In pursuit of natural light

A survey of UK home-workers, commissioned by Rehau, found that the average adult is getting just 22 minutes of natural daylight per day. Russell Hand, head of product management and technical at Rehau, explores how installers and fabricators can support homeowners in their search for natural light.

To help better understand the requirements and pressure points of homeowners, Rehau commissioned a survey of 2,000 remote workers, and the results highlight more about the spaces in which people are spending their time.

Three out of ten respondents said they have no natural light over their working area. And a correlation between natural light and productivity was highlighted, with one-fifth saying they would move their working area adjacent to a window, and 65% were convinced that lack of natural light is the main contributor to reduced work performance.

With this in mind, more focus on windows and doors during home renovations is likely, which is welcome news for the fenestration industry.

What is surprising about the survey results is that 61% said they still consider their environment to be temporary, despite having worked from home for 12 months. With this in mind, installers can play a key role in turning these temporary spaces into permanent fixtures.

The impact of daylight on health and wellbeing is evidenced in the survey results and places further emphasis on the need for home design that maximises daylight.

Throughout 2020, balconies went from an often-forgotten space to an integral part of modern living for millions of UK residents, and architect Alison Brooks said that UK housing should feature more balconies.

There are lots of new products on the market that fabricators and installers can consider in line with these trends. For example, Rehau’s Skyforce Juliet balcony is designed to appear ‘frameless’, and selecting high-quality products such as this, which has fewer components, allows for more efficient fabrication and installation, making time and cost savings.

Another way to help homeowners to let the outside in, is to expand product portfolio to external doors. New external doors are among the top 10 renovation plans according to Checkatrade’s Home Pride Index, and are a key way to increase light into a property. Fabricators and installers are encouraged to expand their portfolios and get up to speed on the latest door innovations. Rehau’s Agila patio door, for example, is a sliding door with slim sightlines, which can therefore add light and create a feeling of openness in any home.

The inclusion of a large glass panel can be an ideal way to open up the back of a property onto an outdoor or garden space.

Alongside these considerations, the appearance of doors and windows continues to be a priority for homeowners. Homeowners are taking visual inspiration from social media, with the number of results for #homeimprovement on Instagram currently exceeding 3.3 million. This is leading to a domino effect of new projects.

In order to reap the rewards of this trend, tradespeople must ensure they are offering high-performing and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Rehau’s soon-to-be-launched, Rio flush fit door, for example, complements the established Rio window system, helping installers to provide consistent appearance across doors and windows.

It remains important for fenestration tradespeople to align with homeowner priorities such as aesthetics and natural light, particularly as daylight has a clear impact on wellbeing.

When recommending products, ease of installation should also be considered in order to make the process as seamless as possible and ultimately minimise disruption to homeowners. This includes choosing products with fewer components for more efficient installation and reduced time on site.

With a variety of options available for different applications, from garden doors through to balconies, installers and fabricators can respond to consumer demand for light by providing solutions that open up a property.