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Benefits of Daylighting

In this month's Know Your Products section, we feature five companies that discuss daylighting. One of those companies recently sent me an email discussing a new research study reported in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that shows daylight-deprived workers are actually losing sleep, resulting in poor work performance and changes in attitude, memory and metabolism. The authors, researchers at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, determined that there is a direct correlation between employee health and access to daylight in the workplace.

The study finds that employees with more light exposure while at the office slept longer and better, had more physical activity and a better quality of life than those with less light exposure in the workplace. As a result of the study, the authors suggested architects should place a high priority on designing office environments that provide occupants with sufficient natural lighting.

"Architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants' health," said co-lead author Mohamed Boubekri, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Throughout the study, employees with daylight in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept on average, 46 minutes more per night than employees who did not have natural light exposure in the workplace.

"There is increasing evidence that exposure to light during the day-particularly in the morning-is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism," said senior study author Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist. "Workers are a group at risk because they are typically indoors often without access to natural or even artificial bright light for the entire day. The study results confirm that light during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health."

Zee is the Benjamin and Virginia T. Boshes Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

You can check out the five articles from the October issue on daylighting here:

Leveraging Double-Panel Translucent Systems: How to optimize daylighting and building envelope integrity

Integrated Daylighting Design: Benefits of daylighting go beyond saving money

Building Green: Implementing daylighting offers a quick return on investment

Daylighting and Energy Savings: Achieving both energy efficiency and occupant comfort and well-being

TDDs and Metal Buildings: A Smart Combination

What are some of the best ways you've found to implement daylighting in projects? Share some of your successes below.

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