Windows Provide Natural Light

In architecture, daylighting refers to the use of windows and skylights to bring sunlight, whether brilliant sunlight or muted overcast light, into your home.

Some people require a series of hoops to be jumped through before a space can be considered “daylight”. Most people, however, consider a space “daylight” if it has a window with a view.

Daylighting has become popular among designers and researchers alike, for its many aesthetic and health benefits. Scientists have reported an increase in productivity and comfort in daylight environments.

Electric lights can be constructed to closely match a spectrum of daylight, but none have been made that mimic the variation in daylight that occurs at different times, seasons and weather conditions.

Beyond the value of view and proven health benefits, natural light can lead to substantial energy savings. According to the US Department of Energy and the US Energy Information Administration, electric lighting in buildings consumes more than 15 percent of all electricity generated in the United States.

For homeowners, energy-efficient windows combined with smart lighting design, reduce the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours without causing heating or cooling problems.

When incorporating daylighting in your home, consider climate and your home’s design. Size and location of windows should be based on direction rather than street-side appeal. For example:

South facing windows will allow most winter sunlight into the home but little direct summer sun, especially when shaded.

North facing windows admit relatively even light, producing little glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain.

East and west facing windows provide good daylight in the morning and evening, respectively, but may also admit a lot of heat during the summer and contribute little to solar heating during the winter.

If you’re constructing an energy efficient home, consider daylighting as part of your whole house design. You may also consider smart lighting design and other passive solar home design techniques to take advantage of the sun.

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