Natural Light is fundamental for the quality of our lives and living environments. Daylight creates a positive atmosphere and alters the way we feel about our living spaces. Its many moods and variations can make a house feel like a real home.
We need daylight, for example to regulate our biological clock, which needs light to make us feel fresh and well-rested in the morning and tired at night. During the day, daylight affects our well-being, moods and also affects our performance. For example, Swedish research has shown, that students in windowless classrooms have much more trouble concentrating and cooperating than students in classrooms with good daylight.
Darkness and depression
The darker the season, the more light our organism needs. When there is not enough light, the production of the hormone serotonin decreases and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain increases. In other words, on dark winter days our bodies feel as if we are on our way to bed. Some people are so sensitive to lack of light that they suffer from winter depression. There is a remedy, however: research conducted at the psychiatric hospital in Hillerod, Denmark, has shown that daylight prevents winter depression. Skylights are a good source of Daylight in Winter as they have shown to provide twice as much light than similar size vertical windows (Danish Building Research Institute).
Types of light
Daylight indoors is a combination of sunlight, skylight and reflected daylight.
- is the part of daylight that is radiated directly from the sun that shines through the windows.
- gives the room character with strong light and shadow effects.
- reaches further into the home especially in spring and autumn when the sun is low in the sky.
- is also the light which may be so powerful that shading is required.
- is the part of the daylight that is scattered and redirected by the atmosphere. It can be available together with sunlight, or alone (eg. on cloudy or overcast sky conditions).
- gives the room a soft and uniform light, but decreases with the distance to the window. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to see the sky from the areas in the room where you need plenty of daylight.
- or ground light is daylight that is reflected by external surfaces - reflected by neighbouring buildings, trees, the lawn, the terrace etc. but weakened on the way.
- indoor, the light is reflected from the various surfaces – floors, ceilings. Remember that dark window frames, dark floors, ceilings and walls absorb or “steal” a great deal of daylight reflection from the room.
- is reflected by the lawn, the terrace or a wall, but is sharply weakened on the way.
- is reflected indoors from the various surfaces – floors, ceilings and walls. Remember that dark window frames, dark floors, ceilings and walls “steal” a great deal of daylight reflection from the room.