Daylighting and Health

daylight-health-benefits

The Health Benefits of Daylighting

Plants aren’t the only living organisms that metabolize sunlight, we human beings do too. While the relationship daylight exposure and our health isn’t simple, it is important to know. Most people are aware of the risk of skin cancer from long exposure without protection, a number of studies and scientists suggest that moderate exposure leads to a surprising number of health benefits.

  1. Daylight helps lower blood pressure.

    A group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that as soon as daylight hits the skin, a compound is released that helps lower blood pressure.

  2. Daylight improves bone health.

    The most well-known health benefit of daylight is the creation of Vitamin D when daylight hits the skin. The creation of Vitamin D also creates Vitamin D3, which has been shown to reduce risks of bone fractures.

  3. Daylight improves brain functions.

    A study by the University of Cambridge found that higher levels of vitamin D were correlated with higher levels of cognitive function. The inverse was also true, where lower the levels of Vitamin D among those with lower cognitive function. Even more studies have shown that daylight could help with grown of nerve cells in the hippocampus, which is responsible for creating and storing memories.

  4. Daylight eases mild depression.

    A lack of daylight can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a common mild form of depression in the winter months or for workers who have long hours in artificially lit buildings. Moderate daylight increases the levels of natural antidepressants in the brain, like serotonin.

  5. Daylight improves sleep quality.

    When daylight hits our eyes, the brain sends a message to the pineal gland to stop production of melatonin, the hormone mainly responsible for making us drowsy. When it starts to get dark, the message stops and melatonin is produced again. Over production of melatonin during the day leads to low levels at night, making it harder to fall asleep.

  6. Daylight improves growth in children.

    Studies have revealed that amount of daylight a child gets, especially in the first few months of it life, has an effect on how tall the child grows.

  7. Daylight improves the immune system.

    Daylight helps suppress an overactive immune system, which is why daylight is used to treat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis. Daylight also causes an increase in white blood cells, which play a key role in fighting diseases and infections.

  8. Daylight reduces risk of some cancers.

    Scientists from the University of California noticed that higher levels of Vitamin D drop your risk of many cancers, especially colon cancer and breast cancer. Other studies show that Vitamin D supplementation produce a dramatic 60% drop in risk of developing any form of cancer.

Blue spectrum of light.

The biggest reasons for these health benefits is the full spectrum of color that daylight provides. Most artificial light is on the yellow spectrum only, whereas natural daylight carries the full spectrum, especially blue.

It is important that daylighting systems must not filter out the blue spectrum of light. These benefits cannot be achieved without the blue spectrum of light. When a daylighting system has yellowed it is actually a failed system because it is filtering out the blue spectrum of light.

Case Study: Chase Bank

Commercial Flat Roof Daylighting Solution

The Velux Commercial Sun Tunnel for a Commercial Flat Roof

Getting cost-effective daylighting into a commercial building can be a challenge, especially when most have a commercial flat roof. Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels are a great potential solution.

Why Velux Sun Tunnels?

The Velux SunCurve diffuser is designed to capture light at all times of the day and reflect it down the shaft, giving you ample daylight dawn dusk.

Velux Sun Tunnels have a variety of parts and accessories to work with whatever needs your location might need; from forced entry protection, A, B, or C fire classifications, to a daylight controller for room darkening.

Sun Tunnel Parts and Accessories.

Velux also provides the best warranty, giving you peace of mind.

Ideal Applications

Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels were created for commercial flat roof applications, no matter the material. They work best over areas that can benefit from natural daylight, and help reduce energy loads and improve the comfort and performance of employees, guests, or customers.

Open Ceiling Sun TunnelSchools, retail spaces, warehouses and office locations benefit the most from Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels. They provide a very cost-effective way to bring in daylight through the roof. Even greater cost savings can be attained with open ceiling applications.

NREL Technical Daylighting Report

A Literature Review of the Effects of Natural Light on Building Occupants

Daylighting report on the effects of daylighting in offices, schools, retail and industrial locations.

Occupants in daylit and full-spectrum office buildings reported an increase in general well being. Specific benefits in these types of office environments include better health, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, financial savings, and preference of workers.

Franta and Anstead-1994

Daylighting Study Reports by Heschong Mahone Group

Daylighting Reports for Offices, Schools and Classrooms, Retail Sales and Human Performance

The attached link below lists six Daylighting Reports:

    1. Windows and Offices
    2. Windows and Classrooms
    3. Daylight and Retail Sales
    4. Daylighting in Schools – PG&E 1999
    5. Daylighting in Schools – Additional Analysis
    6. Skylighting and Retail Sales – PG&E 1999

 Skylights were found to be positively and significantly correlated to higher sales. All other things being equal, an average non-skylit store in the chain would be likely to have 40% higher sales with the addition of skylights