light is required – reducing electricity bills! There are lots of tricks for interior design and Dulux have a paint range named light and space that allows the natural light to reflect back into the room more effectively than normal paints.
So if the benefits of natural daylight are understood correctly it means that people who get regular exposure to sunlight have a tendency to be more optimistic, have higher levels of Serotonin and Vitamin D, they sleep better at night and have a higher sense of well-being therefore they are putting less stress onto our already stretched health care system! Adding Windows, Doors,Veluxs and Skylights is a big outlay for a homeowner, but it is an investment that will reap benefits. More daylight makes a property look lighter, airier, more spacious and welcoming. Surely this can only add value to a properties rental/sale price by making it more inviting to a prospective tenant/buyer.