Maximising Natural Light

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Maximising Natural Light refers to the practice of designing homes and buildings in such away that during the day, that natural light of the sun is enough to provide effective internal illumination. While some proponents of green design use windows, skylights and vents to this end, others go a step further and use a combination of windows and mirrors for maximum effect.

Why Maximise Natural Light?

  • Scientists have proven that our moods and even our health are affected by how much or how little exposure we have to daylight.
  • Homes with a lot of natural light save big time on lighting and heating costs.
  • Natural Light is eco-friendly and is free to use.

Techniques

Maximising natural light in a building depends on the climate, the building's orientation and location. Here are some tips --

Windows South-facing windows are most advantageous for providing natural light and for moderating seasonal temperatures. They allow most winter sunlight into the home but little direct sun during the summer, especially when properly shaded. North-facing windows admit relatively even, natural light, producing little glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain. Although east- and west-facing windows provide good daylight penetration in the morning and evening, respectively, they're usage should be limited. They may cause glare, admit a lot of heat during the summer when it is usually not wanted, and contribute little to solar heating during the winter.

Skylights-- These are designed to let daylight in and keep rain and moisture out. IThere is a variety of new skylighting technologies to provide interior lighting with limited glare.

Tips to Maximise Natural Light When Designing Buildings

If you're constructing a new home/building, taking natural light sources into consideration is a good idea.

  • Use clear glass on the outer walls to maximise the extent to which that natural light enters the building.
  • Window placement should be thought about carefully. For example, some southern homeowners might choose to have several windows installed on the eastern side of their home to bring in an abundance of natural light early in the day, before it becomes too hot. After all, in warmer climates, natural light without a build up of excess heat is a huge plus. The position of shade trees or porch overhangs also often influences window placement. For those that live in colder climates it might actually be beneficial to place windows where they will soak up heat for warmth.

See Also