Natural lighting, also referred to as daylighting, may be a technique that efficiently brings natural light into your home using exterior glazing (windows, skylights, etc.), thereby reducing artificial lighting requirements and saving energy. Natural lighting has been proven to extend health and comfort levels for building occupants. Natural light plays on the comfort, health, and mood of the human, but it varies counting on where we are. In architecture, it is integral to the design of a building and brings added value.
Skylights allow natural sunlight to return into the building, which is used to illuminate the space inside the building. Several studies have shown that daylight improves employee productivity and mental well-being. Stress levels are also reduced, and moods are kept fresh by daylight. It helps with memory and mental functioning. It creates an overall positive work environment. Land scarcity has restricted the space for correct ventilation and lighting. Aside from that, homeowners sometimes consider safety reasons and prefer fewer window openings in the walls. In such conditions fixing skylights on the roofs is the best solution as skylights bring natural light and air into areas that usually wouldn’t have windows.
2. Sun Tunnels
Sun tunnels, sun tubes, light pipes, or tubular daylighting devices – can transform a windowless or dark room into an area full of natural light and energy. This is one fantastic addition to a home area where it hasn’t been possible for natural light to enter before. They efficiently channel sunlight from the roof through a highly reflective tube into the necessary room. These sun tunnels can be installed on both flat and pitched roofs and allow natural light to flood into the rooms where it’s most needed. When compared to skylights, where it is difficult to control the quantity and quality of incoming sunlight, sun tubes have glazing, which tends to reduce the harmful glare and inconsistent light patterns, and screen infrared sun rays, which can harm the interior elements (like furniture and fabrics).
3. Light Shelves
Despite receiving huge amounts of solar energy, most of it is wasted on one single area of the window. In addition, direct sunlight causes harmful glare on computer monitors and desks. Such light can be a total nuisance if it’s concentrated in one single spot, but if it’s effectively and equally distributed to all parts of the room, it becomes extremely useful. This is exactly where light shelves help. The light shelf is a horizontal, shelf-like element that bounces visible light towards the ceiling, further reflecting it down deeper into the interiors of a room. Incoming light is doubled in depth. Also, in spaces where they aren’t too effective at bouncing light into space, it can help to reduce direct heat gain and glare.
4. Clerestory Windows
These are large windows or a series of small ones along the highest part of a structure’s wall, generally at or near the roof line. Clerestory windows are a sort of “fenestration” or glass window placement found in commercial and residential construction. Typically, these non-traditional windows have excellent natural lighting and ventilation benefits. Historically, such windows were utilized in churches where the upper level would have a row of windows illuminating the indoors that otherwise would have been tall, dark stone structures, which are quite a common element in energy-efficient buildings. Due to their location high up, they efficiently pull a lot of natural light and breezes into space without compromising privacy. These also can play a critical role in the passive cooling of the living areas.
5. Glass Doors
Another technique to let in more light into a living space is to reduce bulky furniture and solid doors which block light from passing through it. The thought is to replace the solid doors with glass ones or even have openings with no doors. This enables light to transmit from one area to another. Unquestionably, it isn’t appropriate to use transparent materials altogether, but blocking up with solid materials isn’t the answer. Give some thought to translucent or frosted glasses; these work great at providing a surprising amount of sunshine into spaces that earlier were closed or blocked by solid barriers. It’s also important to consider that glass tends to reflect light, and even opaque glasses can intensify light reflections.
6. Building orientation
Light direction is vital. The sunshine from the south is usually best for daylighting as sunlight is consistent throughout the day and year. This orientation also can be used for solar heat gain. The sunshine from the north is the next best because the sunlight is as consistent as the south, just during a lower quantity. The sunshine from the east and west should be avoided if possible. Sunlight at these orientations is harsh, it only occurs during half the day, and therefore the height of the sun changes throughout the year, making sunlight harder to regulate. Architects design buildings so that the rooms that require the most daylight (like front entrances) face north or south, while rooms that need less daylight (like storage rooms) face east or west.
Light defines the character of an area and an individual’s perception of it. The extent of brightness, the system during which light is distributed and the shadows it casts all together play a huge role in architecture. The overall dimension of the space, the color choices, the furniture and materials, the surface finishes, and therefore the time of the day – every single element influences and affects the way light reacts in a living space. Passive daylighting systems will still play a key role in architecture well into the future.