There is so much more to large windows and doors than excellent visual appeal. They also play a vital role in helping us live a happier, healthier, more productive and energy efficient lifestyle.
A healthy home is usually defined as one that is warm, free of moisture and damp, well ventilated and secure. As a result, all too often the benefits of natural daylight in the home are overlooked despite a wealth of scientific research which suggests it should be a priority.
At the heart of the health benefits is the way that daylight supports our Circadian Rhythm – this is the natural body clock that controls when we are at our most active and how we sleep and eat. As a result, when daylight is in short supply as it is in winter, we tend to feel less energetic and motivated and we often crave the sunshine. This response explains why some individuals suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where their mood is very severely impacted due to a lack of sunlight.
The benefits of daylight exposure to humans include how it gives us a natural vitamin D boost. The issues caused by a lack of this vitamin are increasingly being realised with annual supplement sales up by around a third according to US data. But although daylight and sunlight doesn’t give us vitamin D directly, it does help our body to produce its own. Natural light, therefore, allows our body to strengthen itself and prevent conditions such as depression and obesity.
Studies have also found that natural light exposure helps our bodies also improve digestion. It can also stimulate appetite, improve circulation, naturally increase both white and red blood cell counts and improve the quality of our sleep.
But it is not just the physiological benefits that we get – daylight contributes to our wellbeing too. It can help us be more productive as improves our ability to work, and it can make us feel happier as it increases our levels of serotonin – the body’s own natural anti-depressant – in the brain.
Lead a more sustainable life
Going hand in hand with the personal health benefits are the benefits to the planet. We are constantly striving to reduce our electricity use so what better way to do this than replace artificial lighting with natural daylight for as many hours as we can during the day?
Houses with small windows or those overshadowed by hills or neighbouring buildings will suffer as a result of limited natural daylight availability. Owners of these properties will find they need the lights switched on until later in the morning and earlier in the evening compared to homeowners with a lighter outlook.
And if your home lacks daylight you will probably have higher electricity bills too. According to an article by OVO Energy, artificial lighting in our homes typically accounts for 6% of our total electricity consumption – so any measures to reduce this will make a financial difference.
How to choose daylight-optimising glazing
Today’s advanced window and door systems and glazing mean we really can have the best of both worlds – energy efficient, secure homes with maximum daylight.
The window and door solutions available from James Price Structural Glazing make use of high performance aluminium framing technology that delivers high strength, structural integrity and thermal insulation whilst being as slim as possible. And, the slimmer the window frame, the more you can fill the window opening with glass to maximise light transmission.
When it comes to extending the home, a glass box extension is the perfect way to maximise daylight. Unlike building a traditional masonry extension with a flat or pitched roof, or opting for a traditional conservatory or orangery, a glass box can be virtually frameless to gain light from all exposed sides, including from above.
Also think about the configuration of your windows and doors to minimise the amount of frame. For example, when choosing a bi-fold door, minimising the number of opening sections is an easy way to maximise the amount of glass – so you might choose three sections rather than four.
Find out more
To discuss how to optimise natural light in your home, whether you are building a new property, extending or refurbishing, please contact us and we’ll help you achieve the perfect result.