Natural lighting is one of the most important aspects of architecture for its impact on the wellbeing of humans, energy conservation, and enriching the spaces. Till the 1940s, natural light was the only source of light in buildings. But after the discovery of electrical lighting, in a short span of twenty years all the buildings fulfilled the lighting requirements of all the occupants. Recently due to focus on energy conservation, once again natural lighting is being integrated into the buildings, and research on its impact on people is thoroughly studied.
Here are the benefits of natural light in architecture:
1. Conservation of energy
As most of our focus of designing and architecture is largely on sustainability and conservation of energy, proper use of natural lighting can reduce the cost of energy consumption up to 40%. Natural lighting could be used for temperature control in the room, air conditioning, and replacing or reducing the requirement to large extents. Today AI is also used along with advanced sensors to control lighting in the room.
2. Enhancing the quality of spaces
Proper integration of natural lighting into built-up space increases the value of space. The spaces look larger, and large openings let the natural flow of greenery inside the building. Proper control of sunlight through openings can also enhance the quality of interior decorations.
“I sense Light as the giver of all presences and material as spent Light. What is made by Light casts a shadow and the shadow belongs to Light.”Louis Kahn
3. Prevents growth of fungi
The rooms without proper natural sunlight do tend to the growth of fungi, molds, and home to insects. This results in the room being uncomfortable, gloomy, and bad smell may come from the room.
4. Improves physiological wellbeing
Natural lighting has a lot of biological importance as sunlight triggers production of Vitamin D on our body and also cure Rickets, reduces strain on eyes, reduction of dental problems, bilirubin degradation, breaking down of carbohydrates, protein and fat, the development of white blood cells, improvement in the activity of the nervous system, and the regulation of blood pressure.
5. Improves psychological well being
Natural lighting improves our mood, enhances morale, increases energy levels (due to suppression of Melatonin), lower rates of stress-related sick calls, prevents SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is one of the root causes of depression, induces quality and more sleep.
6. Benefits of office workers
The people who work in the office, most of them face pressure from different angles, sometimes they don’t even like to do monotonous jobs and may feel tired after some time of working. Natural lighting in the office environment does play an important role in better health, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, financial savings of the office manager, decrease in accidents, an increased level of mental performance, improvements in sleep quality, and an increase in morale.
7. Benefits on students and teachers in educational institutes
Students and teachers in educational institutes do have certain behaviors which depend on the natural lighting of the classrooms. As per the study shown by a Daystar article, “Benefits of Natural Daylighting” (1998), have mentioned there is increased student and teacher attendance, increased achievement rates, reduced fatigue factors, improved student health, and enhancement of general developments of students. Natural lighting in educational institutes has also resulted in physical growth among students, a great mood throughout the day and helps the students to be more attentive and active throughout the day.
8. Benefits in retail markets
Retail markets are the place which solely depends on marketing and customer to seller relationship. In recent years there is a trend to allow natural lighting inside the store because to enhance their store environment, increase sales, create a more pleasant shopping environment, attract customers, and improve color renderings. The natural lighting also let the customer feel more welcoming, the store feeling cleaner, the store was brighter, the store felt more spacious and open. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) in Seattle, Washington; Lamb’s Thriftway Store in Portland, Oregon; etc have observed many benefits of natural lighting inside the store.
9. Benefits of doctors and patients
In hospitals, the mental condition of the patient is the most important factor, and letting nature and light improve the condition of the patient and helps to recover quickly. The hospitals with good natural lighting have reduced the mental and physical strain of patients, doctors, and nurses improved the doctor-patient relationship and helped the patient not go into depression or stress postoperative. The patient also feels a sense of spirituality, openness, and freedom from the prison-like environments.
10. Benefits in industrial environments
Industrial environments are mostly associated with monotonous and physical labor to a great extent. There is a notion to keep the industry windowless to keep the environment dust-free, but the workers in the industry have shown problems like increased permeability of skin capillaries, decreased white cell activity, and increased catarrhal infections and colds. The negative impact on worker’s health let the productivity of workers go down and hence, increase the cost of products. The workers in the windowless industry have also negative impact on behavior like feeling claustrophobic and unhappiness, absenteeism problems, and increased vandalism.
Natural light is the cause of life on planet earth, it has played a key role in the development of organisms on earth and also the advancement of the human race. Natural light in architecture not only lights up space but proper designing makes the space more dramatic and dynamic.