Imagine you’re at the beach soaking up the sun, happy and full of energy as the sunlight drenches your skin. Now imagine being able to have these same positive feelings all year around. It’s possible with when you increase the amount of natural lighting in your home.
Lower energy costs
Maximizing the amount of natural lighting in a home or building daylighting has many benefits ranging from reduced energy costs to improved mood and work performance. Electric lighting typically accounts for 25-40 per cent of energy consumption in a home or commercial building. Since more natural lighting during the day means less electric lighting is needed, energy costs can go down 10-20 per cent—a significant amount. Electric lighting also throws a lot of heat and increases the need for air conditioning in the warmer months, resulting in higher energy costs. By reducing the need for electric lighting and air conditioning, daylighting reduces greenhouse gases and the use of fossil fuels, lessening the environmental impact of the home’s carbon footprint.
Several studies have shown that natural light increases our productivity. An almost perfect white light, natural light offers a number of visual benefits, making it easier to discern minute details and reducing eye strain since the eye works more efficiently in natural lighting. And natural lighting improves mental performance too. Studies by the Heschong Mahone Group of Sacramento, California in 1998 and 2002 showed that standardized test scores among students were as much as 26 per cent higher when students attended classes in buildings lit mainly by natural lighting, as opposed to those depending mainly on artificial light. In short, human performance is improved by natural light.
Balanced Circadian rhythms.
The body’s circadian rhythms are strongly affected by the cycles of light and dark. These circadian rhythms control our sleeping/waking patterns and we need exposure to natural lighting to synchronize these cycles. Natural light suppresses the production of melatonin, which causes sleepiness, and increases the production of serotonin, a feel good chemical in the brain. Combined, the end result is greater alertness. Without enough natural light we can experience daytime drowsiness which can affect our work and impact our sleep at night if we nap excessively.
Depression caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in areas where there is reduced sunlight in the winter months. Long gloomy days upset the circadian rhythms for some people, resulting in fatigue and excess sleep, changes in appetite resulting in weight gain, social withdrawal and despair. Exposure to natural sunlight during a vacation or the daily use of a light box that mimics sun light can reduce the symptoms of SAD.
Increased Vitamin D
Our bodies need sunlight to make Vitamin D, which boosts the immune system, strengthens our bones and is needed for brain health. It only takes 10 or 15 minutes of sun exposure each day for the body to produce the right amount of Vitamin D for optimal health.
One way you can maximize the amount of natural lighting in your home is by installing skylights in strategic places throughout the house. Today’s high efficiency skylights are an effective way to add light to areas where artificial lighting might have been the typical choice. Imagine cooking dinner in a sun-drenched kitchen or waking up naturally refreshed under a bright stream of sunlight. Life is naturally better with skylights from Velux.