Let the sun shine: Daylighting in offices
“Daylighting” is the modern term for the strategy whereby shelters, in a world without artificial light, were designed to benefit from the maximum amount of sun possible. Today, it relates to the positioning of windows and skylights to optimise the natural light which reaches a building, cutting down the need for artificial light.
Daylighting is still an extremely popular concept in homes today, and has also become an integral feature of office design for a number of reasons.
- Employee: Employee happiness (and subsequently workforce productivity) is just one reason why introducing more natural light into the workplace is crucial. It is difficult to concentrate in darkened rooms, but even relying upon artificial lighting isn’t an adequate substitute for natural light. Ensuring that your employees are comfortable in their work environment is necessary for productivity, and introducing as much natural light as possible is an efficient way to do so
- Economic: Daylighting is also cost effective. Any aspects of your office design which make use of natural (and free!) resources, instead of relying heavily on electrically-powered devices, are fantastic money savers. Successful daylighting should reduce the need for artificial light significantly, and should therefore also lead to a reduction in your electricity bill!
- Environmental: Offices should make a conscious effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and daylighting is a particularly effective way of achieving this. Not only does optimising the use of natural light in office spaces reduce the need for artificial light, but it also works to regulate office temperature. As a result your energy consumption should decrease substantially.
There are a number of steps to consider when incorporating daylighting into an office design.
- The space should be surveyed to record where sunlight already reaches and where any blind spots exist. The time of day should also be noted in order to figure out which working hours coincide with optimal sunlight, and subsequently when artificial lighting is needed most. This will help the designers to decide exactly where the windows or skylights would be best positioned.
- Daylighting must consider the effectiveness of the windows in both summer and winter, and correct light control is therefore fundamental to good office design. Light control includes choosing the right window coverings, desktop surfaces, and also any supplementary lighting. This might mean placing heavier blinds in meeting rooms where you want to block out the light completely, or using non-reflective surfaces in areas where a glare would be distracting.
- Positioning office furniture according to light sources is also crucial to creating a productive work environment. It’s important for employees to work in well-lit areas, but it’s equally as important to ensure that the sun isn’t dazzling them or their computer screens. In order to avoid this, the height of desk panels should be carefully measured in accordance to your office design.
In summary, daylighting can reduce your office’s annual costs and environmental footprint whilst still increasing workplace productivity. For further information on office design, contact the team at Saracen Interiors today.