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How daylighting benefits building design and refurbishment


The positive effects of natural light

There are a lot of very good reasons why Building Regulation Approved Document L states that ‘…where rooflight areas are reduced below 20%, the building designer must take special care to demonstrate daylight levels remain adequate…’

Primarily it’s because rooflights let in more light than windows - three times more light than a vertical window of an equal size – making it easier to meet minimum requirements for lighting and thermal performance. What’s more, while light from a vertical window reaches only six metres into a room, rooflights can illuminate much larger spaces and distribute light evenly. Rooflights also perform better on overcast days and are unaffected by the sun’s position, unlike a window.

Equally today’s market-leading rooflights have impressive thermal performance. More sunlight through rooflights = lower heating and lighting bills, reduced energy consumption and lower carbon footprint. Clear benefits you can measure on paper.

Read on to find out more about daylight in public sector buildings....

The real reason the requirement matters is the overwhelmingly positive effect of natural light on people and organisations.

Most architects or contractors know their clients will ask for more daylight wherever possible. People know instinctively that daylit interiors feel different, and decades of research studies back that intuition.

These are just some of the recognised benefits of daylit interiors over artificially lit rooms:

  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Better mental agility and memory
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved mood and morale
  • Greater productivity and performance
  • Stronger immune system and faster recovery from illness
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Energy savings of between 15% and 40%, according to facilitiesnet.com


What are the benefits of maximising daylight in educational buildings?

In schools, daylight is directly linked to improved concentration, higher academic achievement and fewer sick days for both pupils and staff. Children’s moods and behaviour improve too. Heschong Mahone Group’s (HMG) study Daylighting in Schools demonstrated that students working in rooms with a well-designed skylight improved 19-20% faster than students in rooms without a skylight. Test scores for pupils with the most natural light demonstrated 20% faster progress in maths and 26% faster progress in reading over the course of a year, than pupils with the least access to daylight.

For an overview of the multile benefits of daylight in schools, take a look at our infographic.

What are the benefits of maximising daylight in offices and other workplaces?

In the workplace, natural light improves productivity and performance, and increases morale and motivation. There’s evidence to suggest a naturally lit workplace improves staff retention too, which of course saves money on recruitment and training. A study by Northwestern University in Chicago found a strong relationship between daylight exposure and office workers’ overall quality of life related to sleep quality, physical problems, vitality and daytime dysfunction. Lack of daylight resulted in an average 46 minutes less sleep per night. The implications are clear – poor daylight at work will affect work quality and quantity, with the potential to reduce turnover and profitability.

What are the benefits of maximising daylight in retail outlets and shopping centres?

In retail research has shownthat daylight increased average sales for individual stores by up to 40%. Shoppers are likely to spend longer in-store and spend more while they’re there.  Shop employees also reported higher job satisfaction in shops lit by natural light. HMG’s “Skylighting and retail sales: an investigation into the relationship between daylighting and human performance” and “Daylighting impacts on retail sales performance” studies conclude that skylights are the third-most important factor in increasing sales volume. Once again, daylight is shown to have a significant impact on human behaviour – to the benefit of the building owners and occupiers.

What are the benefits of maximising daylight in hospitals?

Research by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Group provides compelling evidence that access to daylight reduces the average length of a hospital stay, speeds up post-op recovery, reduces requirements for pain relief and lowers patient stress and agitation. Even mortality rates have been recorded as higher in rooms with no natural light. These are, of course, extremely important measures of quality care for patients, but they also affect the bottom line for the hospitals themselves.

Why choose Whitesales?

Having manufactured and supplied rooflights for over 25 years, Whitesales is well qualified to advise on the best ways to maximise daylight within your new build or refurbishment. Our team of daylight experts can advise on the best design solutions for your project, and we offer free site surveys, condition reports and costings

We also offer an unrivalled range of rooflights from stock, as well as bespoke design and manufacture. Particularly suited to education environments, our Em-Glaze Modular flat glass rooflights allow up to 78% light transmission, while the Em-Glaze Bespoke range can be built to your precise sizing and specification requirements. The high-quality, durable polycarbonate Em-Dome range offers endless possibilities with 140 different sizes and a variety of shapes and glazing options to suit virtually any requirement. Find out more about our daylight products and projects in our new Daylight Brochure.

The many benefits of natural light are impressive - reduced energy costs, more sustainable buildings, happier, healthier people, greater productivity, higher profits and compliance with the latest building regulations. Find out more about how we can help you to maximise daylight within your building by calling the Whitesales technical team on 01483 271371 or emailing sales@whitesales.co.uk.