Why Natural Light Is the Most Prized Office Perk
In the past, when building owners planned commercial buildings and other types of facilities the focus was often on making sure the building had plenty of light from a safety and cost-effective standpoint. As a result, much of the building was flooded with artificial lighting. Natural light was reserved for the few who were fortunate enough to have the prized window office.
We have since learned, however, that continuous exposure to artificial light can cause employees to feel fatigued and become lethargic. In addition, it interrupts the circadian rhythm causing more sleepless nights. When workers are tired, they are less productive and are more prone to making mistakes. These mistakes can result in workplace injuries when fatigued employees are operating heavy equipment and machinery.
Health Benefits of Natural Lighting in the Workplace
But researchers have found that natural light in the workplace has many benefits. A recent study, Impact of Windows and Daylight Exposure on Overall Health and Sleep Quality of Office Workers, by neuroscience researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign, discovered that workers exposed to natural lighting had higher activity levels and an additional 46 minutes of quality sleep.
Besides boosting our productivity, natural light also has significant health benefits. A lack of exposure to natural light has been associated with health problems such as headaches, depression, seasonal affective disorders and lack of vitamin D. Our bodies need natural light to help make vitamin D, which helps to fight various illnesses. Even though you can get vitamin D by eating some foods, natural light is the best source.
Another health benefit of daily exposure to natural light is the increase of white blood cells which improves the immune system and enhances metabolism and digestion. This ensures that employees are in optimal health and will be able to work more productively and safely.
Natural Lighting in Windowless Environments
Natural light boosts the efficiency and productivity of employees. Daylight exposure in the workplace is very important to stimulate our brains and improve our concentration. But how do you mimic natural light in windowless environments? One way to do this is with LED lighting. LED lighting or light emitting diodes are wafer thin chips that digitally reproduce light. These LEDs can be programmed to produce the same spectrum of sunlight. And when combined with daylighting technology, any area of the building can have the benefits of natural lighting at any time of day or night.
Cut Energy Costs
Natural lighting can cut utility costs. Also, replacing incandescent and fluorescent lighting with energy-saving LED lights can also significantly cut energy bills. LED lights mimic the effects of natural lighting, but also operate at much cooler temperatures. Thus, combining natural lighting with LED lights gives commercial buildings the best of both worlds.
Consider the benefits of natural lighting when planning your next commercial construction project. When you can improve mood, boost mental sharpness, increase productivity and improve overall health, you have a reason to invest in commercial projects that bring the daylight into your workplace.