We spend over 80% of our lives within buildings, with numerous studies demonstrating that access to daylight has profound implications in terms of human health, happiness and productivity.
This conversely can impact the quality of life, happiness, sense of wellbeing, health (and healing), ability to learn in educational establishments, productivity whilst at work, profitability and shopper-footfall in retail buildings.
As such, daylight has become an important strategy for improving building envelope climate-based design, with numerous worst-case and annualised design metrics available to numerical, provide goals within a design. Strategies to improve daylight may include:
- Daylight-optimized building footprint
- Climate-responsive window-to-wall area ratio
- High-performance glazing
- Daylighting-optimized fenestration design
- Skylights (passive or active)
- Tubular daylight devices
- Daylight redirection devices
- Solar shading devices
- Daylight-responsive electric lighting controls
- Daylight-optimized interior design (such as furniture design, space planning, and room surface finishes)
By providing better daylight, we both reduce reliance on artificial lighting to perform daytime activities and maximise the physiological and psychological well-being related to daylight access. Through better regulation of our circadian rhythms, greater levels of daylight can lead to higher productivity and greater satisfaction within the internal environment.
For good design outcomes, designing for daylight considers subjective qualities, such as privacy and views to the outside, as well as objective and measurable qualities, such as energy use and the intensity of the daylight. When considering visual comfort, we consider illumination levels, daylight distribution, and protection against direct sunlight and glare.