The Importance of Daylighting


Daylighting is an important consideration when designing space.  But what exactly is daylighting?  Daylighting is the practice of placing windows, other openings, and reflective surfaces so that sunlight (direct or indirect) can provide effective internal lighting.  When daylighting is properly executed, not only will it be visually enhancive, it will also result in sustainable and energy efficient buildings.

How is daylight different from sunlight?  Sunlight is the light that enters a space directly from the sun.  This type of light can produce glare as well as excessive heat.  Neither of which is suitable for indoor environments, especially for places such as schools, offices, or retail stores where direct sunlight is uncomfortable and can cause visual impairment due to glare.  Daylight on the other hand, describes the natural light in a space that is evenly distributed to avoid the ill effects of direct sunlight, while providing an internal environment that is comfortable and productive as well as energy efficient.

Researchers have found that a well daylit space can have a positive physiological impact on a person’s circadian rhythm.  Often referred to as the “body clock,” the circadian rhythm, which primarily responds to light and darkness, is an internal cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, wake up, and eat.  A study by the Heschong Mahone Group based near Sacramento found that students who took their lessons in classrooms with more natural light scored as much as 25 percent higher on standardized tests than other students in the same school district.  The main theory for why is that daylighting enhances learning by boosting the eyesight, mood and/or health of students and their teachers.

Daylighting can also have a significant effect on energy conservation.  Highly efficient, strategically placed windows maximize the use of natural daylight in a building, lowering the need for artificial light. Window technologies available today are more energy efficient as they insulate while still letting the light you want in.  Daylighting will lower your lighting and heating needs, meaning you use less electricity and it turn, lower your utility bill.  The more natural lighting, the more money you can save!

If you are looking to redesign your space, consider incorporating daylighting into your design.  The experts at JL Architects can help!

-Amy Estrella


*Image courtesy of Solera